With the 2015 U-20 World Cup taking place at crazy hours here in the United States, we at 32 Flags are happy to be your guide to all that is the U-20 World Cup. Consider this series a refresher course on all that took place while you were likely asleep. You’re welcome.
We’re entering the homestretch of the Group Stage. Groups A and B finished in the middle of the night and now
1) Biggest Winner — Ukraine
Ukraine faced a must win against the United States to win the group and Ukraine did their job, defeating the US 3-0. That, along with a Viktor Kovalenko hat trick and Ukraine is sitting pretty going into the Round of 16.
2) Biggest Loser — Argentina
Argentina has had a rather disappointing tournament. After drawing to Panama and losing to Ghana, they needed to win against Austria in order to advance to the Knockout Stage.
After strugging to a 0-0 draw to Austria, despite having 10 shots on goal, Argentina finished 3rd in Group B. Even though four groups still need to play their third game, Argentina’s two points weren’t enough to be in the top four of the third place teams so they are already eliminated from the tournament. While it’s not a certainty for the future, it’s a possible cause of concern for the future of the Argentinian soccer team.
3) Standout Performer — Viktor Kovalenko – Ukraine
Someone who scores a hat trick is definitely going to be put on this list. Kovalenko scored three great goals (one which you’ll see later) and got Ukraine to the top of the group.
4) Player Worth Staying Up to Watch in the Future: Erik Palmer-Brown – United States
I’m going to be a bit biased on my choice today because I’ve seen Erik Palmer-Brown play at Sporting KC but the kid is the real deal. He’s been getting MLS game experience since he was 17 and while he has made an occasional error or two, he’s certainly caught the attention of US Soccer and apparently European teams like Juventus. There have been rumors of varying levels of plausibility that Juventus wants Palmer-Brown. There’s a chance he could be the next great American defender in Serie A.
Not really a tweet but Twitter does own Vine and I needed to find an excuse to show Emmanuel Boateng’s great goal because another goal is getting Best Goal so we’re doing Best Vine today.
6) Biggest Surprise — United States losing
Exactly how are we supposed to rate the U-20 USMNT? First, they struggled to defeat Myanmar 2-1. Then, they dominated over the hosts New Zealand 4-0. Finally, they get dominated by Ukraine 3-0 to end up 2nd in Group A. I don’t know if we’re getting the good, the bad or the ugly with this team. Anyway, their Round of 16 game is set, we just need to find an opponent. They will play the runner up in Group C in the Round of 16. They’ll either play Portugal, Colombia or Senegal.
7) Best Goal — Viktor Kovalenko – Ukraine
What a terrifically taken free kick. There was really nothing for Zack Steffen to do on that shot.
8) Results of the Day (Groups A and B)
Panama – 0 () Ghana – 1 (Boateng 82′)
Austria – 0 () Argentina – 0 ()
Ukraine – 3 (Kovalenko 56′ 74′ 79′) United States – 0 ()
Myanmar – 1 (Thu 28′) New Zealand – 5 (Billingsley 40′, Patterson 47′, Stevens 78′, Brotherton 81′, Lewis 89′)
Group A Final Standings
1) Ukraine 7 points (advanced)
2) United States 6 (advanced)
3) New Zealand 4 (may advance)
4) Myanmar 0 (eliminated)
Group B Final Standings
1) Ghana 7 points (advanced)
2) Austria 5 (advanced)
3) Argentina 2 (eliminated)
4) Panama 1 (eliminated)