Record six-time champions Argentina have been eliminated from the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup finals, after finishing with only two points from their three matches in Group B of the competition.
Although it is a 24-team tournament in which 16 teams will proceed to the first knock –out stage, meaning four best third –placed teams are needed to join the first two teams from each pool, Argentina’s elimination was confirmed from the picture on the six tables, where four third –placed teams are already on at least three points.
It is a big shock to the football world, with the Argies having won the 1979, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2007 championships.
Their championship got off on the wrong footing when they were pegged back 2-2 by Panama after leading 2-0, and they were then shoved 3-2 by Ghana’s Black Satellites before drawing with Austria on Friday. Ghana and Austria made it into the next round from Group B.
Brazil, champions in 1983, 1985, 1993, 2003 and 2011 have earned a spot in the Round of 16 after victories over Nigeria and Hungary, and Ukraine and United States of America have made sure of their place from Group A. Hosts New Zealand, who pummeled Myanmar 5-1 in Wellington on Friday, should reach the Round of 16 as one of the best third –placed teams.
The last matches in Groups C, D, E and F will played on Saturday and Sunday. However, Germany, Brazil and Portugal have qualified, while Colombia (on four points) look good. Qatar, Uzbekistan and North Korea are pointless after two matches. Panama and Myanmar have departed for home.
Nigeria must defeat Hungary on Sunday to be sure of a place in the Round of 16, while Hungary, Fiji and Honduras are also fighting and Uzbekistan and Senegal can spring surprises.
Yet, the most interesting pool is Group D, where all of Mexico, Mali, Uruguay and Serbia have three points each going into the final matches.