Mon, Jun 15, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Germany, Portugal fall in U20 World Cup


Serbia players yesterday look on during the penalty shootout in their match against the US in Auckland, New Zealand.

Photo: AFP

European powerhouses Germany and Portugal crashed out of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup yesterday, losing penalty shootouts to Mali and Brazil, who join Serbia and Senegal in the semi-finals.

On a day when the flare that has been the hallmark of the tournament disappeared, Senegal’s 1-0 win over Uzbekistan was the only game to finish in regulation time.

Brazil against Portugal and Serbia against the US both produced 120 scoreless minutes of regulation and extra time before Brazil and Serbia came through on penalties.

The young Germans, with high hopes of joining their seniors as World Cup holders, led 1-0 at halftime against Mali only for the west Africans to equalize in the second half and hold on to win 4-3 on penalties.

The dogged Malians refused to bend after a Julian Brandt volley following a Hany Mukhtar free-kick gave Germany the lead in the 38th minute.

However, the Germans were hampered after prolific scorer Marc Stendera was forced to leave the field and missed a chance to go two-up when Mukhtar failed from the spot after a foul on Jeremy Dudziak.

That fired up Mali, who responded immediately down the left flank with Souleymane Coulibaly heading a cross from Youssouf Kone past goalkeeper Marvin Schwaebe.

Both sides missed chances through the remainder of the second half and extra time, with the outcome not decided until Niklas Stark missed the crucial fifth penalty to sink Germany.

Portugal were their own worst enemies against Brazil. They dominated from the opening whistle, but despite several shots on goal, they failed to find the back of the net.

Gelson Martins, Portugal’s hero against New Zealand to get them into the quarter-finals, went astray three times.

As the clash of the tournament’s two most potent sides failed to live up to expectations, it boiled down to penalties.

Andreas Pereira and Rony Lopes converted the first two shots, but when Lucao missed Brazil’s second penalty, Portugal’s elation quickly evaporated as Andre Silva, Nuno Santos and Raphael Guzzo all failed, while Danilo and Gabriel Jesus settled the outcome.

A Mamadou Thiam strike in the 77th minute was enough to get unfancied Senegal into the final four with a 1-0 win over Uzbekistan.

Remi Nassalan created space for a ball into the middle that Thiam gratefully slotted home.

Serbia, who only scraped into the quarter-finals courtesy of an extra-time goal against Hungary, battled through two hours of largely forgettable soccer against the US before triumphing 6-5 in a tense shootout.

Both sides missed three penalties before John Requejo missed a fourth for the US, allowing Nemanja Maksimovic to put Serbia in to a semi-final against Mali with Brazil playing Senegal in the other semi.

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