Iraq stunned England with a goal in the dying seconds to earn a hard-fought 2-2 draw in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup on Sunday, denying England their first win in the competition since 1997.
It was a bitter blow for England, who have had a miserable run at the Under-20 World Cup, even failing to score in the last competition two years ago. A win would have also lifted some pressure off the Football Assocation after its under-21 team got knocked out early at the European Championships earlier this month.
England started well and were the better side for long stretches of the Group E match, using their physical size and strong passing game to cause headaches for the Iraq defense.
England took the lead when a corner was headed by Harry Kane to allow captain Conor Coady to score in the 41st minute. England doubled their lead in the 52nd courtesy of a run by Kane. He rushed down the right side and fed Luke Williams, who tapped the ball in for what seemed an insurmountable 2-0 lead.
However, after England goalkeeper Samuel Johnstone brought down Mohanad Abdulraheem in the area, Ali Faez sent the spot-kick into the upper part of the net to cut the lead in half.
Then, in the third minute of injury-time, Ali Adnan weaved past four defenders in the area and fired a shot that glanced off Johnstone and went into the net, setting off wild celebrations among the Iraq fans and prompting Iraq manager Hakeem al-Azzawi to start dancing.
In the other games, 10-man Chile came from behind to beat Egypt 2-1, while Croatia upset Uruguay 1-0.
The African champions struck first. Hassan Ahmed won the ball inside the South Americans’ half and slid a through ball to Mahmoud Kahraba, who slotted home in the 10th minute. Chile drew level in the 25th when Nicolas Castillo’s right-foot shot deflected off Egypt captain Rabia Ramy and looped into the net.
Egypt had the better chances in the second half, but it was Chile substitute Christian Bravo who made the difference. He controlled a pass from Bryan Rabello’s knock-down, moved across the penalty area and fired a right-foot shot into the far corner of the net.
In Group F, Croatia missed an early penalty, but still beat Uruguay, considered one of the favorites to advance.
After a listless opening 20 minutes, Croatia had the first opportunity when Dario Canadija received a ball behind the defense, but was clipped by Gaston Silva. Marko Livaja’s penalty hit the inside of the post and then goalkeeper Guillermo de Amores before being cleared.
Livaja made up for the miss in the 41st when his pass deflected off Manchester United’s Guillermo Varela and into the path of Ante Rebic, who scored.
Uruguay wasted several good chances in the second half, including a Diego Rolan diving header that forced a one-handed save from Oliver Zelenika, plus an overhead-kick from Giorgian de Arrascaeta that he could not keep down.
The team’s final chance came when Diego Laxalt cut the ball back for substitute Nicolas Lopez’s close-range shot to hit the post.
Uzbekistan downed New Zealand 3-0 through the inspired play of midfielder Abbosbek Makhstaliev, who scored one goal and set up another.
Uzbekistan scored when Maxime Crocombe sent the ball to Igor Sergeev. Makhstaliev was able to tap in the rebound in the 14th minute and in the 53rd passed to Sergeeve, who scored. Uzbekistan added a third in the 67th when Diyorjon Turapov’s shot was deflected off midfielder Tim Payne and over the goalkeeper.