Portugal and Nigeria reach final 16 of U20 World Cup

AP, ISTANBUL, Turkey

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 - Page 18

Portugal and Nigeria won their final Group B matches to reach the last 16 of the Under-20 World Cup on Thursday, while third-place South Korea still have a chance of advancing.

Portugal striker Bruma scored his fourth and fifth goals of the tournament to help the two-time champions beat Cuba 5-0 and top the group, while Nigeria defeated South Korea 1-0 after an early goal by Olarenwaju Kayode and overtook the Asians for second place.

Ricardo, Aladje and To Ze also found the net for Portugal, while Bruma almost added a sixth when his thundering 20m effort hit the top of the crossbar.

It was Portugal’s biggest ever win in the competition, improving on 3-0 defeats of Argentina in 1991 and the Netherlands four years later.

Portugal won the title in 1989 and 1991 and finished runners-up to Brazil two years ago. Cuba, which lost all three games and became the first team to be eliminated, were making their first appearance in the tournament.

Nigeria secured their victory after Kayode was left unmarked by the South Korean defense and headed home a free-kick by Abdul Ajagun in the ninth minute.

South Korea, who held Portugal to a 2-2 draw on Monday, dominated play for large parts of the second half, but lacked creativity in attack.

The best four teams to finish third in the six groups will advance to the knockout stage, along with all the group winners and runners-up.

In the last matches of Group A, Spain and France, who had already advanced from the group, faced off and Spain topped the table with a 2-1 win.

Ghana rendered the US last in the group with a 4-1 defeat of the Americans, who have not passed the group stage since 2007.