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Gambia, Nigeria through to FIFA U20 World Cup R16, Senegal bow out

Nigeria celebrate their qualification. PHOTO/FIFA
  • Gambia finished top of their group
  • Nigeria progressed as one of the best third placed teams
  • African champions Senegal finished with two points

Africa’s representatives at the 2023 FIFA U20 World Cup, Gambia, Tunisia and Nigeria have progressed to the round of 16, while Senegal have bowed out.

Gambia finished top of their group and unbeaten to progress to the knockout phases of the World Cup for the second time, having also reached the same stage in their debut in 2007.

The Young Scorpions topped Group F after drawing their last match 0-0 with South Korea. They finished on seven points, having earlier won against Honduras and France. They have booked a last 16 date against Uruguay who finished second in Group E with six points.

Against South Korea, Gambia had many chances infront of goal, but it just wasn’t their day as they failed to convert. Star player Adama Bojang had several opportunities, but he couldn’t find the back of the net.

At the same time, Nigeria have made it to the round of 16 as one of the best third placed teams after losing their last match in Group D 2-0 to Brazil. The Flying Eaglets finished the group phase on six points following victories over The Dominican Republic and Italy.

They were nudged off second spot in the group on goal difference by the Italians, but they still had enough points to take them through to the last 16 where they take on hosts Argentina in San Juan. Argentina finished top of Group A with a 100pc record, winning all their matches.

Two late first half goals 

Against Brazil, two goals late in the first half by Jean Pedroso and Arsenal starlet Marquinhos drowned the Nigerians and they couldn’t find a response in the second half.

Tunisia also progressed as one of the best third placed teams despite losing their final Group E match to Uruguay. They finished the group phase with three points, from their 3-0 win over Iraq.

They have now booked a date against Group D toppers Brazil in La Plata in the round of 16

Elsewhere, Senegal suffered a last-minute heartbreak, conceding a 95th minute equalizer to draw 1-1 with Colombia. Mamadou Lamine Camara had given them the lead on the half hour mark and they looked on course to be headed for an important victory.

However, Oscar Manuel Cortes scored for the Colombians late on to dent Senegal’s dreams of qualification. A win would have seen them finish with four points and progress as one of the best third placed teams.

The draw saw them conclude their adventure with two points from three matches, and bottom of their group. They also drew 1-1 with Israel and lost 1-0 to Japan.

Round of 16 fixtures for African teams:

Brazil vs Tunisia – Estadio Único Diego Armando Maradona, La Plata, May 31

Argentina vs Nigeria – Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario, San Juan, May 31

Gambia vs Uruguay – Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades, Santiago del Estero, June 1

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