U20 World Cup Quarterfinal Picks and Predictions – June 8th

The first two semifinalists, of the u20 World Cup, were determined Friday after one pretty entertaining game and one, well, not great game. The first semifinalist is the Ukraine after they won a 1-0 snooze fest. There was just five shots on goal, between both teams, and there were only five corners combined as well. The Ukraine will take on Italy who was able to knock out 10-man Mali. For being 10-men down Mali put up a real fight and made it a very entertaining last 45 minutes, but Italy was able to get two goals, in two minutes, late in the game to secure their semifinal berth.

The two quarterfinal games, Saturday, are USA vs Ecuador and Senegal vs South Korea.

Here are my picks for Saturday’s u20 World Cup quarterfinal games.

Ecuador (+137) vs USA (+187): Draw (+240)

Ecuador stunned Uruguay, in the Round of 16, with a 3-1 win over one of the tournament favorites. Ecuador won just one of their group stage games, but combined with an opening game draw, they were able to clinch one of the top third place spots. This is Ecuador’s first quarterfinal appearance at the u20 World Cup.

The USA stunned tournament favorites France with a 3-2 win thanks to two goals after the 70th minute. The USA had a tense final group stage game, against Qatar, but the 1-0 win was good enough to get the American’s 2nd place in Group D. This will be the American’s 7th u20 World Cup quarterfinal appearance, 3rd in a row, but have only been able to get to the semifinals just one time.

I like a draw in regulation, so bet that, but I like the USA to win on penalties.

These two have played just one time prior, in the 2017 World Cup, where the teams drew 3-3 in the group stage.

Senegal (+110) vs South Korea (+260): Draw (+229)

Senegal used two first half goals to power their way past Nigeria 2-1 in the Round of 16. Senegal was undefeated in group stage as they won Group A with seven points. This will be Senegal’s second quarterfinal game at the u20 World Cup and, with a win, they would advance to their second semifinal.

South Korea used an 84th minute goal to knock Japan out of the u20 World Cup. South Korea finished 2nd in Group F with six points after wins over Argentina and South Africa. This is South Korea’s 5th quarterfinal appearance, but they have only been able to win one of their previous four quarterfinals.

I like Senegal to get the win on Saturday.

This will be the first meeting between the two u20 squads.

YTD Soccer Results: 81-77

U20 World Cup Quarterfinal Picks and Predictions – June 7th   

The u20 World Cup, taking place in Poland, has entered the quarterfinal stages and eight countries remain in contention for the biggest prize in the u20 World. The Round of 16 saw some pretty surprising results as the USA, who went off at +600, knocked out tournament favorites France with two late goals. We also saw South Korea (+187) and Ecuador (+333) come away with regulation time upsets over Japan and Uruguay, respectively. The other big upset was Mali, who went off at +650, knocking out Argentina in penalties. The final eight teams are Colombia, Ukraine, Italy, Mali, United States, Ecuador, South Korea and Senegal. Neither of the remaining nations have ever won the u20 World Cup.

Colombia vs Ukraine and Italy vs Mali get the quarterfinals off and running.

Here are my best bets for the first two u20 World Cup quarterfinal games.

Colombia (+150) vs Ukraine (+200): Draw (+200)

Colombia needed penalties, and made it interesting by missing their first two, but they were able to get past New Zealand 2-1 after penalties. Colombia is through after finish second in Group A, with six points, and will look to get to their 2nd ever u20 semifinals. This will be the 4th quarterfinal for the Colombian’s.

Ukraine well benefactors of a pretty favorable opponent, as Panama just barely snuck into the Round of 16, and the Ukraine’s won 4-1 after three first half goals. The Ukraine won Group D, with seven points, and will look to get to their first ever u20 World Cup semifinal. This is also their first quarterfinal appearance in this tournament.

I like Colombia to get through to the semifinals.

This will be the first meeting between the u20 squads.

Italy (+110) vs Mali (+260): Draw (+225)

Italy did what Italy does and got past host nation Poland, 1-0, in the Round of 16. The Italians have not given up more than one goal all tournament and have shutout their opponents in three straight games. Italy won Group B with seven points and will be looking to make their second consecutive u20 World Cup semifinal appearance. The Italians have played in four previous quarterfinals at this tournament.

Mali upset one of the tournament favorites, Argentina, after getting a 3-2 win, after penalties, on Tuesday. Mali went down 1-0 in regulation, but a 67th minute goal sent the game into extra time where Argentina got an own goal just one minute into the extra period. It looked like Mali would be heading home until a 121st minute goal, by Boubacar Konte, sent to penalties. Mali finished second in Group E, with four points, and will be competing in their third ever quarterfinal at this stage. Mali is 2-0 in their previous two quarterfinal games.

I like Italy to get the win in regulation, but would not be surprised at all to see Mali get this into extra time.

This will be the first meeting between these two u20 squads.

YTD Soccer Results: 80-74

U20 World Cup Round of 16 Picks and Predictions – June 4th

Three more quarterfinalists have been determined after a great day of u20 World Cup games Monday. In the first game Ukraine scored three first half goals en route to their 4-1 win over Panama. The Ukraine will now face off against Colombia in the quarters. A pretty big upset took place in the second game when Ecuador upset Uruguay 3-1. Ecuador dominated this game and were deserving of that 3-1 score line. Ecuador will face the winner of France vs USA. In the final game of the day, Senegal used two first half goals to hold off Nigeria 2-1. Senegal will face the winner of Japan vs South Korea in the quarters.

Here are my picks for Tuesday’s u20 World Cup Round of 16 games.

France (-200) vs USA (+750): Draw (+260)

One of just two nations to win all three group stage games, Group E winner, France gets ready for their Round of 16 game vs the USA. France had a comfortable group and they took advantage winning their first two games, against Saudi Arabia and Panama, 2-0 and then beating Mali 3-2 in the final game of the group. France fell in this stage during the 2017 World Cup.

USA, who finished 2nd in the Group D, had an uncomfortable final group stage game, but the Americans were able to pull out a 1-0 win over Qatar. A loss would have seen the USA been eliminated, but a 76th minute goal by Timothy Weah sent the USA through. The Americans knocked off New Zealand during the 2017 World Cup Round of 16.

I like France to get through to the quarters.

These two u20 teams have met five time before with France holding a 2-3-0 record. The last two meetings have ended in draws.

Japan (+135) vs South Korea (+225): Draw (+200)

Japan, who finished 2nd in Group B, put together an undefeated group stage after one win and two draws. Japan gave up just one goal in the three games combined and did not give up a goal in their final two games. Japan fell during this stage of the 2017 World Cup.

South Korea, who finished 2nd in Group F, won their final two games to ensure a spot in the final 16. South Korea had their backs to the wall as they needed to beat group leaders, Argentina, on the final day to ensure they advanced and sure enough they came away with a great 2-1 victory. South Korea fell during this stage of the 2017 World Cup.

I like this one to end in a draw during regular time and for South Korea to advance after extra time. So bet a draw in this one.

These two teams met one time before, in the 2003 World Cup, where Japan advanced to the quarterfinals with a 2-1 win.

Argentina (-175) vs Mali (+600): Draw (+250)

Argentina, the Group F winners, outscored their opponents 7-2 in their first two wins, but the Argentines fell to South Korea in the last group match. This is the first time that Argentina has made the Round of 16 since 2007.

Mali, who finished 2nd in Group E, used a 4-3 win over Saudi Arabia and a 1-1 draw over Panama to earn the 2nd spot in the Group thanks to goal differential. Mali did not qualify for the u20 World Cup in 2017, but did finish in 3rd place in 2015.

I like Argentina to get to the quarters.

These two teams have met once previously, in the 2003 World Cup, when Argentina came away with a 3-1 win.

YTD Soccer Results: 79-70

U20 World Cup Round of 16 Picks and Predictions – June 3rd  

Sunday kicked off the knockout stage of the u20 World Cup and Italy and Colombia are the first two quarterfinalists. Italy took advantage of a penalty, in the 38th minute, and that was all they needed as the defense pitched their third consecutive shutout. Italy will now face the winner of Argentina vs Mali. Joining Italy in the quarters will be Colombia who needed penalties, but were able to knock off New Zealand 2-1. This game deserved extra time as each team looked capable of winning and Colombia got the 5-4 advantage in penalties. Colombia now awaits the winner of Ukraine vs Panama.

Monday has three good games on tap with two teams that look like potential title contenders.

Here are my picks for Monday’s u20 World Cup Round of 16 games.

Ukraine (-189) vs Panama (+650): Draw (+260)

Group D winner, Ukraine, start their knockout stage play after an undefeated group stage. The Ukraine got a key win over the USA to start their World Cup and then followed that up with a tough 1-0 win, over Qatar, and a 1-1 draw with Nigeria to finish off the group stage. Ukraine did not qualify for the 2017 World Cup and fell during this stage of the 2015 version.

Panama snuck into the final third place team spot after a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia during the third group stage game. Panama is definitely a surprise to get to this stage, but their win against the Saudi’s and the opening draw against Mali was enough for Panama to advance. Panama did not qualify for the 2017 World Cup and fell in the group stages in 2015.

I like the Ukraine to advance to the quarters.

These two u20 teams have met once previously, in the 2005 World Cup, when Ukraine came away with a 3-1 win.

Uruguay (+140) vs Ecuador (+220): Draw (+200)

Uruguay, the Group C winner and one of just two teams to win all three group stage games, look like a big threat to win this whole thing. Uruguay won their three group stages games by a combined 7-1 score and won each of their last two games 2-0. The Uruguayans have gotten past the Round of 16 in two of the last three u20 World Cups.

Ecuador clinched one of the third place spots with a big 1-0 win over Mexico in their last group stage game. There has not been much scoring in games with the Ecuadorians as they started off their World Cup with a 1-1 draw, against Japan, then lost to Italy 1-0 and beat Mexico 1-0. Ecuador has never been past the Round of 16 and fell in the group stage during 2017.

Uruguay gets the win and advances to the quarters.

These two teams have played six times in the past with Uruguay leading the all-time series 4-2-0. Uruguay has won the last four meetings between the two.

Senegal (+137) vs Nigeria (+260): Draw (+187)

Senegal, the Group A winners, proved to be tough in the back as they did not allow a single goal during the group stage. Senegal opened up their World Cup with a goal in the opening 10 seconds, in their 3-0 win over Tahiti, and then followed up that win with a 2-0 win over Colombia and a 0-0 draw to Poland. Senegal fell during this stage in 2017.

Nigeria was able to grab one of the third place spots and getting a 1-1 draw against the Ukraine in their final group stage game. Nigeria started off their World Cup with a 4-0 rout of Qatar, but a 2-0 loss to the USA meant the Nigerians needed a result in their final game to get through. The Nigerians did not qualify for the 2017 World Cup and fell during the stage in 2015.

Bet a draw in regulation and for Senegal to get the win after penalties.

These two teams have played two times in the past with Nigeria winning both games by an aggregate of 4-1.

YTD Soccer Results: 79-69

U20 World Cup Round of 16 Picks and Predictions – June 2nd  

The u20 knockout stages are upon us and there are just 16 teams left vying for the World Cup title. The six group winners were Senegal, Italy, Uruguay, Ukraine, France and Argentina who are joined by group runner-ups Colombia, Japan, New Zealand, USA, Mali and South Korea. The top third place teams who will join the 12 teams in the knockout stage are Poland, Nigeria, Ecuador and Panama.

Here are my picks for the first two u20 World Cup Round of 16 games.

Italy vs Poland: Draw

Group B winners, Italy, went 2-1-0 in group stage play and allowed just one goal in the three games. The last two games, against Ecuador and Japan, the Italians did not allow a goal, but did allow 11 shots on target. Italy knocked off France during this stage of the 2017 u20 World Cup.

Host nation Poland advances to the Round of 16 after being the top third place team in all of the groups. Poland got a big 5-0 win over Tahiti in the second group stage match, but that, mixed with a 0-0 draw against Senegal, was enough to get the Poles through to the knockout stages. This is the first time the Poles have been in an u20 World Cup since 2007 when they were knocked out at this point.

I like Italy to advance to the quarterfinals.

These two u20 teams have met 13 times, since 2011, with Italy holding a 10-1-2 edge in the series. Italy won the last two meetings by a combined 9-1 margin.

Colombia vs New Zealand: Draw

Columbia, who finished 2nd in Group A with six points, won their two group stage games by a margin of 8-0, but they fell to group winners Senegal 2-0. Columbia has now lost just one of their last eight games. Columbia did not qualify for the 2017 World Cup, but fell in the Round of 16 in both the 2013 and 2015 World Cups.

New Zealand, who finished 2nd in Group C with six points, had a similar story as Colombia during the group stages. In their two wins, New Zealand won by a combined 7-0, but the fell to group winner Uruguay 2-0 in their last group game. The Kiwis fell during this stage in 2017.

I like Colombia to get the win Sunday.

This will be the first meeting between these u20 teams.

YTD Soccer Results: 78-68

Under 20 World Cup Picks and Predictions – May 31st  

The u20 World Cup has finally gotten to the final group stage games of the tournament. Group E and Group F will lead us into the knockout stages with the final four games on Friday. In Group E, France has already clinched a spot in the Round of 16, with six points, and Mail is in good shape in the second spot with four points. Panama, one point, and Saudi Arabia, zero points, round out the group. In Group F, Argentina has clinched their spot in the Round of 16 with six points, with South Korea and Portugal right on their tails with three points. South Africa has zero points and rounds out the group.

Here are my picks for the final group stage games of the tournament.

France (+110) vs Mali (+400): Draw (+160)

The battle for first place in Group E takes place Friday as first place France takes on second place Mali. If either team wins they will clinch the group while the loser will most likely still finish in second and head to the Round of 16.

France has won each of their opening games by a 2-0 score line, over Panama and Saudi Arabia, and now sit at seven games unbeaten. In their last ten games the French team has also pitched five shutouts and have given up more than one goal just three times.

Mali increased their unbeaten run to six games after an exciting 4-3 win over the Saudis in their last game. Mohamed Camara scored a 90th minute goal to all but secure Mali’s berth in the Round of 16.

I like France to get the win and clinch first place in Group E.

These two team met in the group stage of the 2011 World Cup when the French won 2-0 with two late 2nd half goals.

Saudi Arabia (+114) vs Panama (+250): Draw (+220)

Saudi Arabia and Panama do battle on Friday playing for pride, at this point, and looking to get a win before heading home.

The Saudis have now lost three in a row after a brutal late loss to Mali on Tuesday. Saudi Arabia played both France and Mali tough, but have nothing to show for it at this point. Look for them to come out firing on Friday.

Panama is now winless in three games after a 2-0 loss to France on Tuesday. Panama has also played the group leaders tough and have one point to show for it after an opening game draw with Mali.

I like Saudi Arabia to end their u20 World Cup with a win.

This will be the first meeting between these two u20 teams.

Portugal (-455) vs South Africa (+1400): Draw (+450)

A win on Friday will guarantee Portugal a spot in the Round of 16 as six points should be all they need to get one of the final third place spots. A win can also see the Portuguese clinch second in the group with a South Korean loss. Portugal lost 2-0 to Argentina on Tuesday, but should be happy with their performance regardless as they controlled the game, but lacked the finishing touch.

South Africa looked like they were going to steal a point from South Korea, on Tuesday, but a 69th minute goal by Hyun-Woo Kim dashed those hopes. South Africa now has been outscored 2-6 this World Cup and that could get much worse on Friday.

I like Portugal to get the win and advance to the knockout rounds.

This will be the first meeting between these two u20 teams.

Argentina (+110) vs South Korea (+250): Draw (+225)

Argentina will look to make it three wins in three outings thus u20 World Cup when they meet up with second place South Korea. Thanks to goal differential Argentina has basically locked up the #1 spot in the group, but they will still look to go perfect in the group stage. Argentina has now won five straight games.

South Korea got a big win over South Africa on Tuesday and are still alive for a knockout group spot. A win over Argentina, or a draw, will secure South Korea their spot in the Round of 16, but a loss would knock them out as Norway will have the goal differential.

I like Argentina to get the win.

These two teams have met twice before, in the 2017 and 1991 World Cups, with South Korea winning both of those games.

YTD Soccer Results: 76-65

Under 20 World Cup Picks and Predictions – May 30th

The u20 World Cup, taking place in Poland, is now in to the final group stage matches for each group. Group C, through two games, sees New Zealand and Uruguay leading the group with six points and already advancing to the Round of 16. Third place is still up in the air between Norway and Honduras. Group D is very tight with the Ukraine leading the group with six points, and already clinching their spot in the Round of 16, but both Nigeria and the USA can win the group on Thursday.

Here are my picks for the action, in Group C and Group D, on Thursday.

Uruguay (-105) vs New Zealand (+275): Draw (+250)

Uruguay increased their unbeaten run to four games after scoring a late goal, in each half, in their 2-0 win over Honduras. The Uruguayans have already clinched their spot in the Round of 16, but due to goal differential are sitting in second place in the group, so a win Thursday will propel Uruguay to first in the group.

Group C leaders New Zealand increased their winning run to three games with a 2-0 win over Norway on Monday. New Zealand got a 71st minute goal from, Gianni Stensness, and a Norwegian own goal in the 83rd minute. The win clinched the Kiwi’s a berth in the Round of 16 and a win Thursday will clinch them the number one spot.

I like New Zealand to get a point and the number one spot in Group C. Take a draw.

These two u20 squads have met each other in two other World Cups this decade with Uruguay winning one and the other ended in a draw. Uruguay came away with a 2-0 win during the 2013 World Cup group stage while the two teams played to a 1-1 draw during the 2011 group stages.

Norway (-250) vs Honduras (+650): Draw (+350)

Norway are now winless in both World Cup games this year and without a win Thursday they can kiss the knockout stages goodbye. Right now the last third place team to advance is Portugal who has three points. The Norwegians have scored just four goals in their last eight games.

Honduras is not just looking for a win, on Thursday, but they are also searching for their first goal after losing their first two games by a combined 7-0 score line. Honduras now has not won in their last five games.

I like Norway to get the three points.

This is the first meeting between these u20 squads.

Nigeria (+140) vs Ukraine (+190): Draw (+229)

Nigeria enters Thursday sitting in second place of Group D, with three points, after a crucial loss to the USA on Monday. The Nigerians are still on a run of just one win in their last five and are going to need a win, and a nice goal differential, to get second in the group.

The Ukraine need just one point to clinch first place in Group D after already clinching their spot in the Round of 16. Ukraine has not lost in six games now and seem to be peaking at just the right time.

I like this one to end in a draw and Ukraine to get first in Group D.

These two teams played in the 2005 Round of 16 when Nigeria came away with a 1-0 win.

 

USA (-625) vs Qatar (+1200): Draw (+650)

The USA got a massive 2-0 win over Nigeria on Monday and now sit in a pretty good position to get into the Round of 16. The USA is currently in third place in Group D, tied on points with Nigeria, and have a great chance of getting the goal differential edge on Thursday. If the chips fall right the USA could even finish in first in the group, but regardless the U.S will be playing in the knockout stages barring a catastrophic Thursday.

Qatar has played two games, gotten one red card and scored zero goals in what has not been an ideal World Cup for the Qataris. A win Thursday would most likely clinch Qatar a spot in the Round of 16, but I do not expect them to end their five game losing streak.

The USA win by 3+ goals.

These two teams have played two times and both games have ended in draws.

YTD Soccer Results: 75-65

The u20 World Cup, taking place in Poland, moves into its final group stage games as Groups A and B hit the field on Wednesday. In Group A, Senegal have already clinched their spot in the Round of 16 after winning both of their first two group stage games. Poland currently sits in 2nd place, tied on points with Colombia, but will need a win against Senegal on match day 3 to automatic qualify.

In Group B, the Italians have clinched their spot in the final 16 after coming away with two victories in their first two games. Japan sits in 2nd, with four points, and just one more point will clinch the second spot for the Japanese. Ecuador and Mexico face off as both are looking to get that third place spot for a potential spot in the Round of 16.

This a huge day for all teams looking to advance as just the top two from each group, plus the top four third place teams from all the groups, advance to the knockout stage.

Here are my picks for the action in Group A and B on Wednesday. I am not previewing the Colombia vs Tahiti game as Columbia is -10000 and will throttle Tahiti.

Ecuador (-164) vs Mexico (+375): Draw (+320)

Ecuador extended their winless streak to three games now after a tough 1-0 loss to Italy on match day 2. Ecuador were the better team, even though they were a man down from the 41st minute on, and should have at least come away with one point, but a missed penalty in the third minute of extra time, before the half, proved costly for the Ecuadorians.

Mexico extended their winless streak to nine matches after a 3-0 loss to Japan on Sunday. Mexico have not scored more than one goal in six straight games now, but they need to find the back of the net Wednesday if they have any chance of advancing to the Round of 16.

I like Ecuador to come away with the three points.  

This will be the first meeting between these two u20 teams.

Italy (+200) vs Japan (+200): Draw (+140)

Italy clinched their spot in the Round of 16 with a 1-0 win over Ecuador on Sunday. The Italian’s were lucky to beat the 10 man Ecuador, but a win is a win and now Italy can work on seeding in the Round of 16. The Italian’s entered the World cup on a six match winless streak, but have now won two in a row.

Japan got their first win of the World Cup, on Sunday, after a 3-o win over Mexico on Sunday. The Japanese are still expected to advance to the Round of 16, win or loss Wednesday, as their four points right now may be all they need to clinch a top 4 third place spot. Sunday was Japan’s first win in their last 10 games.

I like this one to end in a draw.

Italy leads the all-time series 1-1-0 with their last meeting ending in a 2-2 draw in the 2017 World Cup. The first meeting between the two was a 1-0 win, after penalties, for the Italian’s in the 2008 Toulon Tournament semifinals.

 

Poland (+170) vs Senegal (+175): Draw (+175)

Poland took advantage of a weak Tahiti squad and came away with a 5-0 win on Sunday. The big win was key for the host nation as goal differential may be enough to get them into the Round of 16 by either finishing second in Group A or being one of the Top 4 third place teams. Poland have won five of their last 10 games.

Senegal clinched their berth in the Round of 16 with a 2-0 win over Columbia on Sunday. It was not the best performance by the Senegalese, but they took advantage of two penalties to come away with the victory. Senegal have now won two in a row and seven of their last 10.

I like Poland to get the win on Wednesday.

This will be the first meeting between these two u20 teams.

YTD Soccer Results: 72-63

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