Soccer

France, Uruguay reach semifinals of U20 World Cup

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The Canadian Press
7/6/2013 4:52:20 PM
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ISTANBUL - Substitute Felipe Avenatti scored in extra time to give Uruguay a 1-0 win over Spain in the quarterfinals of the Under-20 World Cup on Saturday.

Avenatti had been on for five minutes when the 1.96-meter tall striker scored with a fierce header at the near post from Giorgian De Arrascaeta's corner in the 103rd.

It's the fourth time Uruguay has reached the last four in the competition. It will play Iraq or South Korea for a place in the final.

Earlier Saturday, France beat Uzbekistan 4-0 to set up a semifinal against Ghana or Chile. The remaining quarterfinals are scheduled for Sunday.

Spain was the only team in the quarterfinals to have won all matches and was widely regarded as a favourite for the title.

In a high-paced first half, Spain dominated possession with its typical short passing in midfield. Winger Gerard Deulofeu's curling corner kick hit the crossbar in the 19th and midfielder Suso forced Uruguay keeper Guillermo De Amores into a diving safe in the last minute of the first half.

Leonardo Pais and Giorgian De Arrascaeta came close for Uruguay but they both sent their headers just off target.

The match slowed down in the second half, causing booing from the stands. In the last 20 minutes, Spain stepped up a gear again after coach Julen Lopetegui brought Paco Alacacer. The central striker immediately created danger but directed his header over the crossbar.

In the second minute of injury time, Spain goalkeeper Daniel Sotres just managed to push the ball away from the goalline following a backward header from Uruguay substitute Diego Rolan.

Sotres hit his head against the goalpost and was replaced by Ruben Yanez for extra time.

Spain created few chances to score the equalizer, though Israel Puerto came close when he was left unmarked in the area but sent his header wide.

Earlier, France outplayed Uzbekistan to cement its status as one of the tournament favourites.

Yaya Sanogo scored in the 31st minute, and Paul Pogba and Florian Thauvin both added goals from the penalty spot to give France a 3-0 halftime lead.

A diving header from defender Kurt Zouma in the 64th made it 4-0 for France, which beat host Turkey 4-1 in the previous round.

France will at least match its best previous result in the competition — finishing fourth two years ago in Colombia.

France dominated the match from the start but missed several clear chances. Sanogo hit the post in the second minute, and Thauvin did the same in the 17th, before left winger Jean Christophe Baheback helped France break the deadlock.

Bahebeck first set up Sanogo for an easy tap-in, giving the team's top scorer his fourth goal. Four minutes later Baheback earned France's first penalty when he was brought down by Uzbekistan right back Tohirjon Shamshitdinov, who was later sent off for a second yellow card in the 65th.

Two minutes before halftime, Diyorjon Turapov handled the ball, enabling Thauvin to give France a comfortable lead.

France lowered the pace of play in the second half and put less pressure on Uzbekistan, which received five yellow cards for rough play.

Zouma added the fourth as he converted a corner from Thauvin. Substitute Alexy Bosetti missed four clear chances to make it 5-0, which would have matched France's defeat of Iran in 2001, its best ever win in the competition.

Reaching the quarterfinals was Uzbekistan's best achievement. It had never won a match at an Under-20 World Cup before at two previous attempts.

Soccer Balls (Photo: Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)
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