Format of group stages gives Amajita fighting chance at U-20 FIFA World Cup - Times LIVE
   
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Sat May 27 11:59:13 SAST 2017

Format of group stages gives Amajita fighting chance at U-20 FIFA World Cup

Marc Strydom | 2017-05-19 15:02:29.0
The South African men's Under-20 national team, Amajita, at a training session on Friday 19 May 2017 in Suwon, South Korea. South Africa are drawn with the current U-20 champions of Europe‚ Italy; of South America‚ Uruguay; and of Asia‚ Japan in Group D for the 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup.
Image by: Safa.net via Twitter

The format of the group stages of the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in South Korea might be Amajita’s biggest ally in their quest to reach the last-16‚ especially if they can beat Japan in their opening game in Suwon on Sunday.

With the current champions of Europe‚ South America and Asia drawn in their group‚ on the face of it the SA U-20s – the fourth-placed finishers from Africa – would appear to have little chance of progressing.

However‚ with a format that sees the four best third-placed teams progress from six groups‚ Amajita remain underdogs but have a fighting chance.

South Africa are drawn with the current U-20 champions of Europe‚ Italy; of South America‚ Uruguay; and of Asia‚ Japan in Group D.

It is a tough ask for Thabo Senong’s team‚ who qualified for the World Cup as fourth-placed finishers at the Caf U-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Zambia in March.

But‚ with the tournament format seeing the knockout stage begin with a last-16 stage ahead of the quarterfinals‚ four of the six group stage third-placed teams progress along with first and second‚ meaning three points for Amajita would more than likely see them through.

Japan are likely to be the softest of South Africa’s three opponents‚ though the Asian champions will surely hold the same view of Amajita.

South Africa will be pinning their hopes‚ too‚ on being probably the greatest unknown quantity of the teams in Group D‚ and from whom the least is expected‚ hoping to produce a surprise factor on the day.

Amajita meet Japan at Suwon World Cup Stadium on Sunday at 5pm Korean time‚ 10 am in South Africa.

The game will be televised live in SuperSport 4 from 9.45am.

- TMG Digital/TMG Sport

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