Match - Sat 13 July, 20:00, Instabul
Penalty Shoot Out
Les Bleuets, Celeste battle for first U-20 title
France's players celebrate after defeating Ghana in the semi final football match
While France have long been ranked as one of the tournament favourites, the same cannot be said of Uruguay, who have often lived in the shadows of Argentina and Brazil (neither of whom qualified for the finals in Turkey) in this age group.
Nonetheless, La Celeste have at least appeared in an U-20 World Cup final before, having reached the ultimate stage in 1997 in Malaysia where they lost to arch rivals Argentina. As for Les Bleuets, 2013 marks their debut appearance in the final.
The French have had a relatively smooth path to the final through the tournament, finishing second in Group A (where they lost their last match to Spain) before crushing host side Turkey and Uzbekistan in the quarter- and semifinals respectively.
Ghana presented more of a challenge in the semifinals, but a brace from Florian Thauvin handed France a deserved 2-1 win.
“I was lucky enough to grab two goals today and to help my country qualify for the final,” Thauvin told FIFA.com after the win over the Black Satellites.
“If I created a bit of history in the process, that’s all the better, but now what we have to do is make sure our name ends up on the trophy.”
Uruguay also finished second in their group before going on to edge out Nigeria and Spain in the quarter- and semifinals respectively, and then they squeezed past surprise package Iraq, drawing 1-1 after extra time before winning 7-6 on post-match penalties.
Much like the senior Uruguayan side, Juan Verzeri’s La Celeste have shown an unyielding spirit and a determination to do whatever it takes to win. While their football may not have the style of the French, they will be more than capable of upsetting the Europeans in this battle between two teams seeking their first U-20 World Cup title.