Italy win at Under-20 World Cup sets up final with Uruguay


After both Italy and Uruguay triumphed in their semifinal matches on Thursday in Buenos Aires, they will meet each other in the 2023 Under-20 World Cup final on Sunday.

The championship and third-place game will both be played at La Plata’s Unico Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.

Earlier in the day, Uruguay defeated surprise semifinal contender Israel 1-0 before Italy defeated South Korea 2-1 in overtime to advance to its first U20 championship game thanks to a fantastic free kick by Simone Pafundi.

In the 14th minute, Cesare Casadei gave Italy the lead. However, the game was quickly tied when Lee Seung-Won converted a penalty kick after a VAR judgment gave South Korea a penalty.

In the 86th minute, Italy was awarded a free kick just beyond the penalty area. Pafundi curled an unstoppable free ball into the goal to give his team a spot in the championship as the game appeared to be going to extra time.

Both teams had missed great chances to go up before the winning goal, including one for Italy that required a goal line review. After finishing third in its group, the Italian team has improved in the knockout rounds with victories over England and Colombia.

In the opening game of the day, Anderson Duarte scored Uruguay’s lone goal from close range in the 61st minute on one of the few opportunities either team had. Uruguay had previously lost U20 final appearances in 1997 and 2013.

Alan Matturro’s shot struck Israel goalkeeper Tomer Zarfati’s left post after being deflected by him, but Duarte was able to score before the Israeli defense could react.

Israel had little chances to tie the score in the following 30 minutes after conceding the goal.

In 1997 and 2013, Uruguay also advanced to the championship round. Both Argentina and France won those from the Celeste.

Israel, who is taking part in the competition for the first time, will face South Korea in the third-place game on Sunday.

Argentina stepped in extremely late to host the competition when FIFA was forced to change locations due to protests in Indonesia, a Muslim-majority country, over hosting the Israel team.

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