Good afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole
for the Under-20 World Cup quarter-final between Uruguay
and Spain. Let's get straight down to business.
We'll start by looking at Uruguay, who have had an up and down tournament so far. They began with a disappointing 1-0 loss at the hands of eventual group winners Croatia before bouncing back to beat New Zealand 2-0. A comprehensive 4-0 win over Uzbekistan ensured that they finished the group in second place, but they needed a late Nicolas Lopez
winner against Nigeria to book their place in the final eight.
Despite a number of shaky performances, however, Uruguay are still considered one of the strongest teams still left in the competition. Since that loss to Croatia they have gone from strength to strength, apart from a slight wobble against Nigeria in the last round.
However, while Uruguay are one of the strongest teams still in the competition, today they come up against the tournament favourites. Spain seem to be perennial favourites whatever age group they play in, and this one is no different. They have been impressive so far, and the South Americans will need to pull off a fine performance to reach the last four.
Spain began their campaign with an emphatic 4-1 win over the USA before beating Ghana 1-0 and France 2-1 in their other group stage matches. Their last outing against Mexico provided them with more trouble than any of their previous matches, but they eventually came out on top - albeit courtesy of a very late goal.
The trouble they had in overcoming Mexico may well buoy Uruguay this evening, but there is still no doubt that Spain are the team to beat in this competition.
In terms of players to watch, both sides have plenty of match winners and top talent available to them. For Uruguay, Giorgian de Arrascaeta, Diego Laxalt and Nicolas Lopez
are more than capable of linking up to terrorise the Spanish defence. Guillermo Varela, meanwhile, has just moved to Manchester United and will be looking to impress.
Varela is likely to have his hands full against Real Madrid's Jese
, however. It was Jese
's strike that put them through to this stage, and he is the tournament's joint-top scorer with five goals to his name.
Elsewhere, Barcelona's Gerard Deulofeu has been touted as a wonderkid and already has a La Liga title to his name having made a couple of appearances for the first team last season. Oliver and Paco Alcacer can also be dangerous, while English audiences will be aware of Liverpool's Suso, who is also in the squad.
Spain have had no problems scoring during this tournament so far. They have netted in every game and, until today's earlier match, were the joint-second highest scoring side in the competition.
However, if there is one team who can keep the Spanish at bay, it may well be Uruguay. They have the joint best defence in the competition so far having conceded just two goals in their four games. They have also managed eight goals of their own which, again until earlier today, was the third highest tally in the competition.
I've mentioned earlier today quite a lot already, so it's about time I told you what happened if you missed it. France cruised through to the semi-finals courtesy of a 4-0 win
over surprise package Uzbekistan, and Les Bleus will meet either Ghana or Chile in the last four.
This should be a very intriguing match today. Two good attacks take on two good defences, and both sides have played with plenty of flair throughout the tournament.
PREDICTION: This is quite a tough match to predict as, on their day, Uruguay can equal anyone. However, I think Spain will have enough about them to see off their South American opponents this evening. I'm going to plump for a 2-1 win for the Spanish.
The Uruguayan national anthem blasts out of the speakers, but pretty much every player remains tight-lipped. They don't exactly look fired up for this match! Perhaps they know that they have 90 minutes of chasing the ball about ahead of them.
Right, those are the formalities out of the way, let's get down to some football! Some of these players will go on to become among the world's best in coming years, I'm sure, so this should be a treat to see them today.
Right, the players have had their final huddles and we're just about ready to go here in Bursa.
KICKOFF: Here we go! Spain get us underway in this quarter-final.
Suso sends a long ball forward to Jese, who takes it down but is immediately robbed of possession by Varela. The full-back looks to make a powerful run forward, but he takes too heavy a touch and Spain win possession back.
Deulofeu makes a promising early break down the right only to see his cross well cleared behind by Silva. The resulting corner comes to nothing, but it's been a bright start to this match.
Unsurprisingly Spain are enjoying the lion's share of possession in these early stages, but Uruguay are managing to get themselves on the ball now and again and they look dangerous when they do so.
In fact, it is now Uruguay who are seeing more of the ball. Still no real openings as both sides battle for possession in the middle of the park.
It's been a slow start to this match as both teams size each other up in the opening 10 minutes or so. I would expect it to pick up sooner or later, though.
Spain have a free kick for a handball by Gino. It is about 30 yards from goal and it would needed a magnificent strike to score from here. The senior team would probably pass it short and start another attack, but what will these youngsters do?
They choose to go for goal and it is Suso who hits it. He certainly catches it well enough but it is always rising and flies harmlessly over the bar.
A poor clearance gifts the ball to Oliver, who dinks it in to Jese. The Madrid man takes a very heavy touch but it almost runs for Deulofeu inside the box, only for De Amores to come and claim bravely.
Uruguay have their best chance of the match so far as a nice backheel from Laxalt finds Lopez, who immediately whips a dangerous cross into the box that is glanced wide.
CHANCE! Big chance for Uruguay - the best of the match so far. Rodriguez whips in a magnificent cross from deep and De Arrascaeta has peeled off his man to find space. He rises well enough to meet it, but his header is poor and the chance goes begging.
It is clear that this Spain team have been raised on the same philosophy as the senior team. They always play it from the back, very rarely play long balls, and are able to control and pass it even under immense pressure from two defenders. Spain just have such technically gifted players in all of their age groups.
OFF THE BAR! That's the closest we've come to a goal, and what an unorthodox goal it would have been. Spain win a corner that Deulofeu goes over to take, but his delivery has such wicked curl on it that the keeper needs to backtrack to get a vital hand on it and tip it on to the bar. Without that touch Deulofeu would have scored direct from a corner there!
CLOSE! We're coming closer to an opening goal here. Laxalt advances towards the edge of the area and is not closed down so opts to go for goal from around 25 yards out. His strike is good but just swerves away from goal at the last moment to fly past the post.
CHANCE! An initial Spanish free kick move doesn't work out but they recycle the ball and Oliver connects with a diving header at the back post. Derik is almost there to tap it in, but he is denied by a fine clearance.
Sotres is called upon to make a good take as Uruguay put another dangerous ball into the box. Lopez is up challenging the Spanish keeper, but he holds on to it well.
CHANCE! Liquid football from Spain! Oliver looks to have the ball stuck to his feet as he dances past three tackles before feeding Deulofeu. The Barcelona man gives it back to Oliver, who takes a touch before returning the ball to Deulofeu, but he can only slice his shot well wide. That would have been some goal.
Saul gives an unnecessary free kick away for Spain, and he has to be careful. One more yellow card would see him miss the semi-final, and he could have been booked for that one as it was very cynical.
Still no shots on target in this opening half an hour, and the closest we have come remains direct from a corner. Plenty of quality football on show, but neither side has been able to turn it into clear chances just yet.
Magnificent tackle from Gimenez! A simple header over the top looked to have sent Jese through on goal and, just as the striker was about to pull the trigger, Gimenez comes out of nowhere to make a brilliant sliding challenge. Top defending.
Spain have two half chances in quick succession. The first falls for Deulofeu who took advantage of a defensive error only to see his shot very well blocked. Then, moments later, a cross into the box looked to have set up Manquillo at the near post but the Spanish full-back mistimed his header and didn't get anywhere near enough on it.
Spain have gone back to knocking the ball around in the middle of the park now, patiently probing for a hole in the Uruguayan defence, but it isn't coming yet.
CHANCE! A ball into the Spain box is missed by everyone and eventually finds its way through to Cristoforo at the back post. He takes it down well before trying to fire a shot across goal, but his effort deflects behind for a corner.
Still no really clear-cut chances for either side in this match. Any potential openings have been quickly closed down by both defences.
Deulofeu has a chance to put a good ball into the box from a free kick but his cross is behind everyone, forcing Saul to go for an overhead kick that was never going to work.
De Arrascaeta manages to wriggle away from two Spain players only to send his low cross straight at another man in red. He wins the corner, but the delivery is poor and Spain clear with ease.
SAVE! Great piece of play from Suso as he shifts the ball a yard to his left to get on his favoured foot before unleashing a powerful snapshot goalwards. His drilled effort is well saved, but that is probably the best piece of attacking play we've seen so far in this match.
HALF TIME: Uruguay 0-0 Spain
An intriguing match comes to an end with no stoppage time. We haven't had a clear chance for either side yet and it is certainly the defences who have come out on top so far. The closest we have come to a goal was courtesy of a Deulofeu corner that needed to be tipped onto the bar.
Spain may be a little frustrated that they haven't been able to turn their possession into chances. They have enjoyed 65% of the ball in that first half but Uruguay's defence - the best of the teams still in the tournament - has held firm so far.
It is the Spanish who have looked most like scoring, however. Uruguay have had their moments, with most of their joy coming from aerial crosses into the box, but De Amores has been the busier of the two keepers. Suso's strike late on was his first real test, though, and Spain will be keen to make him work a lot more often than they have done.
One criticism often levelled at the Spanish senior side is that they don't have a 'plan B' if their tiki-taka style of football isn't working. This side may also struggle with a plan B if it comes down to that but, based on that first half display, I think that their plan A should be good enough to see them through to the last four.
The stand-out performers for me so far this evening have been Deulofeu and Oliver for Spain. They look capable of creating something every time they get on the ball. Jese also looks to have plenty of quality, but he hasn't been given the chance to showcase that so far today.
For Uruguay, Manchester United fans will be happy to hear that Varela looks like a very solid player. Gimenez has made a couple of world-class blocks and tackles as well, while Nicolas Lopez has been a handful at times up front for the South Americans.
A quick reminder of what has already happened in the Under-20 World Cup this afternoon: France cruised through to the semi-finals with a comprehensive 4-0 win
over Uzbekistan, courtesy of goals from Yaya Sanogo, Paul Pogba, Florian Thauvin and Kurt Zouma.
While we're handing out reminders, it is worth reiterating that these sides are also playing for a spot in the semi-finals of the competitions. The winners of this match will go on to face the winners of tomorrow's quarter-final between Iraq and South Korea, both of whom have already surpassed expectations to get this far.
Right, the teams are on their way back to the field ahead of the second half here, and what a second half it promises to be. The match is perfectly poised for both sides to start going for the win, which should increase the excitement for the neutral.
KICKOFF: Uruguay get us back underway in this one. If we have another goalless 45 minutes then we will go to extra time and then, perhaps, penalties.
Uruguay have made a bright start to this second half. They looked eager to strike an early blow before Spain can fall back into their passing rhythm.
Oliver shows beautiful footwork to escape the attentions of his marker before spreading a fine ball out to Suso. This man just oozes class, remember the name.
SAVE! More mouth-watering skill from Oliver as he twists and turns inside the box to find space to shoot. He sweeps an effort towards the bottom corner with his back to goal, but the shot lacks enough power to really trouble De Amores.
CLOSE! A catalogue of errors on a Uruguay attack allows Spain to break free. Deulofeu is forced out wide which takes some sting out of the attack, but his cross finds Campana on the edge of the box. The skipper takes a touch before unleashing a powerful strike which flashes inches past the post. That was very close.
The second half is going very much the same way as the first at the moment. Spain look most likely to score and are enjoying most of the ball, but there is still the lingering threat of a Uruguay break. They certainly looked capable of breaching the Spain defence at least once in this match.
I would be surprised if this one remains goalless. There is just too much attacking talent on show here.
The weather in and around the stadium is taking a turn for the worse at the moment. Lightning can be seen in the distance. It would be hard to say which side a storm would favour as both teams like to play it along the floor. Uruguay probably have a better aerial threat, however, so I'd have to say them.
Varela is becoming more adventurous with his marauding runs forward now. He bursts into the box but is stopped in his tracks by two Spanish defenders before throwing himself to the floor asking for a penalty. The referee correctly waves it away.
Oliver gives the ball to Campana, who spots a diagonal run by Manquilla towards the back post. The run is timed perfectly and it is the right idea, but Campana's ball is just overhit.
There is a good atmosphere building in the stadium now, with the Uruguayan fans making the vast majority of the noise. Good to see the stands so full for an Under-20 match.
You don't usually associate Spain with long passes, but they have sprayed some brilliant ones out today. Their short passing has been as impressive as ever, but these youngsters can ping the ball crossfield with apparent ease too!
This match is in need of a moment of magic to light it up. It is still an absorbing match, but a goal would really improve it as a spectacle.
Laxalt breaks away for Uruguay, but his teammates don't seem in a hurry to help him out! As it turns out, he doesn't really need them as he finds a way past two Spain defenders to cut inside the box before finally being tackled.
SPAIN SUB: The first sub of the night is made by Spain as Jose Campana is replaced by Paco Alcacer, who will go over to the left wing.
SAVE! Laxalt is getting on the ball more and more now, and he is creating chances. He is left in space around 25 yards from goal this time so chooses to go for goal himself, forcing Sotres into the save.
CHANCE! That is a brilliant cross from Deulofeu, but Alcacer can't make the most of it. The inswinging cross finds Alcacer the wrong side of the defence, but he just can't get his head over the ball and his effort goes tamely over the bar.
CHANCE! Oh that is probably the best chance of the match so far, and Spain wouldn't have wanted it to fall to anyone other than Jese. Another deep, inswinging cross causes the Uruguay defence to turn to face their own goal, and the ball drops to the feet of Jese who tries to caress a volley past De Amores, only to scuff his effort wide. Not an easy chance, but Jese will be upset at missing it given his recent form.
URUGUAY SUB: Uruguay's first change of the night comes with just over 10 minutes left as Diego Rolan comes on in place of Gino Acevedo. That's an attacking sub, which suggests that Uruguay are going for the win in normal time here.
CHANCE! Huge chance for Spain, but Gaston Silva is there to make another magnificent block. Paco Alcacer gets the ball on the edge of the area and takes one touch to send Silva the wrong way, making space to shoot in the process. He hammers it towards goal, but Silva has recovered in time to make a superb block. That is more world-class defending from the Uruguayan, and it could well have kept them in the tournament.
This match is beginning to open up in the late stages. We have seen more chances in the last 10 minutes or so than we had for the previous hour. Is there a goal for one of these sides in the final 10 minutes of normal time?
Time is running out for both sides and, if you want to know how urgent they are getting, Spain have just put a high cross into the box!
Spain are knocking the ball around their back four at the moment and don't seem too fussed about the clock ticking away. Eventually they make their move forward, but Oliver goes down and loses the ball.
SPAIN SUB: That is the end of the night for Gerard Deulofeu, who has impressed again tonight. He is replaced by Denis Suarez.
YELLOW CARD! The first yellow card of the night is shown to Saul, who will now miss the semi-final should Spain go through. De Arrascaeta went down theatrically there and Saul can feel a little hard done by. Free kick to Uruguay around 30 yards from goal...
CLOSE! Oh that is not far away whatsoever! De Arrascaeta takes it himself and he gets tremendous dip on it, but just not enough as it flies a yard or so over the bar. Fine effort.
There will be two minutes of added time. Can anyone find a dramatic late winner?
It is Uruguay who are looking most likely at this stage. They have one last chance with an attacking throw-in here...
SAVE! Great save from Sotres! A looping header from Rolan at the near post is dropping in until Sotres reaches out a hand to pull it back from what looked like a certain goal. Sotres collided with the post while making the save, and it looks like he will not be able to continue here.
END OF 90 MINUTES: Uruguay 0-0 Spain (extra time to come)
So, 90 minutes can't separate these two teams which means that we will have at least another 30 minutes of football here! If it is all level at the end of extra time then we will have the dreaded penalty shootout!
There are plenty of players suffering from cramp during the break here. The physios have been busy, though, and hopefully we won't have any injuries in the extra time period.
That is, indeed, the end of Sotres's night as he is unable to continue. On comes Ruben Yanez
in his place. This is a big chance for the 19-year-old, who could still make himself a hero if this goes to penalties.
Spain get us underway for the third time in this match. Can an extra 30 minutes separate these two sides?
Alcacer looks to take advantage of a miskick by Silva, but Gimenez comes across to cover well before buying a free kick off the Spain striker.
Suso embarks on a mazy run that takes him past four players and just inside the Uruguay box, but his effort is blocked by Gimenez who, along with Silva, has thrown himself in front of everything this evening.
Spain have been very patient throughout this match tonight. Even now, in extra time, they are knocking the ball about as if it were the first minute, looking for a way through the defence.
Uruguay just can't get on the ball for a prolonged period of time at the moment. It has been all Spain in the opening minutes of extra time.
This is another attacking change by Juan Verzeri. Sebastian Cristoforo makes way to be replaced by Felipe Avenatti
Uruguay are chasing shadows at the moment, and the longer this goes on the more tired the South Americans are going to get.
GOAL! Uruguay 1-0 Spain (Felipe Avenatti)
My word, completely against the run of play Uruguay have the lead! De Arrascaeta swings a corner into the danger zone and Avenatti, who has only just come on as a sub, meets it at the near post with a bullet header. Yanez had no chance. Spain must throw everything at Uruguay now!
HALF TIME IN EXTRA TIME: Uruguay 1-0 Spain
This really will be a test of Spain's ability now. They haven't been able to get the better of the Uruguay defence for large periods of this match and the South Americans will no doubt get even more men behind the ball now.
The referee wants a quick change at the break, but both managers call their sides in for a teamtalk. The Spanish coach look particularly animated.
KICKOFF: Uruguay get us underway for the last time today. Spain have just 15 minutes to save their World Cup status.
Varela goes down with cramp right at the start of the half, but Spain immediately restart play. They aren't waiting around for anyone with such high stakes on the line!
Spain are launching everything at Uruguay right now as the latter only have 10 men on the field because of Varela's cramp. The full-back wants to come back on but he has some blood on his shirt so the referee is not letting him.
URUGUAY SUB: The Uruguay management have decided that getting Varela a new shirt would take too long so instead he is replaced by Velazquez.
Derik rises highest to meet a corner, but he can only get the slightest of touches on it which doesn't threaten the Uruguay goal at all.
CHANCES! Heroic defending from Spain to keep themselves in this match. Yanez came out to clear a ball and was bundled into by Lopez, but the ref doesn't give a free kick. Instead Rolan lifts it goalwards and it looks set to drop into the open goal until Israel gets back to head clear. A number of shots and blocks follow until Spain finally get it clear.
YELLOW CARD! Gimenez becomes the first Uruguay player in the referee's book for a badly-timed tackle. He can have no complaints there.
SAVE! Suso decides that it is kitchen sink time as he lets fly from 25 yards out. Again, it is a well-struck shot but it is straight at De Amores, who comfortably gathers.
Spain are throwing some very un-Spain like high balls into the box now. The patience that they played with for over 100 minutes has most certainly deserted them now. This is desperation time.
Spain have a free kick in a good crossing position, and up comes the keeper. The ball, as always seems to be the case, goes straight to the keeper, who loses the header and Uruguay can clear their lines.
There will be two minutes of added time. Can Spain find a dramatic late equaliser?
Israel almost sneaks in as the ball breaks in the box, but a brave combination of Velazquez and De Amores get it clear. That could be Spain's last chance.
FULL TIME: Uruguay 1-0 Spain
Uruguay have done it! They reach the semi-finals of the Under-20 World Cup courtesy of a famous 1-0 win over Spain, and the celebrations show exactly what it means to them. The manager rushes on to the field and joins the heap of bodies that are his players.
On the other hand, Spanish players are littered all over the field, many with tears streaming down their faces. They were the favourites for this and, now that they have been eliminated, the tournament is wide open. Uruguay must now go down as one of the favourites alongside France, who reached the last four earlier today.
Uruguay will now face either Iraq or South Korea in the semi-final. Those two face each other tomorrow, and you can follow it, as ever, with Sports Mole.
It is Felipe Avenatti who will go down as the hero for Uruguay. He had barely been on the pitch for five minutes before his thumping header provided the South Americans with the only goal of the match. The defence deserve a lot of credit too. It took a massive effort to keep that Spanish attack from breaching them, and they showed why they have the best defensive record in the tournament this year.
This will certainly go down as a big shock. It ends a nine-match unbeaten streak for Spain U20s - the longest run in their history - and it is also the first time that coach Julen Lopetegui has tasted defeat in the Under-20 World Cup.
Right, that's it from me this evening. Spain dominated possession but couldn't turn that into chances as Uruguay ran out 1-0 winners courtesy of an extra-time strike. I will leave you with Matt Domm's match report
and be sure to come back tomorrow for the remaining two quarter-finals. Ghana will take on Chile and Iraq face South Korea. See you then!