Argentina, Portugal amongst U-20 quarterfinalists

It was a day of Latin domination at the Under-20 World Cup on Tuesday as Colombia, Argentina, Mexico and Portugal all progressed to the quarterfinals.

Updated: August 10, 2011 11:22 IST
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Bogota: It was a day of Latin domination at the Under-20 World Cup on Tuesday as Colombia, Argentina, Mexico and Portugal all progressed to the quarterfinals.

Home team Colombia won its fourth straight match, coming from 2-1 down in the second half to beat Costa Rica 3-2, with James Rodriguez converting a stoppage-time penalty to clinch the win.

Six-time champion Argentina defeated Egypt 2-1, with Erik Lamela scoring both goals.

Mexico beat Cameroon 3-0 on penalties after a 1-1 draw through extra time, and Portugal edged Guatemala 1-0.

In the quarterfinals, Colombia will faces Mexico and Argentina will play Portugal.

In Wednesday's four remaining second-round games, Nigeria faces England, Spain plays South Korea, Brazil is up against Saudi Arabia and France meets Ecuador. Spain and Nigeria won their three group games and are among the tournament favorites along with Colombia, Argentina and four-time champion Brazil.

Colombia pulled off the victory just hours after the head coach of the senior team, Hernan Dario Gomez, resigned after reports he struck a woman in a bar on Saturday in Bogota.

"It was a tough day for us, very tough," said Colombia U20 coach Eduardo Lara. "The head of the coaching staff (Gomez) made a decision and this hurt all of the group. This team is a family. Maybe because of this, our first half was one of our worst."

Luis Muriel gave Colombia a 1-0 lead in the 56th minute, but Costa Rica came back with goals in the 63rd by John Ruiz and in the 65th by Mynor Escoe to take the lead and threaten the hosts with a surprise elimination.

However Colombia's Pedro Franco equalized with a 79th-minute header before Rodriguez's dramatic late winner.

Argentina's Lamela, who plays his club football for Roma, scored from the penalty spot in the 42nd and added his second in the 64th.

"It was a tense match but we deserved the victory," Argentina coach Walter Perazzo said.

The Egypt players complained strongly when the match ended, especially about the first penalty call by Swedish referee Markus Strombergsson, but coach El Sayed Diaa was accepting after the game.

"It's football, maybe there were mistakes, maybe not," he said. "We have to accept it. Egypt played very well, we just couldn't get the win."

Mexico won its penalty shootout over Cameroon by converting all three spot kicks while the Africans missed all three. Franck Ohandza had put Cameroon ahead in the 79th minute in regulation time, but Carlos Orrantia equalized for Mexico in the 81st.

"We are happy, but we are not completely satisfied," Mexico coach Juan Carlos Chavez said. "We know there is still a lot to improve. It was a difficult match, with few opportunities, but here we are, it's time to start thinking about Colombia. It will be very special to play against the host."

Portugal struggled past Guatemala, clinging on to the one-goal advantage delivered by Nelson Oliveira in the 7th minute. Portugal coach Ilidio Vale said his team will have to play better against Argentina.

"I have some bittersweet feelings for advancing to the quarterfinals this way," said Vale, suggesting his team had underestimated the Central Americans. "I'm convinced the next game will be different. We have to be more competitive."

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