Zambia face Portugal in Seoul

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 08:55:39 +0000


By Grace Chaile-Lesoetsa

AFRICAN champions Zambia will face two-time champions Portugal, Costa Rica and Iran in the group stage of the 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup to be held in South Korea from May 20 to June 11.

According to the draws conducted by FIFA yesterday at Suwon Artrium in South Korea, Zambia was placed in Group C.

If Zambia storms the last 16 round, they will face either South Africa, Uruguay, Japan or Italy who are in Group D.

West Africans Guinea were drawn against hosts Korea, six-time champions Argentina and England in Group A.  Germany, Mexico, Venezuela and Vanuatu compete in Group B while Group E has France, New Zealand, Honduras and Vietnam. Superstitious Senegal will face Donald Trump’s boys United States, Saudi Arabia and Ecuador in Group F.

Zambia will play Portugal in their opening match on May 21 before taking on Iran three days later and finally play Costa Rica on the 27th.

Coach Beston Chambeshi said it was a fair draw and Zambia had the ability to book their way to the last 16 spot provided the team was adequately prepared for the tournament.

“It is a fair draw. All our opponents are good sides so we will not underrate any team. Good preparation, hard work and determination will see Zambia go past the group stage,” he said

Meanwhile, Minister of Sport Moses Mawere said Government was ready to support the preparation of the team. “I had stated earlier that we are ready to camp the boys in the country of their choice. They camped in Spain and the results were seen by winning the continental title, so even this time around Government will do the same,” he said.

He said he was confident Zambia will do well in the group stage.

Portugal have appeared in 10 of the 20 FIFA Under-20 World Cups held to date, winning the competition twice. Those two victories were achieved back-to-back at Saudi Arabia in 1989 and as hosts in 1991.

The best performance of Costa Rica was in 2009 when they finished fourth. In the case of Iran, this will be the country’s third appearance at the showpiece; they were booted out in the first round in 1977 and 2001.


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