The tournament entered a decisive phase today and the game for medals began. In the afternoon, Ukraine and Italy fought for a place in the finals. The conquerors of Poles wanted to improve their result from two years ago, when they finished third. A match between Ecuador and South Korea is planned for the evening. The team from South America ended the group competition in the third place and hardly anyone expected it to reach so far.
Ukraine 1:0 Italy
Our eastern neighbors looked better from the first few minutes. They tried to construct actions in a positional attack, while the Italians retreated to their own penalty box. Players from the Apennine Peninsula wanted to create a threat from counterattacks, but their plays lacked accuracy. They lost the ball very quickly, thanks to the high pressure applied by the Ukrainians. Sikan and the company prevailed on the pitch, but there were no specific goals. The players of both teams were aware of the importance of this duel and nobody wanted to risk in the first half. I was hoping that after a break Italian players would improve their game, who did not shoot a single shot in the first part of the match.
In the second half, the roles reversed and it was the players from the Apennine Peninsula who started playing the ball. Already in 52 minutes they could take the lead with Pinnamonti, but the shot of Frosinone's attacker defended Lunin. The goalkeeper of the Ukrainian national team did not look like the person who made an all-night trip from Lviv, where Ukraine took Luxembourg to Gdynia. With each passing minute, I was more and more sure that we would be in for overtime. There were no dangerous shots on goal and the pace of the game definitely slowed down.
For anger, he scored Serhii Buleca in the 62nd minute of the goal. Konopla crossed into the penalty area, and in front of the goal was perfectly found Dynamo Kiev helper and shot from the first ball defeated the goalkeeper. The Italians immediately set off to make up for their losses, feeling the pressure of time. However, they were unable to break through the tightly set defense of their rivals. Even punishing one of the Ukrainian defenders with a red card did not help to bring the players from the Apennine peninsula to a tie, although there was no shortage of emotions at the end of the game.
In the added time of the game the ball into the net, after a fantastic blow from the volley, he put Scamaccal. However, the joy of the Italians did not last long. After using the VAR, the referee decided that the Italian national team's striker had fouled one of his rivals and eventually failed to score.
Playing in weakness, our eastern neighbors kept the lead until the end of the match and can enjoy the game in the finals. Before the tournament nobody bet on them, but with each match they gained more and more fans. On Saturday, at the Widzew Lodz stadium, will play for gold and they can certainly count on the support of their compatriots. Italians, like two years ago, will play for bronze.
Ecuador 0:1 South Korea
The players of the Ukrainian team certainly looked forward to this meeting, waiting for their rivals in the finals. From the first minutes the Koreans looked much better. They were very dangerous on the offensive and quickly regained the ball after the loss. The best look in the Asia vice-championship team was the left defender Choi Jun, who literally played with the defenders of Ecuador. Unfortunately, his crossings were not exploited by his attackers.
Ecuadorians were helpless against their rivals, who impressed with their consistency in covering and the speed of playing the ball in counterattacks. The first goal, as expected, was scored by Koreans. The wisdom of the field, in the style of Alexander-Arnold from the semi-finals of the Champions League, showed in this action Kang In Lee. He instantly resumed the game from the free kick, giving the football to Choi Jun, a perfectly positioned Choi. The distracted Ecuadorians did not react in time and we had 0:1. The South American athletes did not have time to respond before the break and had to wait 15 minutes for the next opportunities.
After a break, the frustration of the Ecuadorian players was noticeable, who fouled their rivals every now and then. Within two minutes, the judge showed Jorge Celico's charges two yellow cards. They focused on kicking Koreans on their feet instead of at least trying to get to the gate of the Asian vice-champions. Campana and the company had no idea how to break through the Korean wall.
Even the coach of the Koreans, seeing the helplessness of the rivals, wanted to help them and in the 73rd minute he took off the best player on the pitch (I will spare myself the writing of his name and surname), playing with number 10. As it turned out later, it did nothing, because the Ecuadorians had their opportunities, but with brilliant parades showed off the goalkeeper of the Korean national team. The Asian players deservedly compete for gold with the Ukrainians in the finals on Saturday. Such a final cast is certainly a big surprise, but that's what this tournament is like - unpredictable.