LA PLATA, Argentina –
Italy and Uruguay will each be bidding for a first Under-20 World Cup title when the countries meet in the final on Sunday.
Italy knocked out South Korea with a 2-1 win in the semifinals Thursday after Uruguay beat Israel 1-0. Both matches took place Ãšnico Diego Armando Maradona Stadium at La Plata, which will also host the final and the playoff for third place.
Uruguay reached tournament final in 1997 and 2013, losing the championship matches to Argentina and France on those occasions, Italy will play the decider for the first time.
The evening encounter between Italy and South Korea offered more than 20,000 spectators one of the best matches of the tournament, with goalkeepers Sebastiano Desplanches and Kim Joon-hong working hard from start to finish.
Italy opened the scoring in the 14th minute via the player of the tournament so far. Cesare Casadei shot from the edge of the box despite being crowded by three South Koreans to put the ball in the back of the net for the seventh time in the U-20 World Cup.
South Korea equalized with Lee Seung-won’s shot from the spot in the 23rd after a video reviewed decision.
Both teams squandered opportunities to get ahead, including one for Italy that required goal line review. The deadlock was broken in the 86th, when substitute Simone Pafundi scored from a free kick.
The Italian lineup has been resurgent in the knockout rounds with wins over England and Colombia after placing third in its group.
Target man Anderson Duarte scored Uruguay’s only goal of the first semifinal in the 61st minute from close range, one of the few opportunities either team had during the match.
Israel goalkeeper Tomer Zarfati deflected a shot by Alan Matturro and it hit his left post, but Duarte was quicker than the Israeli defenders to put the ball in the back of the net.
To reach the final, Uruguay finished its group in second place, and eliminated Gambia and the United States.
Israel will play South Korea in the third place Sunday, almost going the distance after an eventual first trip to the Under-20 World Cup.
Protests in Muslim-majority Indonesia against hosting the Israel team forced FIFA into a very late switch of venues.
Argentina stepped in late to host the tournament.