The USA has gone home but the U-20 World Cup carries on in New Zealand regardless. The last four teams - Brazil, Mali, Senegal and Serbia - are here to the end: two will progress to the final on June 20; two will play the third-place playoff that precedes the championship game.
On paper, this looks a lot like Brazil's trophy to lose. A Brazilian U-20 squad has made three of the last six finals of this competition, and won the tournament five times overall. One more title will pull Brazil level with Argentina's record of six World U-20 wins. That is no small source of motivation.
And it's not just history that favors Brazil: it is the only remaining undefeated team in this competition.
Conversely, however, Brazil is also the only team in the semifinals that hasn't yet scored a goal in the knockout rounds. Back-to-back penalty shootout victories after 0-0 draws have ushered this squad to the penultimate round of the tournament.
Predicting results based on previous form has been a fool's game so far in this competition. Senegal crept out of the group stage as the third-best of four third-placed teams to advance from the opening phase. The Young Lions had a negative goal difference coming out of Group C and still technically have a negative goal difference (they have scored five and conceded six in the tournament to date). But Senegal was also the first team in this competition to put a goal past Ukraine, equalizing in the 83rd minute and going on to take the penalty shoot-out that followed the 1-1 draw. And it was the only team in the quarterfinals not to require penalties in order to progress, beating Uzbekistan 1-0.
Senegal is not the favorite against Brazil, but it hasn't been a favorite for many games in this tournament and it has still made it to the final four.
On the other side of the draw, Serbia and Mali will face off for the second time in this competition. They were in the same group, and Serbia won the first encounter, 2-0. Easy to pick the winner this time around? Maybe. But since the group stage the Serbs have required two very late goals to sneak past Hungary and penalties to get by the USA. Mali beat Ghana (who beat Argentina in the group stage, 3-2), 3-0, and followed that performance by knocking out Germany in a penalty shoot-out to decide their quarterfinal.
So there is case to be made for any of these teams to make the final.