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2017 U-20 World Cup round-up, Group A, round 2: South Korea clinches qualification for the knockout rounds

The home team is rolling along nicely at the U-20 World Cup. And even a return to slapstick form looks unlikely to stop England joining South Korea in the round of 16.

Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Group A has found its first qualifier for the second week of the 2017 Men's U-17 World Cup: South Korea will be in the knockout rounds. England can also feel pretty confident about its chances of getting to the next stage of the competition. Argentina and Guinea have not had a great start to the tournament, and at least one of them will have an early finish.

England 1-1 Guinea

Those waiting England to live down to its modest reputation in this tournament didn't have to wait long. Shortly after Lewis Cook had opened the scoring for England in the 53rd minute, Fikayo Tomori leveled the match with a remarkable own goal. Under little pressure, the full back turned into a back-pass without first checking his 'keeper's position. Dean Henderson was out of his area and unable to reach the pass with his feet: Guinea had its first and only goal of the tournament.

The result is more concerning for Guinea than England. Highlight-reel embarrassment notwithstanding, this England team can be relatively confident of a place in the knockout rounds: the four points it has accumulated from its first two group-stage games should be enough to see it to at least a lucky-losers spot in the round of 16. Guinea, however, has yet to score a goal for itself in this tournament, and needs three points against Argentina in its Group A finale to have a shot at progressing to the knockout rounds.

South Korea 2-1 Argentina

The home team clinched qualification for the knockout rounds with a 2-1 win over Argentina. Star-man Lee Seung-woo opened the scoring with a solo effort that would have the scouts at this tournament abuzz were he not already in Barcelona's youth set-up. The squad's other Barcelona-based player, Paik Seung-ho, converted a penalty in the 42nd minute to send the Koreans in to half-time with a 2-0 lead.

Argentina was back in the game in the 50th minute, through Marcelo Torres - one of two half-time subs made as head Claudio Ubeda set his team up to fight for its life at this tournament. South Korea had to survive heavy pressure to come away with three points. But, for the second consecutive time in this group, Argentina was left to reflect on a match in which it had abundant possession and shots and fewer goals than the other team.

The win puts Korea into the latter stages of this World Cup, with a game to spare in the group stage. Argentina has zero points from two games and not even a win in its last game of this group will guarantee it qualification for the knockout rounds. The tournament's presumed Group of Death may have claimed its first victim.

Final games in Group A:

  • South Korea vs England - 7:00 am, Eastern; Friday, May 26
  • Argentina vs Guinea - 7:00 am, Eastern; Friday, May 26