Group F was arguably the most competitive at the 2017 Men's U-20 World Cup, so it was fitting the final standings were decided by two draws.
Saudi Arabia 1-1 USA
The USA can be pleased with its performance in Group F: it finished one of the tougher groups in the tournament unbeaten, and that included significant tests such as falling into a two-goal hole against Ecuador and playing the entire second half with 10 men.
Cameron Carter-Vickers picked up two yellow cards in the last five minutes of the first half, setting up a challenging second 45 for the USA. Brooks Lennon had put the young Americans ahead in the 40th minute, and they held that lead until the 74th minute, when Abdulelah Alamri scored for Saudi Arabia.
The match meant a little more to the Saudis than the Americans. Results in Group E meant the USA knew it had qualified for the round of 16 before kick-off, but Saudi Arabia had no such assurance. The team needed a point to guarantee its place in the knockout rounds, and might be a little concerned at how long it took to find an equalizer against 10 men,
The USA has occasionally made games at this World Cup more difficult than necessary: gifting goals to Ecuador and watching Carter-Vickers foul out of this match. But those experiences have also revealed a determined squad with an unexpected depth of resolve. That resolve will be tested once again in the round of 16: in addition to Carter-Vickers' absence, the team will be without Aaron Herrera and Derrick Jones, who will serve suspensions for yellow-card accumulation.
Ecuador 0-0 Senegal
Ecuador will look back at a U-20 World Cup that started with a two-goal lead over the USA after 10 minutes and wonder how it managed to get eliminated at the group stage. The answer is that it simply never found the necessary scoring touch to advance. After putting three past the USA in the opening match, the team scored once more in two games - and that was an 89th-minute consolation goal in a 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia. Throw in the fact that two of the goals against the USA were arguably gifts from a shaky defense, and one might conclude Ecuador's attack simply didn't turn up for this tournament in the form necessary to take the team through to the knockout rounds.
Senegal hasn't scored heavily in the group stage either - hasn't scored at all since its opening game, in fact. But it has two clean sheets to thank for its place in the round of 16.
A goal assured either of these teams a place in the knockout rounds. The tie saw Senegal through, but for as long as the score was 0-0, Ecuador was a goal away from the round of 16 at its opponent's expense.
Senegal had a goal called back by the VAR in the second half. Both teams had chances to settle the match, but in the end two teams that have had trouble scoring since their opening games couldn't find the net.
|Position||Team||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Goals For||Goals Against||Goal Difference||Points|
- The USA will play New Zealand on June 1
- Senegal will play Mexico on June 1
- Saudi Arabia will play Uruguay on May 31