Senegal are not just quick off the mark, they also know how to defend. The African side were the only team not to concede a goal in the group stages.
Lodz hosts an all-African tie as old foes Senegal and Nigeria cross swords. Les Lions de la Teranga were the first team to qualify for the knockout rounds and forward Amadou Sagna’s goal after 9.6 seconds against Tahiti was the quickest ever at the U20 World Cup. Nigeria, who qualified as one of the best third-placed teams, will have to be on their guard from the first whistle.
Panama have been one of the biggest surprise packages at Poland 2019. Los Canaleros may have had to wait an age for their first competitive win, but they were rewarded for their patience, making it to the Fifa U20 World Cup knockout rounds for the first time ever.
Coach Jorge Dely Valdes will try to prolong the fairytale on Monday against an impressive Ukraine side starring Real Madrid’s Andriy Lunin. The young goalkeeper has already shone on several occasions, saving virtually everything thrown at him, including Muhamed Tijani’s penalty in the draw against Nigeria.
A fascinating South American clash in Lublin sees Ecuador take on Uruguay. The Ecuadorians came into the tournament on a high after winning the South American Youth Championship, but it took a narrow 1-0 success over Mexico in their final game to take them out of the group.
La Tricolor boast a significant following in Poland and among them is Pablo Campana, the Ecuadorian Minister of Commerce, whose son Leonardo leads the line for Ecuador. The pair would love to remain in Poland for as long as possible, but round-of-16 opponents Uruguay have been excellent, winning all three of their games in confident fashion.
Third time lucky has more of a ring to it than ‘18th time lucky’, however that was the story for Panama. Having never won a game at the U-20 World Cup – a record of 13 defeats and four draws – the Panamanians finally tasted success in their final group match against Saudi Arabia.
Speaking of third time lucky, Uruguay will hope this rings true for them. The smallest nation to have won the Fifa World Cup has yet to taste success in the U-20 edition, with La Celestelosing twice in the final in 1997 and 2013. A strong showing in the group stages has placed the Uruguayans among the favourites for the title.