Wednesday Evening Ticker: France and Uruguay advance to U-20 World Cup Final; Man City eye new striker; and more

FranceGhana (Getty)

By JUSTIN FERGUSON

The final of what has been an exciting FIFA Under-20 World Cup was set on Wednesday after two hard-fought semifinal matches in Turkey.

In a rematch of an earlier “Group of Death” clash, France punched a ticket to its first U-20 World Cup Final with a 2-1 win over 2009 champions Ghana. Lille midfielder Florian Thauvin notched both goals for France, who was appearing in its second straight semifinal.

Thauvin scored the opener just two minutes before halftime, linking up with Jean-Cristophe Bahebeck and coolly slotting the ball into the back of the net. Ebenezer Assifuah leveled right out of the break with a superb individual effort, but Thauvin would have the last laugh with a bouncing 74th-minute winner.

In the second semifinal, Iraq was unable to register back-to-back wins in penalties and fell 7-6 in a shootout to Uruguay. After exchanging conversions with its South American opponent, Iraq midfielder Saif Selman’s miss put Uruguay in the final.

The two sides played out a 1-1 draw before heading to penalties. Ali Adnan’s free kick goal in the first half looked to be enough for the underdog Iraqis, but a Gonzalo Bueno strike in the 87th minute kept Uruguay’s hopes alive.

Here are some more stories to wrap up your Wednesday:

MANCHESTER CITY EYE NEW STRIKER

After selling Carlos Tevez to Juventus, Manchester City have made signing a new striker their top priority in the transfer window.

New manager Manuel Pellegrini did not name any specific targets during his first press conference since taking over for Roberto Mancini, but he stressed the need for a striker to join midfield signings Fernandinho and Jesus Navas.

“We have two strikers (Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko) and we need another one, but I am not talking about any names,” Pellegrini told reporters.

Reports have linked Man City to Sevilla’s Alvaro Negredo, one of Navas’s former teammates, and Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic, who has attracted the attention of English Premier League rivals Arsenal and Chelsea.

AMERICAN BUSINESSMAN, NFL OWNER LINKED TO FULHAM PURCHASE

The infusion of American ownership into the English Premier League is showing no signs of slowing down.

Reports out of England indicate Pakistani-born American billionaire Shahid Khan is in talks to buy Fulham from 84-year-old Mohamed Al-Fayed, who has owned the club since 1997.

Khan is the owner of automobile parts manufacturer Flex-N-Gate and the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, who are contracted to play a game at London’s Wembley Stadium for the next four seasons. If Khan purchased Fulham, he would become the fourth NFL owner to also own an EPL club, joining Malcolm Glazer (Manchester United and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Stan Kroenke (Arsenal and the St. Louis Rams) and Randy Lerner (Aston Villa and the Cleveland Browns).

The price for Fulham is rumored to be around $225 million. Al-Fayed bought the struggling fourth-division club for $10 million in 1997 and has pumped close to $300 million into the now top-flight side.

QUICK KICKS

Aston Villa have reportedly set a £30 million ($44.8 million) price tag on transfer-listed striker Christian Benteke. (REPORT)

According to reports in Germany, a proposed deal taking Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner to Eintracht Frankfurt has fallen through. (REPORT)

Southampton is close to signing highly touted midfielder Victor Wanyama from Celtic. (REPORT)

UEFA claims a Spanish second division match between Racing Santander and Hercules was fixed. (REPORT)

One third-division team in Nigeria has been disbanded and three others have been banned after two promotion playoff matches finished 67-0 and 79-0. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Who do you have winning the U-20 World Cup Final? Think Man City will be able to land a big-name striker this summer? Excited to see the chance of more American investment in the EPL?

Share your comments below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Featured, International Soccer, Under-20 World Cup. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Wednesday Evening Ticker: France and Uruguay advance to U-20 World Cup Final; Man City eye new striker; and more

  1. ed - houston says:

    Lol, 67 and 79 to zero, sounds like a bad college, American, football game.

  2. Vik says:

    The Bucs, Browns, Rams, and Jags; four NFL heavyweights.

    There’s probably nothing to read into here, but maybe salary caps force good management instead of simply throwing more funds at your soccer team for success.

  3. Alex says:

    so it looks as if Altidore was on the scoresheet for Sunderland in a preseason friendly.

    link to tyneandwear.sky.com

  4. Mark says:

    So, is it a prerequisite for an american owner to buy an EPL team that they own an awful NFL franchise? It seems that before too long my beloved Ralph Wilson will be buying up his own EPL franchise.

  5. jones says:

    meh, U20s. I’ve moved on to the Ladies Euro – started today and all games on ESPN online. I’m always interested to see how womens teams other than the US are progressing. Especially excited for France and Germany. England always ends up under-preforming and Spain doesn’t give a crap about their womens side so getting out of the group will be tough for them.

    Today Italy-Finland played to a 0-0 draw but the Sweden-Denmark match was great. Lots of drama and the Danes played some nice possession soccer (also, I’ve never seen so many blondes on a field at one time, so there’s that).

  6. petedx says:

    Randy Lerner sold his interests in the Browns in 2012.

    • baquito says:

      I thought of this too, but the way Justin phrases that sentence I don’t think they have to be current NFL owners, they just had to concurrently own an NFL team and an EPL team at some point.