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Under-20 World Cup | Final
Jun 11, 2023 at 10pm UK
Estadio Juan Carmelo Zerillo
Uruguay U20s
Italy U20s

Preview: Uruguay Under-20s vs. Italy Under-20s - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Under-20 World Cup clash between Uruguay Under-20s and Italy Under-20s, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Either Uruguay Under-20s or Italy Under-20s will be crowned champions of the world for the first time when they butt heads in Sunday's Under-20 World Cup final in La Plata.

Marcelo Broli's side ended Israel's magical run in the semi-finals with a 1-0 triumph, while the Azzurrini denied South Korea another shot at glory with a 2-1 win on Thursday.

Match preview

Uruguay Under-20s coach Marcelo Broli before the match on June 4, 2023© Reuters

Perfectly happy to let Israel knock the ball about - ending Thursday's semi-final with just 33% possession on the board - Uruguay flaunted every inch of the defensive acumen that carried them to the semi-finals and delivered a second-half sucker punch to their European counterparts.

Left-back Alan Matturro tried his luck from distance in the 61st minute, and his ferocious drive was tipped onto the post by Tomer Tzarfati, but Anderson Duarte was on hand to poke home the rebound and spark pandemonium for the South American nation.

A comical period of celebrations saw Matturro slip as he ran towards his teammates behind the advertising boards - unintentionally taking out a photographer in the process - but it was otherwise a picture-perfect moment for Broli's men, who are now out to right the wrongs of Under-20 World Cups gone by.

Uruguay's only previous appearances in the Under-20 World Cup final came in the 1997 and 2013 editions - where they lost to Argentina and France respectively - and they have sought to rectify past failings with a tremendous streak of defensive resilience.

Indeed, La Celeste have not conceded a single goal in the knockout stages so far and have kept five clean sheets from their six games at the 2023 tournament - the outlier being a 3-2 group-stage defeat to England - while also finding the back of the net in all six of their affairs so far.

Chelsea midfielder Cesare Casadei scoring for Italy Under-20s on June 3, 2023.© Reuters

However, their Italian adversaries - and Chelsea's Cesare Casadei in particular - need no lessons in finding the back of the net, and the Azzurrini's affinity for attacking elegance came to the fore to end South Korea's hopes of back-to-back appearances in the Under-20 World Cup final.

During Thursday's final-four battle, Casadei delicately found the top corner for his seventh goal of the tournament before the 2019 runners-up levelled the scores through Lee Seung-won's penalty, and extra time loomed as the semi-final entered its final knockings.

Simone Pafundi would ensure that the clock would not tick past 100 minutes, though, as the Udinese youngster - who had only been on the pitch for a few moments as a substitute - sent a sumptuous free kick into the top corner to send Carmine Nunziata's men through to their first-ever Under-20 World Cup final.

The Azzurrini had fallen short in both the 2017 and 2019 semi-finals before ending that brief hoodoo in midweek - scoring for the 11th time in 12 games - but only the Dominican Republic have failed to score against Italy's wonderkids so far.

Uruguay and Italy's only two previous meetings at Under-20 level came during the Under-20 World Cup - where La Celeste won 1-0 in the group stage before the Azzurrini prevailed on penalties in the third-place playoff - and exactly six years to the day since that bronze medal match, one would not be surprised to see Sunday's final go the distance as both nations strive to conquer the world.

Uruguay Under-20s Under-20 World Cup form:

Italy Under-20s Under-20 World Cup form:

Team News

Uruguay Under-20s' Anderson Duarte celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on June 4, 2023© Reuters

Uruguay will receive a timely suspension boost ahead of Sunday's final, as attacker Luciano Rodriguez has completed a two-game ban following his sending-off against Gambia in the last 16, having seen his customary one-game punishment extended by FIFA.

Broli's squad is not in tip-top condition, though, as Mateo Ponte's World Cup ended prematurely due to the muscular injury that he sustained in their quarter-final triumph over the USA, while Matias Abaldo's knee problem means that he may also miss the big occasion.

With a goal in all three knockout games so far, Defensor strike Duarte will spearhead the charge for La Celeste, meaning that the returning Rodriguez could be deployed on the right-hand side, demoting Franco Gonzalez to the bench.

As for Italy, striker Giuseppe Ambrosino was withdrawn in the 89th minute of their semi-final win over South Korea due to a reported injury concern, but there is nothing to suggest that he will not be passed fit for the final.

Either way, Nunziata certainly has a capable deputy in Pafundi, who may have played his way into a start over Ambrosino or Inter Milan's Francesco Pio Esposito up front, as Tommaso Baldanzi is indispensable in the number 10 role.

Unless Duarte can somehow find the back of the net five times in the final, Chelsea's Casadei will take home the Golden Boot - having netted seven times in six outings so far - and the 20-year-old will form part of an untouched midfield trident.

Uruguay Under-20s possible starting lineup:
R. Rodriguez; Chagas, Boselli, Gonzalez, Matturro; Garcia; L. Rodriguez, Diaz, Sosa, De los Santos; Duarte

Italy Under-20s possible starting lineup:
Desplanches; Zanotti, Guarino, Ghilardi, Turicchia; Casadei, Prati, Giovane; Baldanzi; Esposito, Ambrosino

SM words green background

We say: Uruguay Under-20s 1-2 Italy Under-20s (a.e.t)

With the greatest respect to Uruguay's previous opponents, Italy will present much more of a challenge to La Celeste's rearguard mettle, and England proved in the group stage that Broli's men can indeed be worn down.

The Azzurrini's defending has been far from exemplary too, so extra time may be required to settle Sunday's final, where Nunziata's difference-makers such as Casadei and Pafundi can step up to propel Italy to their maiden Under-20 World Cup crown and inflict a third successive final defeat on the unfortunate Uruguayans.

Data Analysis

Our analysis of all available data, including recent performances and player stats, suggests the most likely outcome of this match is a Italy Under-20s win with a probability of 42.22%. A win for Uruguay Under-20s has a probability of 31.4% and a draw has a probability of 26.4%.

The most likely scoreline for a Italy Under-20s win is 0-1 with a probability of 10.74%. The next most likely scorelines for that outcome are 1-2 (8.77%) and 0-2 (7.51%). The likeliest Uruguay Under-20s win is 1-0 (8.97%), while for a drawn scoreline it is 1-1 (12.54%).

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Who will win Sunday's Under-20 World Cup clash between Uruguay U20s and Italy U20s?

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Italy Under-20s
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England Under-20s' Dane Scarlett celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on May 22, 2023
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