How New Zealand can reach knockout stage of FIFA men’s U-20 World Cup

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With two of their three pool games played, New Zealand now know what they need to do to go through to the knockout stages of the FIFA U-20 Men’s World Cup in Argentina.

The surefire way is to make sure of their own destiny by finishing first or second in their group.

But the New Zealanders can also proceed to the Round of 16 if other results go their way.

Here’s a breakdown of the routes ahead:

Winning Group A

New Zealand play group leaders Argentina on Saturday (9am, NZT), and a win will put the Kiwis on top of the group with seven points, one more than the host nation.

Runners-up Group A

Uzbekistan can get to four points with a win in their last pool game, against Guatemala on Saturday.

That means a draw against Argentina would secure New Zealand the runners-up spot, with five points from their three games.

If New Zealand lose to Argentina, and Uzbekistan beat Guatemala, goal difference will decide the second spot in the group.

Relying on other results

Regardless of Saturday’s results in Group A, New Zealand can’t finish lower than third in their pool.

The four best-performing third-placed teams in the six groups will go through to the Round of 16.

To go through, New Zealand would need at least two other third-placed teams to have no more than three points, or for New Zealand to have a better goal difference than sides also sitting on four points.

New Zealand’s games

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Games played on Sunday May 21, 2023 (NZT)

New Zealand 1 (Norman Garbett 80′)
Guatemala 0

Argentina 2 (Alejo Véliz 27′, Valentin Carboni 41′)
Uzbekistan 1 (Makhmudjon Makhamadjonov 23′)

Game played on Wednesday May 24, 2023 (NZT)

New Zealand 2 (Ben Wallace 23′, Jay Herdman 41′)
Uzbekistan 2 (Abbosbek Fayzullaev 51′, Sherzod Esanov 90+3′)

Argentina 3 (Alejo Véliz 17′, Luka Romero 65′, Máxio Perrone 90+8′)
Guatemala 0


Game to be played on Saturday May 27, 2023 (NZT)

New Zealand v Argentina
Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario, San Juan, 9am

The 25,000-capacity Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario, where New Zealand will play Argentina. Photo credit: Enrique Guardia.

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