Italy overcame an impressive Korea Republic side to book their place in the Under-20 World Cup final in Argentina late on Thursday evening. They will now face Uruguay in the final on Sunday, June 11.
The Azzurrini were again led by the brilliant Cesare Casadei and Simone Pafundi, firing them past a Korean side who had beaten Nigeria and Ecuador in the knockout rounds to reach the final four.
Classy Casadei leads the way
Cesare Casadei is arguably the standout player in Argentina this summer and the Chelsea showed his brilliance again on Thursday as he opened the scoring with what was his seventh goal of the tournament, making him the leader in the race to win the Golden Boot. Uruguay’s Anderson Duarte – with three goals to his name – is the only player remaining in the tournament who could catch Casadei now, which appears unlikely.
His opener was sublime on the night, taking a shot in his stride from outside the area as the ball was played to him from his left, casually picking out the top corner.
Seung-Won Lee was given the chance to level things up from the penalty spot after VAR intervened and made no mistake, but the Azzurrini didn’t let their heads drop and had chances to restore their lead, though they did rely on an excellent save from Sebastiano Desplanches of AC Trento to stay on level terms.
That meant Simone Pafundi – who has already become Italy’s youngest first-team debutant in 100 years under Roberto Mancini – to secure the Azzurrini’s place in the final with a sublime freekick. With seven minutes to play and seven Korean players in the wall, Pafundi whipped an inch-perfect strike into the top corner and there was to be no way back for the Asian outfit.