Thursday 23 May 2019, 10:42

Angel and Juskowiak expect thrilling tournament

  • Juan Pablo Angel identifies Colombia’s potential star men

  • Andrzej Juskowiak hopes the Poles play as well as his side did against Italy

  • The ex-Poland striker believes flair will trump tactics

Colombia’s Juan Pablo Angel and Poland’s Andrzej Juskowiak, both FIFA Legends, cannot wait for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019 to get underway. got the legendary strikers to choose which of their favourite goals they would like to see their younger counterparts score at this tournament.

“Let’s hope style triumphs over tactics," said Juskowiak. "I reckon this tournament’s going to be full of electrifying action.”

Andrzej Juskowiak is seen with the official match ball 

Angel made a name for himself with clubs such as Atletico Nacional, River Plate, Aston Villa and Los Angeles Galaxy. Today he's off to the opening game of Poland 2019, but what is he expecting to see?

“I have high hopes," said the former Colombia international. "From the moment you arrive, you can see that something of interest is taking place here, and that’s important.

"Of course, seeing as I’m Colombian, I hope my team plays to their potential and gives themselves a good chance of getting out of the group. I’m excited because I’m also expecting the stadium to be packed to the rafters. We hope there’s plenty worth watching on the pitch too.”

Angel also has high expectations for the tournament as a whole.

“A lot of teams have come on leaps and bounds in the last few years - Poland are no exception. For me, it’s super that I’ll be able to watch first-hand a whole generation of players who are going to have a significant role in the game in the next ten to 15 years. It’s going to be great to see new stars emerge right in front of our eyes."

Juan Pablo Angel is seen with the official match ball

Although Colombia had a tough time qualifying for the tournament, Angel still believes his nation can put on a good showing in Poland. He also has his own theory as to why they struggled to get here.

“Our qualifying section is one of the hardest in the world," he said. "You can end up running into Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, etc. We weren’t great during the qualifiers, but, in the end, we managed to reach the World Cup, and that’s what counts.

"It’s a fact that we had issues scoring goals, but after the qualification campaign, the coach made some changes and in came players from Europe. They, without doubt, strengthened the team. If you combine that with a good defence, something we already have, then we can do well."

James Rodriguez of Colombia celebrates after scoring at the 2011 U-20 World Cup

It was at the U-20 World Cup in Colombia when James Rodriguez burst on to the scene back in 2011. Does Angel see anybody in the current team who could do the same?

“I’d look out for Carlos Cuesta if I were you," said the 43-year-old. "He’s a central defender. He’s very solid at the back and extremely quick. You’ve got Cucho Hernandez too. He’s already strutting his stuff in Europe. Those are two names worth remembering."

When asked which of his goals he would like to see one of his compatriots score at Poland 2019, Angel did not take long to answer.

“There was one match... Colombia vs Brazil. Their team was littered with stars: Kaka, Cafu, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos. The game was a tight one, then I scored a delightful header. I hope our boys can score a goal like that in Poland.”

When it was the turn of former Poland international Andrzej Juskowiak to select one of his goals, he did not hesitate either.

“My strike against Italy at the Olympic Games in Barcelona," he stated. "Every team needs a coming-of-age moment. Ours came in that game against Italy. They were the European champions at that time, and we beat them 3-0.

"I hope our lads have a match like that. Maybe it will be against Colombia? Perhaps they’ll manage to win 3-0?”

Sebastian Walukiewicz in action (Copyright: Cyfrasport)

Just like Angel, Juskowiak was quick to name Poland's most promising youngsters.

“I’d pick out our two centre-backs, Sebastian Walukiewicz and Jan Sobocinski," said the ex-Lech Poznan, Sporting, Olympiacos and Wolfsburg striker. "They can already do so much. They don’t just defend; they can also bring the ball out from the back when under pressure. They’re also playing regularly, and not just for the national team.

"This Polish side is really well-prepared. We have more than enough quality to beat Colombia.”

A general view of the Lodz Stadium 

In terms of the tournament as a whole, Juskowiak hopes that individual flair will win out.

“The players are at an age when tactics are not always the most important thing," he said. "At the senior tournaments, you usually see the defences come out on top. I hope that it will be different here, that we will see some stunning individual play – dribbling past two or three opponents and then having a shot from 20 yards out, something like that.

"In my opinion, the great thing about this tournament is that the teams are made up of youngsters who don’t play together that often. That makes this tournament unpredictable. I can’t wait for the first set of matches to get underway!”