Wednesday 29 May 2019, 06:56

The group stage in review

  • Multiple records were broken during Poland 2019’s group stage

  • An admirable show of sportsmanship caught the eye

  • We deliver some facts, figures and footage

The fastest goal, the biggest win and the most goals by a player in one match – the group stage of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019 saw nine matchdays, 36 matches and a whole host of records and memorable moments. Sixteen teams still have high hopes of glory, while eight are now heading home.

"Everyone in Poland is living and breathing this spectacular event," said Zbigniew Boniek, President of the Polish Football Federation (PZPN). "We are delighted with the ambience, the incredible interest shown by the fans and the atmosphere in the stadiums. Organising this World Cup was definitely worth it. All the teams are showing real passion and giving their all for their team. That’s football in its purest form. Now I’m really looking forward to the knockout phase." looks back at what was an exciting group stage.


The unsung heroes of the FIFA World Cup: Some 1,000 volunteers are working during the four weeks of the tournament. While most of them are from Poland, there are also some who have travelled from as far as Angola, Nigeria, England and Azerbaijan to help out at this unique event.

Top and flop: Only one team managed to get through the group phase without conceding a goal – Senegal (five goals for, 0 against) – while Uruguay and France managed to win all three of their matches. At the other end of the scale, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Tahiti, Honduras and Qatar all failed to get a point on this, the biggest of stages, and with the exception of Mexico and Saudi Arabia, they all failed to register a goal.

Great atmosphere in the host country: All three Poland matches at Lodz Stadium – against Colombia (0-2), Tahiti (5-0) and Senegal (0-0) – were as good as sold out, and the home fans showed themselves to be worthy hosts of the U-20 World Cup. The Biało-Czerwoni youngsters will now head off to Gdynia to face Italy.


2 - With Argentina (six titles) and France (one) having made it through, two of the three former winners participating at Poland 2019 are in the running for the trophy. European champions Portugal (two titles) surprisingly fell at the first hurdle for the first time in ten years.

9.6 - Amadou Sagna scored the fastest goal in the history of the tournament to open the #U20WC 2019. The Senegalese required merely 9.6 seconds into the match against Tahiti. The previous record was set by Nigeria’s Monday Odiaka back in 1985. Sagna then went on to record the first hat-trick at the tournament in four years.

Memorable moments

Historic day for Panama: With a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia in the third and final matchday in Group E, the Central Americans secured their first ever victory at a FIFA U-20 World Cup. In their 17 previous matches at this tournament, they had managed four draws and 13 defeats (scored ten, conceded 34). The win also sent Panama through to the knockout stage.

Tahiti looking on the bright side of life: No points, zero goals scored and 35 conceded in six matches – that is the disappointing record Tahiti have acquired at the FIFA U-20 World Cup over the years. The team from the Pacific Island again came away empty-handed from their three matches in Poland, but won the hearts of the fans thanks to their affable presence at the tournament.

Norway’s historic night: The Scandinavian team’s 12-0 win over Honduras was the biggest victory in tournament history, while the nine goals scored by Erling Haland are the most for a player in any one game. The previous record was held by Adailton, who notched six goals for Brazil in their 10-3 thrashing of Korea Republic in 1997.

Biggest win, part II: New Zealand beat Honduras 5-0 for their biggest victory in tournament history, eclipsing their 5-1 win over Myanmar in 2015. Three days later, the Kiwis defeated Norway 2-0 for their first-ever win over European opposition.

Legends visit Lodz: FIFA Legends Juan Pablo Angel and Andrzej Juskowiak were on hand to take a closer look at some of the future stars of the beautiful game. "It’s great to get to see the new generation who are set to play a major role over the coming ten or 15 years," Angel told "Watching them develop close up is fantastic."

End-to-end stuff: Saudi Arabia and Mali provided the most exciting match of the group stage. The Saudis led 2-0 and 3-2 but came away empty-handed after Mohamed Camara won it for the Africans in time added on.

Fair play first and foremost: The above-mentioned midfielder Camara notched that dramatic winner, but before running off around the Gdynia Stadium to celebrate, he took the time to commiserate with inconsolable opponent Feras Albrikan of Saudi Arabia.

Mohamed Camara of Mali comforts Feras Albrikan of Saudi Arabia