- Ukraine are narrow favorites in Poland
- Both teams began as big underdogs
- It has been a tournament of upsets and surprises
Ukraine are the favorites to win the FIFA U-20 World Cup final against South Korea as the tournament of the underdogs reaches its extraordinary climax in Poland on Saturday, June 15th at 12:00 p.m. ET.
Neither team were even rated to get past the group stage when the competition kicked off on May 23rd and neither has won it before.
Ukraine vs South Korea Odds
|Ukraine||pk,-½ +101||+130||Ov 2 +105|
|South Korea||pk,+½ -121||+210||Un -125|
Odds taken 06/12/19.
Now the Ukrainians are tipped at +130 to win the final after their upset defeat of Italy in the semifinal. After South Korea’s surprising victory against Ecuador in the last four, they are ranked at +210. The draw after 90 minutes looks promising at +193.
FIFA Under-20 World Cup semi-finals ⚽️🏆
🇺🇦 Ukraine 1 🇮🇹 Italy 0
🇪🇨 Ecuador 0 🇰🇷 Korea Republic 1
Both the Ukraine and Korea are through to the final for the first time ever!
But Italy were furious about a 92nd minute VAR call. https://t.co/LwpWbjBEGs
— SBS – The World Game (@TheWorldGame) June 11, 2019
There have been shocks since the early stages of the three-week , 24-team event with none of the six most favored nations beforehand progressing beyond the round of 16.
Six Top Teams Fell Before Quarterfinals
France, Poland, Portugal, Argentina, Nigeria, and Uruguay all failed even to make the last eight. The pattern of surprises continued all the way through until the semifinals.
Ukraine were underdogs at +205 in their last-four clash with Italy, who were rated at +133.
— 247News.Africa (@247newsafrica) June 12, 2019
But a second-half goal from Serhii Buletsa secured a surprise 1-0 win in Gdynia for the Eastern Europeans on Tuesday.
A winner late in the first-half from South Korea’s Choi Jun and some brave defending late in the game earned them a 1-0 win in Lublin.
Similarly, the South Koreans were seen as +230 underdogs in their semi-final against Ecuador, who were seen as +100 favorites. But a winner late in the first-half from Choi Jun and some brave defending late in the game earned them a 1-0 win in Lublin.
Ukraine vs South Korea Statistical Comparison
Ukraine shares a border with Poland and they have been one of the best supported teams at the competition. This could be a factor at the final as they will have the backing of a large contingent in the crowd.
However, the Koreans have a large following, too, which should ensure a crackling atmosphere fitting for such a prestigious occasion.
Ukraine’s defensive strength is also likely to be important. They have conceded only three goals in their six matches. They have won five and drawn one of those games.
Both Teams Began Outside Bookies’ Top 10
Neither Ukraine nor South Korea were among the top-ten favorites at the start of the tournament.
— ST Sports Desk (@STsportsdesk) June 12, 2019
France were the favorites with neither Ukraine nor the Koreans even fancied above 10th-rated Senegal, who started out at + 2100.
Ukraine began their campaign in Group D rated as third favorites to progress at +250 behind USA and Nigeria.
But they defeated the Americans 2-1 in the opening game. That was followed by a 1-0 win against Qatar and a 1-1 draw with Nigeria which meant they finished top of the section.
South Korea pulled off a shocking 2-1 win against Argentina to finish second in the group.
South Korea were also rated only as third in Group F at +275 behind Argentina and Portugal.
After a 1-0 opening defeat by the Portuguese, they defeated unfancied South Africa 1-0. They then pulled off a shocking 2-1 win against Argentina to finish second in the group.
Panama and Japan Defeated in Last 16
In the last 16, Ukraine overcame Panama with a 4-1 win. South Korea defeated Japan 1-0.
By the time the tournament reached the last eight, both finalists had edged into the top 10 most favored sides.
🇺🇦 @FFUKRAINE's cohesiveness has them in their maiden #U20WC final & No10 Serhii Buletsa is at the heart of it all 💙💛
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) June 12, 2019
Ukraine were rated as the sixth most likely winners at +900. South Korea were 10th at +1000, with Italy then installed as favorites at +275.
But the Ukrainians then sprang another surprise with a 1-0 last eight win against Colombia, who had been made third favorites at that stage.
There was a thrilling game in the last eight for the Koreans when they drew 3-3 after extra-time with Senegal.
The Africans had been made second favorites to lift the trophy at that point at +450. But the Korean underdogs won the penalty shoot-out 3-2.
New Winner of Competition
The make-up of the last four ensures there will be a new winner of the competition. And the upsets continued as Ukraine overcame the Italians and Ecuador succumbed to South Korea.
Did you know #U20WC goalkeeper Lee Gwangyeon started out as a right-back?
We're sure 🇰🇷 @thekfa fans are pleased with where he ended up 😉
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) June 12, 2019
The Asian team have scored eight times and conceded five goals – discounting the penalty shoot-out .
The third place play-off match between Italy and Ecuador will take place on Friday in Gdynia on June 14th at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Pick: Draw +193
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