Venezuela’s second Group B game of the 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup saw them slaughter Oceania’s Vanuatu. Below are video highlights, a brief summary of the match and, most importantly, @DarrenSpherical‘s armchair talent-tracking…
(Source: Wikipedia – Check here for all other results, fixtures and standings)
Venezuela 7-0 Vanuatu
2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, Group B, 23 May 2017 (YouTube)
Despite Vanuatu managing to give Mexico a scare in their opening game, they were easily routed by Rafael Dudamel’s men who, following the draw in the other Group B match, have now already booked their place in the knock-out stages.
Venezuela were close to going in front within a minute, but instead had to wait until the half-hour mark to get things underway when, from a well-worked free-kick, Adalberto Peñaranda crossed to the back post for Williams Velásquez to head home. The second came 12 minutes later when, following a defender’s header into his direction, Sergio Córdova nodded into the net from close range. His goal had initially been ruled offside but after some video-assisted double-checking, he was allowed to belatedly reel away in celebration.
Less than a minute after the restart, slim hopes of another Vanuatu comeback attempt were all but eradicated as the dazzling Peñaranda struck a low effort in to make it 3-0. Ten minutes later, Venezuela won a penalty and, of all people, goalkeeper Wuilker Fariñez – who again didn’t have a save of note to make all game – stepped up to make it four. Things were indeed rather comfortable for La Vinotinto‘s youngsters, leading Dudamel to gradually make alterations, which allowed some of his top performers a spot of rest. This didn’t change the complexion of the game and thus the fifth goal arrived after 73 minutes when Ronaldo Lucena’s fine chipped ball was controlled and struck home by Córdova, who notched his third of the competition. Then, some nine minutes later, two substitutes combined as Yeferson Soteldo jinked into the area from the left, before pulling the ball back for 17-year-old Jan Hurtado to knock in for sixth. Lastly, shortly before the referee showed mercy on the Pacific Islanders, Venezuela scored the seventh after Eduin Quero’s low ball was dummied by Hurtado in the centre and then tapped in by the final substitute, Samuel Sosa. All in all, it was a comprehensive drubbing and one which may allow at least a few of this talented group of players to conserve some energy before the do-or-die phase gets underway.
For the second successive game, right-sided attacker Sergio Córdova (No. 19, Caracas FC) was undoubtedly a man of the match contender, with his two goals now making him the tournament’s outright topscorer with three. For the time being at least, his performances have elevated him into the top echelon of the most important players in La Vinotinto‘s Under-20 set-up, something that in qualifying he was perhaps more on the fringes of. His first goal here was a decent, alert, close-range header after a corner was first nodded into a cluster of players, before one defender diverted it into the direction of the Caracas man. His effort may have initially been ruled out but, despite being made to wait at least a minute for the referee to change his decision via the aid of video technology, that could not stop him from celebrating plane-like as if there had been no delay in proceedings. His second, which came in the 73rd minute just after he had struck the outside of the post, was particularly well-taken, with a dinked ball finding him in the area – this he controlled and then poked home with aplomb.
Otherwise, Córdova was often involved in his side’s attacks and, had some of his team-mates shown more composure, could well have also had at least a couple of assists to his name. Indeed, shortly before his second goal, he played in Ronaldo Chacón (No. 11, Caracas FC), but despite the latter – who was never far away from the action himself but may be a little disappointed not to have got on the scoresheet – being virtually one-on-one, his shot was too close to the goalkeeper.
Furthermore, much earlier than this with just a minute on the clock, Córdova also did well to win some space on the right before firing a fine low cross into the area, yet the chance that he created was sliced badly wide by Ronaldo Peña (No. 9, Las Palmas Atlético). Regarding the latter, his heroics against Germany aside, here he was to display more evidence that he is better off providing support, rather than rounding off moves. Indeed, as well as this miss, later on in the early stages of the second half, he also had a one-on-one of his own yet, like Chacón would later do, gifted the goalkeeper a comfortable save. On the plus side, however, just before this, he sprayed a fine pass forward with the outside of his right boot for a team-mate to get the third goal.
This was, of course, the man who had actually set up Peña for his second notable miss: Adalberto Peñaranda (No. 7, Málaga, on loan from Watford). He finished this off with a clinical left-footed strike inside the area and, overall, was to rival Córdova as the leading attacking threat. This occurred at the beginning of the 15 minutes following the restart, during which he often looked almost unplayable as he ran the show dribbling infield from the left. As well as scoring in this period, he also caused plenty of other problems, such as provoking a low save as well as teeing up some team-mates – one of whom hit the bar from the edge of the area. Upon the hour-mark, Dudamel opted to end his reign of terror over the Vanuatu back-line, some of whom had also been bamboozled by him in the first half, when he ran into space on the left, before crossing for centre-back Williams Velásquez (No. 2, Estudiantes de Caracas, soon-to-be Udinese, on loan from Watford) to head home at the back post.
Also receiving some credit for this goal has to be Ronaldo Lucena (No. 16, Zamora FC) who, from a free-kick on the left, initially colluded with Peñaranda, passing the ball upfield to him past some static defenders. The left-footed deep-lying midfielder was also the man who later received the Málaga-loanee’s ball and struck the top of the crossbar; he too was to be one of his side’s most influential players. Indeed, his crosses into the area – particularly from set-pieces – were a frequent threat; to list them all here would perhaps belabour the point, though suffice to say, they often left the Vanuatan defence jostling and scrambling with the Venezuelan attackers. Perhaps his most notable one was the corner which, after a few headers, led to Córdova’s first goal, though his greatest contribution overall was the beautiful chipped ball from open play on the inside-left for Córdova’s second.
His colleague in the centre of midfield, captain Yangel Herrera (No. 8, New York City FC, on loan from Manchester City) also had a solid game. He played a key role in ensuring that the back four had very little to do and was often responsible for initiating forward forays from his deep position. To give two examples: when he headed the ball onwards to Peña which ultimately led to Peñaranda’s goal, followed soon after by his pass forward for the subsequent chance missed by Peña. He also headed the ball back into the area to be diverted towards Córdova for the latter’s first goal as well as earlier stabbed an effort of his own from roughly ten yards out – this, the goalkeeper instinctively blocked for a corner.
One other attacking contribution of his was a 63rd-minute pass to Yeferson Soteldo (No. 10, Huachipato, Chile) who, from a promising position just inside the area, shot too close to the goalkeeper. This occurred just after the ex-Zamora man had come off the bench, replacing Peñaranda in a swap that would surely dishearten many other more experienced under-siege defences. His absence from the line-up may have been a bit of a surprise, but he was also initially left out of an early qualifying game against Bolivia and it’s quite possible that Dudamel simply wanted to keep him as fresh as possible for later encounters. Regardless, though he only had half an hour, he showcased his eye-catching dribbling abilities on two particular occasions: firstly, in the 72nd minute when he waltzed over towards the dee area, where he passed to Córdova who hit the post. Secondly, ten minutes later, when he danced along the left byline, before pulling it back for a team-mate to score the sixth.
This was Jan Hurtado (No. 13, Deportivo Táchira), who netted three goals at the CONMEBOL Under-17 tournament earlier this year and who also had a minor role in the final goal. Indeed, he dummied a low cross from left-back Eduin Quero (No. 3, Deportivo Táchira) to allow a tap-in by another 17-year-old – albeit, one who wasn’t part of either the Under-17 or the Under-20 qualifying campaigns – Samuel Sosa (No. 15, Deportivo Táchira).
Last but by no means least, congratulations are in order for Wuilker Fariñez (No. 1, Caracas FC) upon achieving the rare feat of becoming a goalscoring goalkeeper (even if – whisper it – his 56th-minute penalty was worryingly close to his opposite number who dived over it). Like his defence, he had virtually nothing to do up his own end and yet, as one of the most hyped players at the tournament in his position, the boy’s got to find some way to get noticed. Cue his inner striker – a role he previously played in at a younger level.
In the other Group B game played today, Germany drew 0-0 with Mexico, who will be Venezuela’s final group opponents on Friday 26 May 2017.
To keep up-to-date with the latest news on the South American nations at South Korea 2017, please follow @DarrenSpherical on Twitter and check back to Hispanospherical.com for match-by-match talent-tracking articles.