Ecuador achieved their best-ever finish at a FIFA U-20 World Cup on Friday by defeating Italy 1-0 in extra time of the third-place match at Gdynia Stadium.
The two sides entered the game with contrasting strategies: Ecuador’s Jorge Celico made just one change from his semi-final starting line-up while Italy’s Paolo Nicolato made six, opting to bench standouts Andrea Pinamonti and Alessandro Plizzari.
Following a tense opening period, La Tricolor began to dominate in the second half. Leonardo Campana came closest to the opener in the 56th minute when his long-distance strike pinged the far post.
Gli Azzurrini won a penalty less than five minutes into the first period of extra time but Moises Ramirez stretched to his left to save Marco Olivieri’s attempt, keeping the match scoreless.
Nine minutes later Ecuador took advantage of the lifeline Ramirez provided. Olivieri’s attempted clearance of a free-kick fell directly in front of Richard Mina at the far post, and the Ecuadorian defender tucked the ball into the net for the match-winning goal.