Argentina's Federico Fazio (back) and Mexico's Giovanni Dos Santos compete for the ball during their quarter final match at the FIFA U-20 World Cup soccer tournament in Ottawa, July 15, 2007. (Photo : REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)
Group B will get going first with Mexico vs. South Korea followed by Gabon vs. Switzerland. Which team has the edge in their respective match? Here is a breakdown for each battle.
9:30 a.m. ET (2:30 p.m. Newcastle) - Mexico vs. South Korea
12:15 p.m. ET (5:15 p.m. Newcastle) - Gabon vs. Switzerland
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Mexico Vs. Korea Republic
The Mexicans are top contenders for the Gold and were the CONCACAF winners in qualifications. They are squad that is deep in all four zones and have extra firepower up top with the addition of superstar Giovanni Dos Santos. Look for Dos Santos to have a huge tournament as he has already proven himself with the senior club in a number of big tournaments. Marco Fabian is another one to keep an eye on as he has shown flashes of offensive brilliance in qualifying.
|Giovani DOS SANTOS|
|TENA Luis Fernando|
Korea Republic qualified with three wins and three draws in six matches. The team has a strong offense led by Arsenal striker Park Chuyoung who has played in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups for the Koreans. In 59 appearances for the club, the striker has scored 25 times and is tied for 7th on the all time list for the squad. Ji Dongwon, Kim Bo-Kyung, and Koo Ja-Choel will also add support to the strong Korean offense. Defense for the Korea is rather solid with the exception of a few injuries, but the team should be able to put up a good battle with its speedy offensive talent.
|HONG Myung Bo|
Prediction: 3-2 Mexico. This will be a fast and furious up and down affair with the teams playing wide open initially as they get accustomed to the play. Dos Santos and Fabian will have huge games for Mexico and will ultimately be the difference makers.
Switzerland vs. Gabon
The Swiss won their group with three wins in three games. They scored six goals in those matches and gave up no goals, a reminder of this team's incredible commitment to defense under coach Tami Pierluigi. They followed it up with a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic before conceding their only two goals in a 2-0 loss to Spain. Goalkeeper Diego Benaglio, who has experience in the 2010 World Cup, will lend some experience to a rather youthful club. Switzerland is on the rise and will be a tough matchup in this tournament.
Gabon is the mystery squad of the tournament. They got through the group stage in the qualifying tournament with one win, one loss, and one tie. Then they turned it up in the knockout rounds with a win over Senegal and then a championship win over Morocco. The team got goals from six different players including a brace from Emmanuel Ndong Mba in their win over Ivory Coast. That was their victory in any international tournament. They have never won a CAF African Cup of Nations and have never qualified for the World Cup. This marks their first appearance at the Olympic Games and the team's chance to make its name known on the international stage.
|Anthony MFA MEZUI|
Prediction: 2-0 Switzerland. The Swiss will shut down Gabon and capitalize on strong opportunities.