Saudi Arabia in Group F — Under 20 World Cup

FIFA Under-20 World Cup

SEOUL — Saudi Arabia was drawn in Group F with USA, Senegal and Ecuador for the Under-20 World Cup Football Championship here Wednesday.

Six-time winner Argentina was drawn to face old rival England and host South Korea in Group A.

The teams were drawn by Argentine stars Diego Maradona — who was on the winning team in 1979 and kissed the trophy as he brought it on stage in Suwon — and Pablo Aimar, a winner in 1997. The 24 participants were seeded into four pots, but as host South Korea was automatically put into slot A1, and football powerhouse Argentina found itself in pot 2.

Maradona — whose infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal set England on the way to elimination in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal — smiled wryly when he pulled his own country’s name from the bowl to join the host.

Minutes later, Aimar added England to the Group A mix, which also includes Guinea.

Neither the 2015 champions Serbia nor runner-up and five-times winner Brazil qualified for this year’s tournament. France, which took the trophy in 2013, will face New Zealand, Honduras and Vietnam in Group E. The tournament will be held from May 20 to June 11.


Group A: South Korea, Argentina, England, Guinea.
Group B: Germany, Mexico, Venezuela, Vanuatu.
Group C: Portugal, Costa Rica, Zambia, Iran.
Group D: Uruguay, Japan, Italy, South Africa.
Group E: France, New Zealand, Honduras, Vietnam.
Group F: USA, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador.

PSG sends letter to UEFA

Paris Saint-Germain has sent a letter of complaint to UEFA about the referee who oversaw their spectacular collapse to Barcelona, accusing him of ruining its Champions League campaign.

The Spanish champion’s historic win was overshadowed by a series of controversial calls from German referee Deniz Aytekin and he awarded them two penalties on the way to a 6-1 hammering last week to surge into the quarterfinals.

A source with knowledge of the letter confirmed Tuesday media reports about the dossier sent to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin; UEFA said that it had received a letter from PSG, giving no details of its content.

The source said that the letter was designed to “point out a series of errors” and “errors of judgement” by Aytekin.

Under-pressure PSG coach Unai Emery said in the aftermath of Barcelona’s miracle revival from a 4-0 first-leg deficit: “We had chances to make it 3-2 and then the refereeing decisions, I don’t know if they were right or not, but for sure they damaged us.”

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi was less forgiving. “The outcome of the match could have been different with more clear-sighted officiating,” he told Le Parisien newspaper at the weekend.

“Everyone saw that Angel Di Maria should have had a penalty that would have made the score 2-3 and kill any suspense. Not to mention that there was no penalty on (Luis) Suarez late in the game (which was awarded).”

Evergrande denied victory

Big-spending Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande was held to a 1-1 draw in the Asian Champions League Tuesday after conceding an injury-time penalty against Japanese team Kawasaki Frontale. Yu Kobayashi scored from the spot in the fifth minute of injury time at Tianhe Stadium after Yu Hanchao had handled in the area.

Thai club Muangthong United continued its impressive form to move second behind Kashima after a 0-0 draw at 2012 Asian champion Ulsan Horangi.

Esteghlal Khouzestan of Iran drew 1-1 at home with Lekhwiya of Qatar, the United Arab Emirates’ Al-Wahda and Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia played to a 2-2 draw at Abu Dhabi, and Al Fateh of Saudi Arabia beat Al Jazira of the United Arab Emirates 3-1.

At Doha, Al Rayyan of Qatar beat Persepolis of Iran 3-1 after Rodrigo Tabata scored twice and set up the other goal, moving Al-Rayyan to the top of Group D.