A goal in each half from Bruno Gama ensured Portugal made a solid start to their FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign in Canada with victory against New Zealand, while Austria opened with a draw against African champions Congo.
Portugal are taking part in the tournament for the first time since 1999 and made the perfect start in Group C at the National Stadium in Toronto, FC Porto midfielder Bruno Gama – who will spend next season on loan at Vitória FC – opening the scoring on the stroke of half-time with a pinpoint free-kick. Victory was effectively assured a minute past the hour as the same player won a penalty following a sweeping Portugal team move, and converted at the second time of asking after being forced to retake the spot-kick due to encroachment.
'Try to do better'
Portugal coach José Couceiro, whose team next play a Mexico side who began their Group C campaign with a 3-0 defeat of Gambia in which FC Barcelona forward Giovanni Dos Santos opened the scoring, believes there is more to come from his team, saying: "We won the match and that's what we expected. We were the best team on the pitch and we had more quality. It's important to win the first match and we're happy we did, but we made some mistakes too and were lucky we were not punished. We'll try to do better in the next matches."
Austria, meanwhile, took a seventh-minute lead against Congo in Edmonton as prolific striker Erwin Hoffer turned in from close range after Sebastian Prödl's header had been parried, although Franchel Ibara levelled 14 minutes into the second period with a twice-taken penalty. Austria were fortunate to escape with a point as defender Michael Madl sliced against his own crossbar in the closing stages, while goalkeeper Michael Zaglmair produced two crucial saves to preserve a point.
Hosts Canada, who lost 3-0 to Chile in Group A on Sunday, are the next opponents on 5 July for Paul Gludovatz's side with the Austria coach quietly happy with his side's start: "My thanks go to all the fans who made it possible for us to play in such a great atmosphere," he said. "I'm proud my team gave a good impression of themselves and left their 'business card' here."
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