Jinjiang 2023 FISU University World Cup Football: scoreless start for defending champion

It was a windy day today in Jinjiang for the opening ceremony and official start of the FISU University World Cup Football. In the men's tournament, it was also a crucial day for the University of the Republic, from Uruguay, who was launching its campaign to defend the title won here four years ago.

Their first hurdle was the Spaniard team of Ramon Llull University, a wild card with ambitions. And this showed on the pitch. With two teams fully neutralising each other, the match was tight and rough. And scoreless. While both the defending champions and their today’s opponents have undeniable high technical skills, fluidity and classy actions are not what the 1150 spectators present in the Quanzhou Vocational and Technical University will remember.

With well organised defences easily defusing mostly timid attacking attempts, frank opportunities remained inexistant. Unlike persistent physicality which resulted in multiple fouls, five yellow cards, many play interruptions and a match that was anything but friendly.

However, at the end, both Uruguayan and Spanish players looked happy to have achieve what they were seemingly aiming for: not losing their initial match.

In the other matches, the Myongji University (KOR) combined solidity and speed to beat the Australians from Western Sydney University while Kenyatta University, despite having one less player following a red card received early in the match scored three goals in the last ten minutes to down the University of Split (CRO). Just after the Opening Ceremony, the host team of Hohai University edged past Uni la Matanza (ARG) thanks to a last minute penalty.

Results of the day:

University of the Republic (URU)-Ramon Llull University (ESP) 0-0

Myongji University (KOR)- Western Sydney University (AUS) 3-1 (1-1)

Kenyatta University (KEN)-University of Split (CRO) 4-2 (1-2)

Hohai University (CHN)-University of La Matanza (ARG) 1-0 (0-0)