Published on : Monday, June 15, 2015
Unbeaten Germany sailed through to the quarters with a win over Nigeria; USA downed Colombia 1-0 in Auckland, while five-time FIFA U-20 champions Brazil booked their place with a nail-biting 5-4 victory over fellow South Americans Uruguay.
Auckland’s North Harbour Stadium will play host to the USA v Serbia quarter final clash. The tournament has been a dream come true for Tab Ramos’ team who’ve made the knockout rounds of the FIFA U-20 World Cup for the first time since 2007.
The USA have played the majority of their games in Auckland – New Zealand’s largest city – and the city, which has really embraced the tournament, will no doubt be feeling like a home away from home for the young squad.
Rated as the third most liveable city in the world, Auckland is home to one third of New Zealanders including the world’s largest Polynesian population – a thriving multi-cultural mix infusing colour and diversity into the cuisine, music, art and culture. Perched on a narrow isthmus between two harbours, life in Auckland revolves around the sea and the sub-tropical climate promotes the ease and enjoyment of casual coastal living, outdoor adventure and activity.
The Auckland region’s diversity of people and place adds scope to the experience and within half-an-hour of the fashionable boutiques and cafés of downtown Auckland visitors can be sipping wine at an island vineyard, hiking through rainforest or walking along a black sand beach on the rugged west coast.
After spending most of their playing time in the FIFA host city of New Plymouth – where the team enjoyed learning about local Maori culture and meeting with some of their younger fans – Brazil will now head to the city of Hamilton to face Portugal in a mouth-watering match-up.
Hamilton, in the Waikato region, is sure to put on a massive show of support for the players as they take to the pitch at Waikato Stadium to decide their fate for the semi-finals of the tournament.
Hamilton Waikato is a fertile region of gentle plains, pastoral scenes and rolling hills that conceal vast underground networks of limestone caves filled with glowworms and some of the best caving in New Zealand. The Waikato region is also home to Hobbiton Movie Set – brought to life on the big-screen by New Zealand director Sir Peter Jackson in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies.
Away from the film-star good looks and the natural wonders of the region, Hamilton has transformed itself into one of the country’s most liveable cities with a vibrant sports and entertainment scene.
Germany have sailed through the knock-out stages of the FIFA U-20 World Cup virtually unscathed meaning they’ve also had time to get out and explore the South Island city of Christchurch, their home for much of the tournament.
Heading just one hour west of Christchurch, Germany enjoyed the thrills and spills of the rugged Rakaia Gorge for an action packed jet boat trip up the river with Discovery Jet before switching sporting codes for the afternoon with a leisurely round of golf, clay-bird shooting and archery at the picturesque Terrace Downs Resort, a world-class tourist resort at the foothills of the Southern Alps.
Christchurch is a city of art, culture and inspirational storytellers that also serves as a gateway to fun-filled South Island adventures. It has an international airport and is within a couple of hours by road to several major regional destinations.
Dominated by New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook (3,754m), and surrounded by the Southern Alps, a chain of mountains bigger than its European namesake – Canterbury is a place of vast spectacular landscapes offering diverse outdoor nature pursuits and thrilling adventures.
On the go visitors can ski down awe-inspiring slopes, play golf on world-class courses, take to the water (swimming, surfing, windsurfing, jet-boating or white-water rafting) or pedal along stunning cycle trails then relax with winning wines at beautiful vineyards, wander outstanding gardens or soak cares away in an alpine spa.
Rounding off the quarter-finals, Uzbekistan will take on Senegal in New Zealand’s capital city.
Wellington Regional Stadium – the home ground of New Zealand’s only professional football team, the Wellington Phoenix – is a sublime place to catch some footballing action, and this tantalising match-up is sure to draw some colourful crowds.
Wellington is a lively city, proud of its arts and culture, café scene, and a dramatic harbour setting.
Lonely Planet has described Wellington as the ‘coolest little capital in the world’. And, while it’s not the largest city in New Zealand, there’s a lively energy pulsing through the town that promotes itself as the national centre of arts, coffee, craft beer, film and politics.
Wellington is home to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Royal New Zealand Ballet, as well as national treasures including the original Treaty of Waitangi – New Zealand’s founding document. The city is also a creative hub for New Zealand’s booming film industry.
Built on the edge of a wide harbour and steep surrounding hills, visitors don’t have to go far from central Wellington for nature and wildlife experiences such as Zealandia – an amazing suburban sanctuary, or nearby Kapiti Island.