Mali's penalty-stopping hero Djigui Diarra

Mali’s penalty-stopping hero Djigui Diarra

Mali and Senegal, the two remaining African teams at the ongoing 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand, early on Sunday caused major upsets at the competition, qualifying for the semi-finals with wins over stronger opponents.

Mali defeated European soccer power house, Germany 4-3 on penalties after they tied 1-1 in regulation time in their quarter-final encounter in Christchurch.

On the other hand, Senegal made short work of Uzbekistan 1-0 in Wellington and qualified to meet Brazil, five-time winners (1953, 1985, 1993, 2003 and 2011), in the semi-finals.

Brazil have also been runners up thrice (1991, 1995 and 2009) and third-place finishers in 1977, 1989 and 2005. They defeated Portugal 3-1 on penalties after drawing 0-0 in regulation play on Sunday.

Mali will take on Serbia, which qualified after defeating the U.S., 6-5 on penalties following a 0-0 draw at full and extra times.

Nigeria and Ghana had earlier exited the competition in the round of 16. Ghana was beaten 3-0 by Mali and Nigeria was sent home 1-0 by Germany in that round.

While Senegal are rookies in this competition, Mali were bronze medalists in 1999.