Bahrain face the Republic of Ireland in their final Group C game knowing even a win won’t be enough to take them into the semi-finals (kick-off 2pm).
Samir Chammam’s side were eliminated following a 4-1 defeat to China on Thursday, despite having trailed 2-1 with 11 minutes to go.
First-half goals from Shan Huanhuan had given the Chinese a comfortable buffer but a penalty from Mohammed Al-Hardan set up a nervy finish.
Hu Jinghang struck shortly afterwards to restore China’s two-goal cushion, and Lin Liangming added a fourth in the final minute to keep China in contention.
Mexico had seen off the middle eastern side on matchday one with a simple 2-0 victory, goals from Ismael Govea and Jairo Torres settling it within the first ten minutes.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND U21s
The task facing Stephen Kenny’s side is simple: a win will be enough to earn a spot in the semi-finals; a win by an equal or greater margin to Mexico and do so as group winners.
It’s a significant carrot for a side who haven’t competed in the tournament in 17 years and, on the evidence of the two games to date, don’t look a step out of place.
A comfortable 4-1 victory over China on the opening day, thanks to goals from Zack Elbouzedi. Aaron Connolly and two from Adam Idah, put Ireland in a strong position.
Thursday’s meeting with group favourites Mexico proved to be a stalemate with two defensively solid sides cancelling each other out with few chances on either side.
The result suited both sides as it left each needing a win to guarantee a spot in the semi-finals, with Ireland’s result against China ensuring a better goal difference.
"We've done really well in the tournament but it isn't a surprise to me or anybody in the squad," Brighton & Hove Albion striker Connolly told the association’s website.
"We've got so much talent throughout the team and so many different types of players, and we're confident we can give anybody problems in any game.
"It was a fantastic start to the tournament and I got a lot of messages from back home which was great, it seems everybody is watching the tournament.
“We know what we've got to do and we're focused because to get into the semi-finals would be a great achievement."
Connolly was forced to drop to the bench for the game against Mexico after suffering illness during the week but Kenny has an otherwise full squad to choose from.
Referee: Alex Johnson
The Republic of Ireland and Bahrain have never faced one another at any level of competition.
Bahrain U23s 10/1; Draw 11/2; Republic of Ireland U21s 1/9.
Bahrain U23s 0 – 4 Republic of Ireland U21s
Republic of Ireland U21s