July 7, 2007

U-20 World Cup - Day 7 - Can the USA win it all?

USA 2-1 Brazil - A great win, with so many talking points. With a national TV audience watching on ESPN, the kids came through big time. This could be one of those games that helps soccer become a bigger item in the national landscape. To beat the legendary Brazilians (albeit at a youth level), on the top sports network in the country, is something to be proud of. The two biggest names in the future of the USMNT, Adu and Altidore, showed the promise that could make them fixtures on the senior team for years to come.

With the top spot in Group D and a Round of 16 matchup against a 3rd place team from either Group B, E or F secured, there could be trouble awaiting in the quarterfinals. If Portugal finishes 2nd in Group C behind Mexico, we could have a huge matchup on our hands. But fear not, faithful US fans. The three other teams I've seen that have played on the same level as the US (Chile, Argentina and Mexico) look like they'll all be placed in the other half of the bracket, and wouldn't meet the US until the finals, should they advance. Hopefully, we'll all be able to forget the disappointment of the U-17 team in 2005, the one that won their group, the one that beat Italy then unmercifully fell in the Round of 16 to the Netherlands.

Here are the highlights from last night's game, if you haven't seen them yet:

Poland 1-1 South Korea - With the opportunity to knock Brazil out of the tournament, the South Koreans couldn't come through, managing a 1-1 draw to finish bottom of Group D. Poland, on the other hand, managed to forget their 6-1 drubbing at the hands of the Americans earlier this week to finish in 2nd place and move into the Round of 16. That's no great reward, however, as they'll be playing Argentina in Toronto on Thursday.

Argentina 1-0 North Korea - The Argentines managed a win by the smallest margin on Friday, while also not conceding a goal for their third-straight game. The win hands them the top spot in Group E and leaves them alongside Chile and Nigeria as the only teams in the tournament that hasn't conceded a goal so far. El Kun Aguero's 35th minute goal gave the South Americans the win and also tied him with 3 Americans (Adu, Altidore and Szetela) as the tournament's leading scorer. The North Koreans, despite not winning a game and finishing with just two points, still have an outside shot at the Round of 16 after finishing 3rd in the group, but they must wait for other groups to play out and hope for some luck.

Czech Republic 2-1 Panama - The good news for Panama is that they don't leave Canada without scoring a goal, thanks to the gol de honor by Nelson Barahona in the 84th minute. But Czech goals in the 79th and 82nd minutes buried the Panamanians, who needed a win to have a shot at advancing. As it stands, the Czechs go through as the 2nd place team from Group E, where they'll play the 1st place team from Group F (either Japan or Nigeria) in Victoria on Wednesday.

Today's games

Group B - Burnaby and Victoria

Spain vs. Jordan - 2:15 p.m. EST - Burnaby
Uruguay vs. Zambia - 2:15 p.m. EST - Victoria

Group F - Victoria and Burnaby

Japan vs. Nigeria - 5 p.m. EST - Victoria
Scotland vs. Costa Rica - 5 p.m. EST - Burnaby

1 comment:

wilablog said...

Awesome game - the guys played great. I was on site, passing through on my summer vacation. Thought your readers might like some pictures I took at the game here