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U.S. U-20 MNT Face Italy in Second Round of FIFA World Youth Championship


U.S. Under-20 MNT Notes
Enschede, Holland
June 20, 2005

ITALY AWAITS: Three days after winning Group D at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will be looking to secure their second straight quarterfinal appearance in the competition when they face Italy on Tuesday, June 21 at Arke Stadium in Enschede, Holland. Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. local time/11:30 a.m. ET and fans can follow the match live on Fox Sports World or online at ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The match will also be broadcast same day delay on Galavision at 7 p.m. ET/PT. The team conducted training sessions at the comfortable surroundings at Rigtersbleek on Sunday evening and Monday morning, everyone looking healthy and energized for their Round of 16 match-up.

DOWN TO 16: Eight of the 24 teams involved in the FIFA World Youth Championship have headed home as the competition moves to the second round, leaving a number of interesting Round of 16 match-ups. One side of the bracket looks to be a bit more challenging as big names such as Spain, Argentina, Columbia, Turkey and Brazil will be pit against each other for a chance to meet in the final. The U.S. is on the other end and, along with Italy, could possibly face Morocco, Japan, Chile, Nigeria, Ukraine or the Netherlands on their path to the final.
2005 World Youth Championship
Round of 16
Dates      No.  Match-up                       Location             Time
June 21   37    USA vs. Italy                  Enschede           5:30 p.m. local/11:30 a.m. ET
June 21   38    Morocco vs. Japan          Enschede           8:30 p.m. local/2:30 p.m. ET
June 21   39    Brazil vs. Syria               Tilburg                5:30 p.m. local/11:30 a.m. ET
June 21   40    China vs. Germany         Tilburg                8:30 p.m. local/2:30 p.m. ET
June 22   41    Nigeria vs. Ukraine         Doetinchem         5:30 p.m. local/11:30 a.m. ET
June 22   42    Netherlands vs. Chile      Doetinchem         8:30 p.m. local/2:30 p.m. ET
June 22   43    Colombia vs. Argentina   Emmen               5:30 p.m. local/11:30 a.m. ET
June 22   44    Spain vs. Turkey            Emmen                8:30 p.m. local/2:30 p.m. ET
Quarterfinals
June 24   45    W38 vs. W37                Utrecht                 5:30 p.m. local/11:30 a.m. ET
June 24   46    W40 vs. W39                Tilburg                  8:30 p.m. local/2:30 p.m. ET
June 25   47    W41 vs. W42                Kerkrade              3:30 p.m. local/9:30 a.m. ET
June 25   48    W43 vs. W44                Enschede             8:30 p.m. local/2:30 p.m. ET
Semifinals
June 28   49    W46 vs. W48                Utrecht                 5:30 p.m. local/11:30 a.m. ET
June 28   50    W45 vs. W47                Kerkrade              8:30 p.m. local/2:30 p.m. ET
Third Place Match
July 2      51    L49 vs. L50                   Utrecht                5 p.m. local/11 a.m. ET
Final
July 2      52    W49 vs. W50                Utrecht                8 p.m. local/2 p.m. ET

FIRST ROUND BLANKING: Before the start of the 2005 competition only nine teams had gone through the first round of play without allowing a single goal, but the U.S., Colombia and Brazil all had back-to-back-to-back shutouts in group play to up the number to 12 overall. This is the first time since the 1991 tournament that more than one team pulled off the feat, as that year Australia, Portugal and Spain snagged three straight shutouts.
Zero Goals Allowed in First Round
Year         Team
2005         USA, Colombia, Brazil
2003         Burkina Faso  
1995         Brazil   
1991         Australia, Portugal, Spain
1989         Iraq
1983         Argentina
1981         Uruguay
1979         Uruguay

TALKING ABOUT ITALY: Hear what U.S. Under-20 head coach Sigi Schmid has to say the day before taking on Italy in the Round of 16 in the World Youth Championship here in Holland. Click here for the exclusive ussoccer.com podcast. Coach Schmid’s insight on the second-round matchup are also available as text. Click here to read what he had to say.

FEILHABER NAMED ONE OF FIFA'S FOURTEEN NUGGETS: U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team midfielder Benny Feilhaber was named one of the top fourteen performers of the first round by Fifa.com. Feilhaber is one of three players (along with Patrick Ianni and Hunter Freeman) for the U.S. to start and play 90 minutes for all three first round matches. The U-20s defeated Egypt last Saturday 1-0 to win their group, which many considered the Group of Death, with seven points. Feilhaber joins other World Youth Championship standouts such as Oleksandr Aliiev of Ukraine who has scored five goals in three matches. The team will face Italy on June 21.

ALL_ACCESS VIDEO - ITALY PREVIEW: The U.S. has once again made it to the second round of the FIFA World Youth Championship and their reward for winning Group D is a matchup against italy. See what the U.S. U-20 team had to say about their game against the Azzuri in the latest All_Access video, brought to you exclusively by ussoccer.com. Check back later to view the video.

AUDIO DIARY PART V: The always entertaining audio diary from the U.S. midfield duo of Benny Feilhaber and Sacha Kljestan has provided their fifth installment from the players’ hotel in Holland. In the latest installment, which will be available later today, the duo talks about winning Group D, taking on Italy in the second round and whatever else is on their mind. Log back on to ussoccer.com's Podcasting page later to hear what they had to say.

NEED TO SCORE: While the U.S. defense has been sparkling, the offense has been lagging a bit with only two goals scored in three games. The two goals ties for the second least amount a U.S. team has scored during opening round play of a World Youth Championship as they got two past opposing teams in Chile ’87 and Malaysia ’97 as well. The least amount of goals scored in opening round play was in their first-ever WYC appearance in Australia ’81.

DEFENSIVE GROUP: Group D’s nickname as the “Group of Death” was fitting, as it was where shot attempts went to die. A grand total of only seven goals were scored during the six matches between Argentina, Egypt, Germany and the U.S. Despite lagging behind the tournament average of 1.87 goals per match in the first round, the fans couldn’t complain as over 56,000 people got the chance to see exciting soccer and some of the most famous rising stars such as Lionel Messi, Freddy Adu and Michael DeLura.
 
MAKING IT A HABIT: By advancing to the Round of 16, the U.S. is making their seventh straight appearance in the second round in 10 attempts. The U.S. were eliminated after group play in their first three World Youth Championships, getting bounced in Australia ’81, Mexico ’83 and Chile ’87. Out of the seven appearances in the second round, the U.S. has only won their next match two times. The U.S. defeated Iraq 2-1 at Saudi Arabia ’89 to move on to the semifinals (then the tournament was just 16 teams), before falling to Nigeria 2-1 in overtime in the semifinals and finishing in fourth place, the best finish ever for a U.S. squad. The other instance was two years ago in UAE as the U.S. defeated Ivory Coast 2-0, before falling in their next match in overtime to Argentina 2-1 and finishing in fifth place. 

REST OF CONCACAF: While the U.S. has been impressive at the WYC, the other three CONCACAF representatives (Canada, Honduras and Panama) did not fair as well. The three teams combined for a 0-8-1 record, with Canada the only team to get a point by drawing 1-1 with Syria. Honduras will finish in last place of the 24-team tournament as they finished with zero goals for and 15 against.

UEFA CHALLENGE: The U.S. has faced UEFA teams 12 times in the World Youth Championship (never against Italy), coming away with only three wins, seven losses and two draws. In those matches, the U.S. has scored 13 goals, while allowing 16.

A WINNING CHANGE: Before head coach Sigi Schmid took over the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, the team had compiled a 2-4-4 international record with 12 goals for and 12 against. Since then, Schmid has led the U.S. to a 13-1-1 record with 25 goals scored and just five against. The team’s only loss was to South Korea in South Korea earlier this March.

MOVING ON UP: The U.S. has now played 39 matches in FIFA World Youth Championship competitions, good enough for sixth most in the world. Only Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Uruguay, and Australia have played more games. The U.S. has 14 victories in those 39 matches, good enough for 10th place overall.
 
ITALY MINUS ONE: The U.S. will have everyone available against Italy as no one picked up more than one yellow card in the first round of play. The U.S. is actually the second to last in the number of cautions it has received so far with just Eddie Gaven, Marvell Wynne, Freddy Adu and Brad Evans getting booked. Italy, on the other hand, was booked nine times and will be without midfielder Christian Agnelli, who picked up his second caution against Canada and is forced to miss the match against the U.S.

ITALIAN IANNI: U.S. defender Patrick Ianni told reporters that this game will be interesting for him as he has a 75 percent Italian background. His grandparents are from Milan and Turin and he grew up an Italian soccer fan, cheering for AC Milan. “When I found out we were playing Italy I thought it was cool because of my background. It will be interesting, but the truth is it doesn’t really matter who we play really at this point. We just want to win.”

IRON MEN: Four U.S. players have played all 270 minutes during the first round of play: Defenders Patrick Ianni and Hunter Freeman, midfielder Benny Feilhaber and goalkeeper Quentin Westberg.

ALL ABOUT ITALY
PATH TO ROUND OF 16: Italy is probably the biggest surprise in the Round of 16, but only because they lost their first two games in Group E, falling 2-0 to Colombia and them getting shocked in a 2-1 loss to Syria. In their third and final group match, the Italians defeated Canada 4-1 to give them three points, but more importantly the four goals improved their goal differential to zero, good enough to secure them a third place position. The Italians did it in impressive fashion as well, getting their final tally in the final minute, Raffaele De Martino scoring in the 90th minute. Now, Italy will be looking to make an improbable comeback last more than just one match.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Similar to the entrance into the second round, Italy made it to the FIFA World Youth Championship through the back door. Their best performance in the preliminary round for the European Championships was against Czech Republic when an equalizing goal ensured they progressed. Once at the final qualifying tournament, Italy started slow as they drew with Switzerland and fell to Ukraine, but they were able to trounce Belgium 4-0 to finish in third place and secure a spot at the WYC.

THE SQUAD:
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Emiliano Viviano (Cesena), 12-Fabio Virgili (Parma), 21-Daniele Padelli (Sampdoria Genoa)
DEFENDERS (7): 2-Lino Marzoratti (Milan), 3-Andrea D’Agostino (Foggia), 5-Andrea Coda (Empoli), 6-Michele Canini (Sambenedettese), 13-Francesco Battaglia (Torino), 14-Palmiro Di’Dio (Ternana), 15-Antonio Aquilanti (Fiorentina);
MIDFIELDERS (8): 4-Antonio Nocerino (Catanzaro), 7-Marino Defendi (Atalanta Bergamo), 8-Lorenzo Carotti (Como), 10-Michele Troiano (Modena), 11-Daniele Galloppa (Triestina), 16-Simone Bentivoglio (Juventus Turin), 17-Faffaele De Martino (Bellinzona), 18-Cristian Agnelli** (Catanzaro);
FORWARDS (3): 9-Graziano Pelle (Catania), 19-Francesco Nieto (Piacenza), 20-Giuseppe Cozzolino (Lecce).
** ineligible for match vs. U.S.

LONG ABSENCE: This is the Italian’s first appearance in a FIFA World Youth Championship in 18 years, with their last showing coming in 1987. Before Holland ’05, Italy had been in only three competitions (’77, ’81 and ’87), compiling a modest 2-5-3 record. Their best performance came in 1987 when they reached the quarterfinals before losing 1-0 to host Chile.

TOP PLAYER: Andrea Coda is big, tall defender and one of Italy’s defensive pillars, who combines physical strength with great speed and anticipation. Called pure talent by Empoli coach Mario Somma, Juventus quickly snatched up the defender. If the U.S. struggles to find the back of the net, look for Coda to be around the ball often and making life difficult for the U.S. forwards. On the offensive side, Graziano Pelle showed a scoring touch with two strikes against Canada and Daniele Galloppa showed flair with his overheard kick as well.

LAST TIME OUT: The last time the U.S. Under-20s and Italy met was on Aug. 26, 2002 at the L’Alcudia International Tournament in Spain. The U.S. won the match 2-1 behind goals from Eddie Johnson and Devin Barclay. A thunderstorm and hailstorm halted just an hour prior to kick-off, turning the playing field into a large wet, sloppy mess, and making parts of the field nearly unplayable. The match was a physical affair and a frustrated Italian team committed 28 fouls, received 13 cards and saw two players and their head coach ejected. For the full game report, click here.

 

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