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U.S. U-17 Men's National Team Looking to Advance Over Belgium


U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team
2007 FIFA Under-17 World Cup
Cheonan, South Korea
August 25, 2007


WELCOME TO CHEONAN: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team will play their final Group E match against Belgium on Sunday, Aug. 26 at 4 p.m. local time (3 a.m. ET), live on ESPNU and Galavision. The match will also be replayed at 12 p.m. ET on ESPNU. Fans can also follow along on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The team arrived in Cheonan on Friday after Thursday evening’s loss to Tunisia and trained Saturday at the Cheonan Sports Complex, site of Sunday’s match.

WIN AND WE’RE IN: After Saturday night’s results, the U.S. received some excellent news: a win against Belgium and the U.S. will earn a spot in the Round of 16. The three points against Belgium would give the USA, at a minimum, one of the four third-place spots that earn a spot in the second round (because of the USA’s superior number of goals scored and minimal goal differential after two tough losses). Because Nigeria and France both won in their Group D finales, Japan is the third place team in that group with three points, but the U.S. has the tiebreaker advantage on goals scored. In Group A, who finished play on Friday night, Korea Republic’s win means they are the third-place team in that group, and the U.S. would also have a tiebreaker advantage in goals scored. With four out of six third-place teams advancing, this means that all the U.S. needs is three points to pull ahead of those two third-place teams.
Complete U-17 Advancement Scenarios

THE COACH’S TAKE: U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Hackworth sat down for a revealing interview with ussoccer.com in South Korea. Hackworth talks openly about the first two games for his squad in the tournament, and what needs to change in order to be successful against Belgium. Check out highlights of the interview (watch) or listen to it in its entirety (listen).

DEPTH NOT LACKING: Through two games of the 2007 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, head coach John Hackworth has called upon 18 different players to take the field. With 14 different players starting at least one game, only goalkeepers Josh Lambo and Larry Jackson and midfielder Kirk Urso have not yet seen playing time.

U.S. Under-17 World Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Josh Lambo (Middleton, Wis.), Zac MacMath (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Larry Jackson (East Palo Alto, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): Sheanon Williams (Boston, Mass.), Mykell Bates (Roseville, Calif.), Tommy Meyer (St. Louis, Mo.), Chris Klute (Grand Prairie, Texas), Kofi Sarkodie (Huber Heights, Ohio), Brandon Zimmerman (Pasco, Wash.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Daniel Wenzel (Federal Way, Wash.), Jared Jeffrey (Dallas, Texas), Kirk Urso (Lombard, Ill.), Dane Shea (College Station, Texas), Gregory Garza (Grapevine, Texas), Brendan King (Naperville, Ill.), Alex Nimo (Portland, Ore.)
FORWARDS (5): Ellis McLoughlin (Seattle, Wash.), Bryan Dominguez (Atlanta, Ga.), Abdusalam Ibrahim (FC Dallas.), Billy Schuler (Allentown, N.J.), Daniel Cruz (Glendale, Ariz.)

USA ON ESPNU AND ESPN2: ESPNU has been providing live coverage of the USA during the U-17 World Cup, replaying the games in the afternoon in their exclusive English-language coverage of the World Cup. ESPNU and ESPN360.com will eventually combine to present all 52 matches. ESPNU will televise 23 matches total, including the championship on Sunday, Sept. 9 at 5:45 a.m. ET, while ESPN360.com will offer 29 matches from the round robin stage. Sunday’s match with Belgium will also be broadcast live in Spanish on Galavision.

U.S. FIFA U-17 World Cup Television Schedule
Date        Opponent     Time (ET)                    Venue              Result / TV
Aug. 20   Tajikistan      6:45 a.m./12 p.m.     Changwon       3-4 L
Aug. 23   Tunisia          3:45 a.m./12 p.m.     Changwon       1-3 L
Aug. 23   Belgium        2:45 a.m./12 p.m.     Cheonan          ESPNU / Galavision
Full World Cup Schedule

GROUP E STANDINGS: With six points through two games and control of Group E, Tunisia has assured themselves a place in the knockout stage. The rest of Group is wide open, and will not be determined until the final whistle of both games on Sunday. The two games, USA against Belgium and Tajikistan against Tunisia, will take place simultaneously at 4 p.m. local time. Tajikistan and Tunisia will battle in Suwon while Belgium and the U.S. match up in Cheonan. The U.S. still has a realistic chance at achieving second place in the group (needing a win, a Tajikistan loss, one of those games finishing by more than a one-goal margin, and the U.S. establishing a superior goal tally … trust us, that isn’t that far fetched and would only require 2-0 and 1-0 scorelines).

Group E Standings
Team         W   L    T   GF GA  GD Points
Tunisia      2    0    0    7     3    +4      6
Tajikistan  1    1    0    4     4     E       3
Belgium    1    1    0    3     4     -1      3
USA           0    2    0    4     7     -3      0
Complete Standings

INSIDER’S BLOG: Want to get all the scoop on what the U-17s are up to while in South Korea? Look no further than ussoccer.com’s U-17 MNT Blog, which will make it feel like you’re in the locker room, sitting at a team meal, sleeping at the hotel, riding on the team bus, training on the field with the team and, well, you get the picture.

Quick hits:

  • Billy Schuler’s 53rd minute goal against Tajikistan on Thursday night was his sixth of the year, adding to his team-leading total in 2007
  • Schuler also leads the team in caps this year with 19 coming into Sunday’s match
  • Jared Jeffrey scored his third goal of the year with his 90th minute penalty kick against Tunisia, to move to third on the team in goals scored this year, behind only Schuler and Ellis McLoughlin
  • The U.S. is 2-2-4 all-time against European teams in their previous 11 FIFA Under-17 World Cup appearances. The team most recently beat Italy, 3-1, in Peru 2005. The U.S. and Belgium have never met in the tournament.
  • Belgium played host to the UEFA Qualifying Tournament in 2007, advancing to the semifinals before falling to Spain in a penalty kick shootout
  • The U.S. has never met Tunisia at the Under-17 level, but the senior sides played to a 1-1 draw on March 12, 2000 in Birmingham, Ala. Ben Olsen scored the USA’s lone goal
  • Daniel Wenzel, Mykell Bates and Billy Schuler are the only three U.S. players to accumulate yellow cards during the team’s first two matches. Should they pick up another caution, they would have to sit out the team’s next game, should they advance to the knockout phase.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Belgium hosted the 2007 UEFA Under-17 World Cup Qualification earlier this year, therefore earning an automatic berth in the final round of qualification. Belgium opened its campaign with a draw with the Netherlands. They followed that up with a 5-1 win over Iceland and an impressive 1-1 draw with England, advancing the team to the semifinal round. There, Belgium fell to Spain in a penalty kick shootout, but secured their place in the finals as the fourth-place finisher in Europe.

Belgium Under-17 World Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jo Coppens (Racing Genk), Stefan Deloose (Lokeren), Nathan Goris (Lierse)
DEFENDERS (8): Dimitri Daeseleire (Racing Genk), Koen Hustinx (Racing Genk), Bryan Delvigne (Meux), Rudy Ngombo (Standard Liege), Cedric Guiro (Club Bruges), Manuel de Castris (Standard Liege), Maxim Geurden (Racing Genk), Koen Weuts (Lierse)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Sebastien Phiri (FC Brussels), Eden Hazard (Lille), Kerem Zevne (Racing Genk), Laurens Spruyt (Racing Genk)
FORWARDS (6): Guillaume Francois (Mouscron), Nill DePauw (Lokeren), Kevin Kis (Racing Genk), Maurizio Aquino (Racing Genk), Christian Benteke (Racing Genk), Jens Dyck (Club Bruges)


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