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U.S. U-20 Men to Play England, Japan and Cameroon in '99 FIFA World Youth Championship


CHICAGO (Friday, March 5, 1999) - At the final draw for the 10th FIFA World Youth Championship today in Abuja, Nigeria, the U.S. were drawn into Group E, and will face England (April 5), Japan (April 8), and Cameroon (April 11) in the tournament's opening round. The USA's opening match against England will be played in Kano, Nigeria, with the second and third matches to take place in Bauchi. The top two teams in each of the six opening groups, as well as the four best third-place teams, advance to the Round of 16.

"We've never been satisfied with just qualifying for this tournament," said U-20 head coach Sigi Schmid from the tournament draw. "We feel confident in our own abilities, but also know that we will be facing three strong opponents in England, Japan and Cameroon."

The USA will begin its final preparations for the World Youth Championship later today in Ft. Lauderdale with a match versus Seleccion Haiti, one of the most successful club teams in South Florida, and recent winners of the 1999 Miami-area Copa Latina tournament. On Monday (March 8), the U.S. squad will depart for Morocco, where they will play the Moroccan U-20s in tuneup matches on March 10 and 13.

Of the USA's three, first-round opponents, England is the only team it has played in a previous World Youth Championship. The USA's 1993 squad dropped a 0-1 decision to England in Australia. Japan finished as runners-up in the Asian qualifying tournament, while Cameroon, who the U.S. will face in its final group match, finished fouth in the recently-concluded African Youth Championship.

The United States qualified for the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship by finishing first in CONCACAF Group A qualifying, which was played Aug. 3-7, 1998, in Trinidad. During the tournament, the U.S. tied Costa Rica (1-1) before soundly defeating Canada (5-1) and host Trinidad & Tobago (6-1).

Nigeria '99 marks the second consecutive World Youth Championship for the USA, which finishing 15th overall at the 1997 tournament in Malaysia. During Malaysia '97, the USA advanced out the most difficult first-round group, which included eventual semifinalists Ghana and Ireland, as well as China. In the Round of 16, the U.S. were defeated by tournament runner-up Uruguay, one of the surprises of the tournament.

The USA's best-ever finish in a World Youth Championship came in 1989 in Saudi Arabia. Behind the solid goalkeeping of Kasey Keller, who was voted the second best player in the tournament, the U.S. U-20s advanced to the semifinals, where a they were were defeated in extra time by Nigeria.

"U.S. Soccer has invested a great deal of effort and resources into this team, and we are going to do everything we can to prove ourselves," added Schmid. "This team has been together on a regular basis for more that a year now and we're all looking forward to playing in Nigeria."

Xth FIFA WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP
NIGERIA '99
Group A Group B Group C Group D Group E Group F
(Lagos) (Kaduna) (Ibadan) (Enugu) (Kano/Bauchi) (Calabar/Pt. Harcourt)
Nigeria Ghana Australia Uruguay Cameroon Zambia
Costa Rica Croatia Saudi Arabia Mali Japan Honduras
Germany Argentina Mexico South Korea England Spain
Paraguay Kazakhstan Ireland Portugal United States Brazil

Date No. Match Venue Local Time Eastern Time
4-3-99 1 Nigeria vs. Costa Rica Lagos 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
4-4-99 2 Germany vs. Paraguay Lagos 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
3 Ghana vs. Croatia Kuduna 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
4 Argentina vs. Kazakhstan Kuduna 7 p.m. 1 p.m.
5 Australia vs. Saudi Arabia Ibadan 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
6 Mexico vs. Ireland Ibadan 7 p.m. 1 p.m.
4-5-99 7 Uruguay vs. Mali Enugu 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
8 South Korea vs. Portugal Enugu 7 p.m. 1 p.m.
9 Cameroon vs. Japan Kano 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
10 England vs. United States Kano 7 p.m. 1 p.m.
11 Zambia vs. Honduras Calabar 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
12 Spain vs. Brazil Calabar 7 p.m. 1 p.m.
4-7-99 13 Nigeria vs. Germany Lagos 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
14 Costa Rica vs. Paraguay Lagos 7 p.m. 1 p.m.
15 Ghana vs. Argentina Kaduna 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
16 Croatia vs. Kazakhstan Kaduna 7 p.m. 1 p.m.
17 Australia vs. Mexico Ibadan 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
18 Saudi Arabia vs. Ireland Ibadan 7 p.m. 1 p.m.
4-8-99 19 Uruguay vs. South Korea Enugu 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
20 Mali vs. Portugal Enugu 7 p.m. 1 p.m.
21 Cameroon vs. England Kano 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
22 Japan vs. United States Bauchi 7 p.m. 1 p.m.
23 Zambia vs. Spain Calabar 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
24 Honduras vs. Brazil Port Harcourt 7 p.m. 1 p.m.
4-10-99 25 Nigeria vs. Paraguay Lagos 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
26 Costa Rica vs. Germany Lagos 7 p.m. 1 p.m.
27 Ghana vs. Kazakhstan Kaduna 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
28 Croatia vs. Argentina Kaduna 7 p.m. 1 p.m.
29 Australia vs. Ireland Ibadan 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
30 Saudi Arabia vs. Mexico Ibadan 7 p.m. 1 p.m.
4-11-99 31 Uruguay vs. Portugal Enugu 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
32 Mali vs. South Korea Enugu 7 p.m. 1 p.m.
33 Cameroon vs. United States Bauchi 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
34 Japan vs. England Bauchi 7 p.m. 1 p.m.
35 Zambia vs. Brazil Port Harcourt 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
36 Honduras vs. Spain Port Harcourt 7 p.m. 1 p.m. Distinction
4-14-99 37 C2 vs. A2 Kano 4 p.m. 10 a.m. (Winner 6)
38 B1 vs. 3rd A,C,D Kaduna 4 p.m. 10 a.m. (Winner 8)
39 A1 vs. 3rd C,D,E Lagos 7 p.m. 1 p.m. (Winner 1)
40 F2 vs. B2 Calabar 7 p.m. 1 p.m. (Winner 2)
4-15-99 41 E1 vs. D2 Bauchi 4 p.m. 10 a.m. (Winner 3)
42 F1 vs. E2 Port Harcourt 4 p.m. 10 a.m. (Winner 7)
43 C1 vs. 3rd A,B, F Ibadan 7 p.m. 1 p.m. (Winner 4)
44 D1 vs. 3rd B,E, F Enugu 7 p.m. 1 p.m. (Winner 5)
4-18-99 45 Wi 1 vs. Wi 2 Lagos 4 p.m. 10 a.m. (Winner A)
46 Wi 5 vs. Wi 6 Enugu 4 p.m. 10 a.m. (Winner C)
47 Wi 3 vs. Wi 4 Ibadan 7 p.m. 1 p.m. (Winner B)
48 Wi 7 vs. Wi 8 Kaduna 7 p.m. 1 p.m. (Winner D)
4-21-99 49 Wi C vs. Wi D Kaduna 4 p.m. 10 a.m.
50 Wi A vs. Wi B Lagos 7 p.m. 1 p.m.
4-24-99 51 Match for 3rd/4th Lagos 2 p.m. 8 a.m.
52 Championship Lagos 5 p.m. 11 a.m.

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