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."
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D||Group E||Group F|
|Costa Rica||Croatia||Saudi Arabia||Mali||Japan||Honduras|
|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.|