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U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team Goes Undefeated in Group C of 2005 FIFA World Championship With 1-1 Draw With Ivory Coast

  • U.S. Will Face the Netherlands in Quarterfinals in Trujillo on Monday, Sept. 26 at 4 p.m. CT
  • U.S. Wins Group for the Third Time in 11 FIFA U-17 World Championship Appearances
  • Quarterfinal Match Against the Netherlands Will Be Televised Live on Fox Soccer Channel

LIMA, Peru (September 23, 2005) - The U.S. Under-17 Men's National secured the top spot in Group C with a 1-1 draw with Ivory Coast this afternoon in front of 12,000 fans at Estadio Nacional in Lima, Peru. With a 2-0-1 record and seven points as champions of Group C, the U.S. will face the Netherlands in the quarterfinals on Monday, Sept. 26. The U.S. took an early lead when Jeremy Hall headed home from six yards, but Ivory Coast was able to pull out a late equalizer off a corner kick in the 87th minute to earn their only point of the competition.

After securing the group, the U.S. had to wait until the two games from Group D were finished to find out that they will meet the Netherlands in their quarterfinals. Kickoff for the match is 4 p.m. CT and will be televised live on Fox Soccer Channel. Fans can also follow the match live on's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The U.S. will travel to Trujillo on Saturday morning to prepare for their quarterfinal match.

The Netherlands finished second in Group D after defeating Gambia 2-0 in their final group match. Brazil, Gambia and the Netherlands all finished with six points, but Brazil finished atop the group with a +5 goal differential, while the Netherlands took second at +3 and Gambia was left on the outside looking in at +2.

This is the third time in 11 FIFA U-17 World Championship appearances that the U.S. has won their group and gone undefeated in group play. The U.S. didn’t lose a game in the first round during the 1991 tournament in Italy, and also went 2-0-1 during their best-ever fourth place finish in New Zealand ’99. The U.S. will make their second straight quarterfinals appearance and their fifth overall quarterfinals appearance in 11 Under-17 World Championships.

“The one thing we wanted to make sure of was that we came out with the same intensity as we did in the first two games,” said U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Hackworth, who increased his record in international play to 15-3-1. “We were able to do that real early and scored in the fourth minute, but from then on didn’t have enough of the ball. We didn’t posses it the way we are capable of doing.”

“At the end of the day we finished first in our group in a World Cup, so you can’t really be too down. Now we have to get prepared for a tough team in the Netherlands. We know we can play better and I expect we will in the quarterfinal.”

The U.S. got on the board early, scoring in a similar fashion to their opening goal of the tournament against North Korea. Deep along the left sideline, Amaechi Igwe threw the ball into penalty area where a succession of three headers found the back of the net. Preston Zimmerman got the first touch, knocking the ball into play, where Gabriel Farfan flicked it forward to Hall, who got the final header over the outstretched hands of Yves Andy from six yards out.

The goal was Hall’s fifth international strike of his U-17 career and the fourth in his last six appearances, while it was the first international point for Farfan.

The rest of the match was pretty even until Ivory Coast took a man advantage when Igwe was booked for his second yellow card of the game in the 84th minute. Due to the ejection, Igwe will miss the quarterfinal match with a one-game suspension.

Ivory Coast turned up the pressure and three minutes later almost found the back of the net when Koffi Kouassi’s header from six yards looked destined for the upper right corner. But U.S. goalkeeper Bryant Rueckner came up with one of his eight saves on the night, stretching out to parry it over the bar.

On the ensuing corner kick, Rueckner was left helpless after a defensive mishap allowed Ivory Coast to score the equalizer. Romaric Bosson played the ball low towards the near post and a U.S. defender missed the clearance, allowing the ball to roll through to Siaka Bamba, who had the easy tap home.

Although he was unable to secure the shutout, Rueckner, who shook off two shaky performances against North Korea and Italy, came up with two more convincing saves during the nail-biting final moments to secure the U.S. the top spot in Group C.

Rueckner saved a Serge Kouadio strike from left side of the penalty area in the 89th minute and then smothered an attempt by Kouassi, who had been sent through on a threaded pass after the U.S. lost the ball in their defensive third.

“I think I definitely played better than I did in the first two games, but we also played well as a team,” said Rueckner. “I put those games behind me. I had talked to the coaches and they told me I was going to be fine and they were right. I just want to play the next game.”

Hackworth made a few changes to the starting line-up, giving three players their first start during the tournament, which provided the regular starters a well-deserved rest. Daniel Kelly filled in for Kevin Alston at right back, while Hall and Farfan stepped into the outside midfield roles for Quavas Kirk and Ryan Soroka.

The Farfan brothers, Gabriel and Michael, started just their second international match together for the Under-17s. The twins have played three games together during their time with the U-17s, but were only in the starting XI in an international friendly against Honduras this June in Carson, Calif.

The U.S. did better with their chances in the first half as they put three of their four other shots on goal, while Ivory Coast only managed to force Rueckner into one save on five attempts.

In the 27th minute, Ismael Fofana won the ball in midfield from Michael Farfan and dribbled up the middle of the field before unleashing a low drive from 22 yards out that went just wide of the right post.

Ten minutes later, it was the U.S. who supplied the pressure when Farfan lofted a high ball up for Zimmerman near the top of the penalty area. Andy got a hand to the ball as Zimmerman challenged, knocking it forward and then pouncing on the loose ball before David Arvizu could get to it.

The U.S. almost allowed Ivory Coast to pull even a few minutes before halftime when Blake Wagner’s poor touch along the right sideline allowed Alassane Diomande to steal the ball and streak towards goal. Bearing down on Rueckner, captain Ofori Sarkodie was able to hustle back into the penalty area and make a last second tackle to deflect Diomande’s shot wide of the target.

The best chance for the U.S. came in the 53rd minute when Gabriel Farfan almost notched his first international goal with a composed turn in tight space near the left corner of the six-yard box.  Zimmerman crossed the ball in from the right sideline and Farfan was able to get past a couple defenders and get off the shot, but Andy was able to get a piece of it to force it off the crossbar.

The U.S. kept the intensity up as they looked for an insurance goal, but were only able to get off a couple more shots the rest of the match. In the 60th minute, Igwe missed the frame on a header wide left.  Two minutes a later, Zimmerman dribbled up the sideline before pushing the ball back for Arvizu, but his attempt was blocked by a defender, along with Gabriel Farfan’s attempt on the rebound.

In the other Group C match, North Korea drew 1-1 with Italy to finish second and advance to the quarterfinals against Brazil.

- U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Game Report -

Participants: USA vs. Ivory Coast
Competition: 2005 FIFA Under-17 World Championship
Location: Estadio Nacional; Lima, Peru
Date: September 23, 2005
Weather: Cool, 65 degrees

Scoring Summary:
                                1     2      F
USA                        1     0     1
Ivory Coast             0     1     1

USA – Jeremy Hall (Gabriel Farfan) 4th minute
CIV – Siaka Bamba (Romaric Bosson) 87.
1-Bryant Rueckner; 15-Daniel Kelly, 5-Ofori Sarkodie (capt.), 13-Blake Wagner, 2-Amaechi Igwe; 17-Jeremy Hall, 8-Kyle Nakazawa, 19-Michael Farfan (11-Ryan Soroka, 64), 12-Gabriel Farfan; 9-Preston Zimmerman (7-Omar Gonzalez, 77), 10-David Arvizu (14-Neven Subotic, 88).
Subs not used: 3-Kevin Alston, 4-Josmer Altidore, 6-Quavas Kirk, 16-Nikolas Besagno, 18-Deigo Restrepo, 20-Brian Perk.
Head Coach: John Hackworth

CIV: 16-Andy Yves; 2-Ali Keita (9-Koffi Kouassi, 60), 4-Romaric Bosson (capt.), 6-Jules Agoussi, 18-Siaka Bamba; 5-Marius Gnabouyou, 3-Irenee Kouakou, 15-Diarra Vamara (12-Serge Kouadio, 46), 13-Zie Diabate; 10-Alassane Diomande (8-Pacome Kouassi, 75), 11-Ismael Fofana.
Subs not used: 1-Ikossie Tahourou, 14-Moustapha Abdul, 17-Gilbert Kouadio, 20-Ibrahim Kone.
Injured: 7-Martial Yao
Head Coach: Francois Bohe

Statistical Summary:
                              USA    CIV
Shots                      7         18     
Saves                     2           8                    
Fouls                     24        10  
Corner Kicks         1           9  
Offside                   2            2  

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Amaechi Igwe (caution)  35th minute
USA – Amaechi Igwe (caution)  85.
USA – Ameachi Igwe (ejection)  85.  

Referee: Oscar Ruiz (COL)
1st Assistant: Jose Navia (COL)
2nd Assistant: Fernando Tamayo (ECU)
Fourth Official: Marco Rodriguez (MEX)

Group C Standings/Results

Team   GP    W     L      T     GF   GA   GD   Pts.
USA      3       2      0      1      7      4      +3     7
PRK      3       1      1      1      6      4      +2     4
ITA        3        1      1      1      6      7       -1     4
CIV        3       0      2      1      4      8       -4     1

Saturday, September 17
Italy 4, Ivory Coast 3
USA 3, North Korea 2

Tuesday, September 20
USA 3, Italy 1    
North Korea 3, Ivory Coast 0

Friday, September 23
USA 1, Ivory Coast 1  
Italy 1, North Korea 1

Date           Matchup                                    Venue        Time
Sept. 25     Costa Rica vs. Mexico            Piura          4 p.m. CT
Sept. 25     Turkey vs. China                      Iquitos        7 p.m. CT
Sept. 26     USA vs. Netherlands               Trujillo         4 p.m. CT
Sept. 26     Brazil vs. North Korea             Iquitos        7 p.m. CT

Date          Matchup                                                            Venue           Time
Sept. 29    Costa Rica/Mexico vs. USA/Netherlands     Chiclayo        4 p.m. CT
Sept. 29    Turkey/China vs. Brazil/North Korea              Trujillo            7 p.m. CT

Third Place
Date       Matchup                                                             Venue      Time
Oct. 2     Semifinal Loser 1 vs. Semifinal Loser 1         Lima         3 p.m. CT

Date       Matchup                                                              Venue      Time
Oct. 2     Semifinal Winner 1 vs. Semifinal Winner 2     Lima         6 p.m CT is the official website of U.S. Soccer, the governing body of soccer in the United States.