CHEONAN, South Korea (Aug. 30, 2007) - The U.S. Under-17 Men's National team were knocked out of the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup Thursday evening in Cheonan, South Korea, when they fell, 2-1, to Germany in the Round of 16.
Forward Richard Sukuta-Pasu scored both goals in the second half to lead Germany to victory and a spot in the quarterfinals. U.S. defender Mykell Bates scored his third goal of the tournament in second-half stoppage time to cut the lead to one, but Germany was able to hold on in the final minute for the win.
With the loss, the U.S. campaign at the World Cup finished with one win and three losses, while Germany will advance to play England in the quarterfinals. This was the third straight time the U.S. has lost their first match in the second round of the U-17 World Cup.
“Full credit goes to Germany,” said U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Hackworth. “They are an outstanding team and we wish them all the best going forward. We knew this game was going to be a bit of a chess match, and there were times when they were coming at us. We didn’t play as well as we thought we could.”
Without the services of forward Billy Schuler due to yellow card accumulation, Hackworth was forced to start his fourth different starting line-up in as many games. In place of Schuler, Kirk Urso, who scored the game-winning goal against Belgium that enabled the U.S. to advance, started up top with Ellis McLoughlin.
Josh Lambo started in goal for the U.S. for the second straight match and came up with a number of dazzling stops to keep Germany off the board for a majority of the match. Lambo finished the game with eight saves and was named Man of the Match for the second consecutive game.
Early in the game the teams exchanged possession, but Germany was the only side able to penetrate through in their offensive third. Sukuta-Pasu was dangerous for Germany all night, creating chances on long balls and on the counter attack, often with his striking partner Toni Kroos.
In the fifth minute, Sukuta-Pasu breached the U.S. defense, slipping past Bates and into the box with an audacious spin move. The U.S. defense quickly recovered and the ball was eventually blocked over the endline. The ensuing corner kick was punched clear by Lambo. Two minutes later, Sebastian Rudy fired a shot from long range that just missed the upper corner of Lambo’s net.
Germany’s high pressure defense gave the U.S. attack trouble as the Americans held a majority of the possession in the first half and it wasn’t until the 14th minute when the U.S. created a dangerous opportunity. Daniel Wenzel chipped a ball into the box for Alex Nimo, but the German defense was in the box to clear the ball away.
In the 17th minute, a long Sheanon Williams throw-in was played into the box, and cleared to the feet of midfielder Jared Jeffrey, but his ball back into the box was cleared out as well. In the 23rd minute a low Nimo free kick was also cleared by the Germany defense.
On the ensuing German counterattack, Sukuta-Pasu held up the ball and slotted across goal. Lambo seemed to be beaten, but Brandon Zimmerman did well to track back in front of the goal mouth, and was able to play the ball out of danger.
Later in the half, Lambo and the U.S. backline stifled a series of scoring opportunities for Germany. In the 35th minute, Rudy carried the ball through the middle and laid it off for Sukuta-Pasu, who dropped it back for Kroos, but his shot was blocked by a U.S. defender. Kroos then received the ball and looked dangerous with the ball at his feet, but he was stripped of the ball by Tommy Meyer. Just a minute later, Rudy picked up a through ball on the endline, but again Meyer was able to get the best of him and knock the ball over the line.
In the 41st minute, Kirk Urso fired a free kick on target from 30 yards away, but German goalkeeper Rene Vollath was there to make the save. In the USA’s final effort before half, Meyer lofted a free kick into the box that found the head of Gregory Garza, but his attempt went high and the teams went into the break deadlocked in a scoreless draw.
The U.S. had the first chance early in the second half, when Urso swung in a free kick from the left wing, but the German defense cleared the ball out for a corner kick. Four minutes later another Urso free kick was headed away, leading to a German counterattack, but Nimo recovered well to break up what could have been a dangerous opportunity.
In the 54th minute, the U.S. built up an attack and Jeffrey played a through ball for an overlapping Williams, but the U.S. defender couldn’t quite catch up to the ball inside the box. Two minutes later, second-half substitute Abdusalam Ibrahim was tripped up outside the German penalty area, but Nimo’s shot on the ensuing free kick went wide.
On the other end, Kroos and Dennis Dowidat had a cheeky combination of backheels that lead forced Williams to play the ball out for a corner kick. Bigalke’s inswinger from the left side found Sukuta-Pasu, but his header went high of the net.
Germany’s first goal came minutes later, when Sukuta-Pasu received a long ball from Kroos in stride, touched it around Meyer in the box and beat Lambo high to put the Germans up 1-0.
After the goal, the U.S. turned up the pressure, getting dangerous scoring opportunities from Williams’ long throw-ins. In the 71st minute, Vollath picked off a throw that seemed destined for Wenzel’s head, and a minute later, Ibrahim got off a shot from the far post following a throw-in, but his shot sailed high.
In the 78th minute, a Wenzel found the end of a Jeffrey free kick from the right side of the box, but his shot rolled harmlessly to Vollath. Wenzel had another opportunity three minutes later after a long free kick by Brandon Zimmerman, but this time his shot went wide.
Germany increased the lead 2-0 when Kroos led a counterattack upfield, slotting a ball perfectly for Sukuta-Pasu, who was able to beat Lambo for the second time on the night.
The goal proved to be crucial for the German side, as the U.S. pressure finally broke through in the 92nd minute. A Williams throw led to a scramble in the box, and Bates, sitting on the ground with his back to the goal was able to flick the ball behind him into the net. The U.S. quickly looked for the miraculous equalizer in the final minute, but Germany held on for the victory.
U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Game Report
Participants: U.S. Under-17 MNT vs. Germany
Competition: FIFA Under-17 World Cup
Location: Cheonan, South Korea
Date: August 30, 2007
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
GER 0 2 2
GER – Richard Sukuta-Pasu (Toni Kroos) 65th minute
GER – Richard Sukuta-Pasu (Toni Kroos) 89.
USA – Mykell Bates 92.
USA: 1-Josh Lambo; 2-Sheanon Williams, 3-Mykell Bates (capt.), 4-Tommy Meyer, 16- Brandon Zimmerman; 6-Danny Wenzel (14-Danny Cruz, 83), 8-Jared Jeffrey, 17-Greg Garza (11-Abdusalam Ibrahim, 46), 19-Alex Nimo; 12, Kirk Urso (10-Bryan Dominguez, 75), 9-Ellis McLoughlin
Subs Not Used: 5-Chris Klute, 7-Kofi Sarkodie, 15- Brek Shea, 18-Zac MacMath, 20-Larry Jackson, 21-Brendan King
Subs Not Available: 13-Billy Schuler
Head Coach: John Hackworth
GER: 12-Rene Vollath; 3-Jonas Strifler, 4-Nils Teixeira, 5-Konstantin Rausch, 6-Kevin Wolze; 9-Richard Sukuta-Pasu (17-Alexander Esswein, 94), 10-Toni Kroos (capt.), 11-Dennis Dowidat, 16-Sebastian Rudy; 18-Mario Erb, 20-Sascha Bigalke (7-Henning Sauerbier, 91)
Subs Not Used: 1-Fabian Giefer; 2-Kai Evers, 8-Patrick Funk, 13-Mehmet Ekici, 14-Matthias Haas, 15-Tony Jantschke, 19-Fabian Broghammer
Head Coach: Heiko Herrlich
Statistical Summary: USA / GER
Shots on goal 5/10
Corner Kicks 4/8
USA – Sheanon Williams (caution) 20th minute
USA – Brandon Zimmerman (caution) 68.
USA – Daniel Wenzel (caution) 74.
Referee: Craig Thomson (SCO)
1st Assistant: Martin Cryans (SCO)
2nd Assistant: Tom Murphy (SCO)
Fourth Official: Yuichi Nichimura (JPN)
Sierra Mist Man of the Match: Josh Lambo