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U.S. Under-20 MNT World Youth Championship Notes - Dec. 9, 2003

U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team
2003 FIFA World Youth Championship
Dec. 9, 2003 -- Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

ON TO THEQUARTERFINALS: Tell the truth. You didn’t have the U.S. making the Elite Eight in your FIFA World Youth Championship pool at work, did you? What do you mean you didn’t even have a FIFA WYC pool? Well, it doesn’t matter because the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team has put together a remarkable run to the quarterfinals after knocking off Ivory Coast 2-0 last night, whether your making money off it or not. With the victory, the U.S. became the first U.S. team to reach the Elite Eight of a World Youth Championship since the tournament increased to 24 teams in 1997. The Under-20s now have their sights on making the Final Four when they face pre-tournament favorite and reigning champions Argentina on Friday, Dec. 12, at 9 p.m. at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The match will be televised live by Galavision beginning at 11:55 a.m. ET (delayed on the West Coast at 11:55 a.m. PT) and can also be followed live on’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

SECOND STAGE RESULTS/SCHEDULE: With another eight teams packing for home, the last eight are now looking forward to Friday night as the quarterfinal round will kickoff. Here is a breakdown of the second stage results and coming schedule up to the final in Abu Dhabi.

2003 FIFA World Youth Championship – Second Stage
Round of 16
Date    Result
Dec. 8 Japan 2, South Korea 1 (OT)
Dec. 8 Canada 1, Burkina Faso 0
Dec. 8 Argentina 1, Egypt 0 (OT)
Dec. 8 USA 2, Ivory Coast 0
Dec. 9 Brazil 2, Slovakia 1 (OT)
Dec. 9 Australia vs. UAE
Dec. 9 Paraguay vs. Spain
Dec. 9 Rep. Ireland vs. Colombia
Date No. Match Time Location
Dec. 12 45 Canada vs Spain 6 p.m. Abu Dhabi (Zayed Sports City)
Dec. 12 46 USA vs Argentina 9 p.m. Abu Dhabi (Zayed Sports City)
Dec. 12 47 Colombia vs UAE 6 p.m. Dubai (Rashed Stadium)
Dec. 12 48 Japan vs Brazil 9 p.m. Dubai (Rashed Stadium)
Dec. 15 49 Winner 48 vs Winner 46 6 p.m. Abu Dhabi (Zayed Sports City)
Dec. 15 50 Winner 45 vs Winner 47 9 p.m. Dubai (Rashed Stadium)
Third Place Match
Dec. 19 51 Loser 49 vs Loser 50 6 p.m. Abu Dhabi (Zayed Sports City)
Dec. 19 52 Winner 49 vs Winner 50 8:45 p.m. Abu Dhabi (Zayed Sports City)


A GOOD TRIP HOME: The U.S didn’t waste any time getting back to Abu Dhabi, the site of their quarterfinal match against Argentina, jumping on the bus directly after the game on Monday for the hour and a half trip. In good spirits after their win against Ivory Coast, the players snacked on sandwiches, fruit and Pringles, washing it all down with water as they re-hydrated during the ride. Unlike the last bus trip after the South Korea game, Clint Dempsey and Knox Cameron didn’t break it down with any freestyle rapping. Instead, the players took in the first half of the match they had just played, getting the chance to see just how fast paced those 45 minutes were. The one moment the players and staff thoroughly enjoyed was Justin Mapp’s celebration after his game-winning goal in the 7th minute. The replay of Mapp’s half stomach-slide, half tumble was met by laughter and jeers from his teammates. They were all willing to help the speedy midfielder work on his celebrations, just as long as he kept giving the U.S. the opportunity to use them. When the U.S. finally arrived at the Armed Forces Officers Club, the gargantuan hotel they have been staying at during the majority of the tournament, head coach Thomas Rongen stated that it was "good to be home."

A RUN, A GAME AND A BATH: The U.S. coaches used some of the abundant hotel amenities to regenerate the players after their tough Round of 16 match against Ivory Coast. The 11 starters got to experience the Turkish bath and sauna, soaking in each for a few minutes at a time. The reserves put in a little more effort to break a sweat, using the Stairmasters, stationary bikes and treadmills available to guests for about 30 minutes. The players, along with assistant coaches Cle Kooiman and Dave Dir, then played a short game in the multi-purpose gym to complete their workout.

NO BAYWATCH BEACH: With the afternoon available, the entire U.S. team went to a local beach in downtown Abu Dhabi. The players looked forward to getting out of the hotel, but the beach wasn’t exactly what they were expecting. A steady wind made the hour stay a bit chilly and there wasn’t a cluster of people sunbathing, rather just an older, larger-sized man in a Speedo and a guy flying a kite. Despite the lack of "scenery," the players made the most of it by skipping rocks, burying defender Drew Moor in the sand, and taking a dip in the cool Persian Gulf.

HOW BIG IS A BURGER IN UAE?: Have you ever eaten one of those huge burgers at Fuddruckers in the U.S.? Well, that’s exactly how big the burger the players had for dinner was this evening as they went to the Fuddruckers in the Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi. While the meals at the hotel have been excellent, the players were craving anything other than pasta and chicken for at least one sitting. The U-20s were welcomed by the friendly Fuddruckers staff and enjoyed the taste of home, filling up with double cheeseburgers, buffalo wings, fries and shakes. While they ate, the team also got the chance to watch Brazil’s Dudu score two goals, including the game-winning golden goal, as the South Americans came back from a goal down to win, 2-1.

FIGHTING FOR AN "A": If Ford Williams teaching assistant for his philosophy class at the University of North Carolina reads this, you are required to give him an "A" for the paper he turned in yesterday. Why? Let's list the reasons why the U.S. Under-20 back-up goalkeeper should receive a high mark on his paper: 1) HE’S IN THE MIDDLE EAST!! 2) He isn’t just over here on vacation, as he has to train with his Under-20 teammates every day and go on all team activities, which takes up a good amount of time to do homework; 3) He doesn’t have instant access to the Internet to do research or even send his paper back to the U.S. via e-mail; 4) He has to stay concentrated on the task at hand in the case starter Steve Cronin gets injured and he’s called upon; and finally 5) HE’S IN THE MIDDLE EAST!! If this has yet to convince Mr. T.A. that an automatic "A" is the only fair grade, then this definitely will: With his paper done, Williams needed to send it via e-mail to Mr. T.A. before the start of their Round of 16 match against Ivory Coast on Monday night. Finding that some of the staff members with Internet access were already at the match, the 6’3" Tarheel sprang into action. Snatching the team’s coordinator Erik Carlson, he found out where the team’s press officer would be sitting in the media section for the game and then traversed the winding path from the locker room to the media center. With a bit of North Carolina sweet talk, he even managed to get past the security guards and into the media section without the proper credentials (which was no easy task as the guards at this match were actual UAE military personnel and didn’t even let the press officer in for a good 10 minutes). Locating the press officer, Williams frantically sent his paper to his T.A. in under the deadline. Now, c’mon, that has "A" written all over it!

A MAGEE FOR A MASMANIDIS: The U.S. players have been stocking up on attire the past couple nights, as they’ve been swapping their extra jerseys with players from Germany, South Korea and Paraguay. All the teams stayed in the hotel and the U.S. players got a chance to hang out with some of their opposition before they traveled home after getting knocked out of the tournament. While most players got a Germany and Korea jersey, Paraguay’s orange jersey remained elusive as the players said they weren’t able to give it up yet. With Paraguay’s loss to Spain in the Round of 16 tonight, expect the South Americans to receive a knock on their door later.

OUR PERSONAL ESCORTS: The U.S. Under-20s could get used to this. Since their arrival in UAE, the team has had a police escort everywhere it goes – training, the mall, games, wherever. All good and safe, but it got a little out of hand before the team’s final practice before meeting Ivory Coast. Staying at the Movenpick hotel directly across from the stadium, the players decided to walk the short distance. As they began to cross the one street between the hotel and the stadium, the police jumped in their vehicles and stopped traffic on both ends, providing the players with an unimpeded path to other end of the street. "I could get used to this," said forward Knox Cameron. Hopefully, when the players return to the United States they will remember to look both ways before crossing the street. It must be said though, that the strategic move was just another example of the amazing job the UAE police have done for the team during its stay.

YA, HEY…WE WON: First Canada looked as though it wouldn’t even get a point in the FIFA World Youth Championship after losing their first two matches. Now, the Canucks are looking at a quarterfinal match against Spain. After beating Czech Republic in their final group match, they sneaked into the Round of 16 with only three points and a –2 goal differential. Then last night, they continued their remarkable run with a 1-0 defeat of Group A winner Burkina Faso. With Canada and the U.S. in different brackets, the two teams couldn’t meet until the final, meaning there is still a possibility of an all North American championship match.

BURNING UP UAE: The U.S. is still tied for the team lead in goals scored in the tournament with eight. Their quarterfinal opponent, Argentina, and Republic of Ireland also have eight goals through four games, but the U.S. has the best percentage with the least shots on goal with 17. U.S. forward Eddie Johnson is also tied for first for individual scorers after the first four matches, with Japan’s Daisuke Sakata.

2003 FIFA World Youth Championship – Team Goals Scored in First Round
Team                  GP Goals Shots Shots on Goal Penalty Goals
Argentina             4      8       46             24                  1
Ireland Republic    4      8       41             27                  0
USA                    4      8       31             17                  3