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13 for ’13: A Retrospective Look at the USA’s U-20 World Cup History


Draw Against Eventual Runner-Up Qatar Highlights USA’s Tournament Debut

The start of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team’s involvement in the World Cup dates back to the third FIFA World Youth Championship, which took place Australia in 1981.

The U.S. was placed in Group A with Poland, Qatar and Uruguay. Though Uruguay won the group at 3-0-0, it was Qatar that took second place in the event, falling to West Germany in the final.

The U.S. did not advance out of the group stage, first opening with a 3-0 loss to Uruguay on Oct. 3 in front of 17,200 spectators at Lang Park in Brisbane, Australia.

The high point for the USA was earning its first point in the World Cup against Qatar, playing the 1981 runner-up to a 1-1 draw on Oct. 6. Mark Devey scored the only goal for the U.S., giving the team a 1-0 lead in the 43rd minute before Badr Bilal found the equalizer in the 56th minute.

The U.S. bowed out of the event with a 4-0 loss to Poland on Oct. 8.

Though the USA finished in 15th place out of the 16-team field, it was just the start of the USA’s regular qualification for the event that has the country participating in its 13th World Cup for 2013.

  • Did you know … Mark Devey, the USA’s first goal scorer in this event, had a strong collegiate career at North Carolina. He was named to the All-ACC First Team in 1983 and went on to score 32 goals during his career with the Tar Heels.


Thirty Years Later, Hall of Famers Ramos and Perez Helping Guide 2013 U-20 World Cup Squad

The fourth FIFA World Youth Championship certainly holds some significance for the USA’s 2013 team for the simple fact that two National Soccer Hall of Fame players from that team are now guiding this group.

U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos was the youngest of the bunch at age 16 when the U.S. played in the World Cup event in Guadalajara and Puebla, Mexico (he was 15 years old during World Cup qualifying). U-20 MNT assistant coach and U-14 Boys’ National Team head coach Hugo Perez also was a member of that squad as a 19-year-old, scoring one of the USA’s two goals in its 3-2 opening loss to Uruguay on June 3, 1983.

“We took it as an opportunity to be seen, that we could play football in America,” Perez said. “Obviously things have changed in 30 years, but it’s still the same thing – still a tournament, still playing against the best teams in the world and against the best players.”

“It helped me a lot because it drew attention a little bit to me and to the sport in general, because I was a younger player and I had made it to this team somehow,” Ramos said. “It helped me to get through the next few steps until I got onto the World Cup team in 1988. I value my experience with the U-20 National Team because it was the beginning and it really became very important for the rest of my career.”

The U.S. stumbled in the opener, falling behind 2-0 to Uruguay in the second half. Jeff Hooker got the USA on the score sheet in the 60th minute, but Uruguay’s Ruben Sosa scored his second goal in the 64th, proving to be the game-winner. Perez gave the U.S. some hope with a 67th-minute tally, but Uruguay held the U.S. in check the rest of the way.

Despite the opening loss, the USA accomplished a first in this age group with a 1-0 victory against Ivory Coast on June 5. George Gelnovatch scored the lone goal and kept the team in the hunt for advancing through the group.

The U.S. needed another win to take one of the top two spots in Group B, and the squad stayed even with Poland for 75 minutes in the critical June 8 match. But Poland, the eventual third-place finisher in that year’s tournament, scored two goals down the stretch for a 2-0 victory.

The USA earned 11th place in the tournament.

  • Did you know … Jeff Hooker scored a goal in his U.S. MNT debut, a 3-1 victory against El Salvador on Oct. 9, 1984, in Los Angeles.


USA Shuts Down Saudi Arabia but Cannot Advance Through Group Stage

After missing out on the previous FIFA World Youth Championship in 1985, the U.S. earned its way back into the tournament two years later in Chile.

The USA was pitted against West Germany, Saudi Arabia and Bulgaria in Group D, posting a 1-2-0 record and coming up short of advancing to the knockout round stage.

The U.S. opened the event with a 1-0 loss to Bulgaria on Oct. 11, but three days later the USA shut out Saudi Arabia 1-0. Christian Unger scored the only goal in the 73rd minute.

That brought the USA to the daunting task of needing a victory against West Germany, the eventual runner-up to Yugoslavia in that year’s event. West Germany took the early lead, but Mike Constantino provided an equalizer in the 44th minute to keep the U.S. in it. But West Germany’s Andreas Moller tallied the game-winner in the 73rd minute and sent the USA home with an 11th-place showing in the tournament.

The squad featured an 18-year-old Tony Meola as the starting goalkeeper and a 17-year-old Kasey Keller as the backup. Meola would make his U.S. MNT debut the following year, beginning a seven-year run as the senior team’s starting goalkeeper.

Constantino would make only one appearance for the U.S. MNT as a second-half sub during a 2-0 loss to Ecuador on June 10, 1988.

  • Did you know … Head coach Derek Armstrong was a founding director of US Club Soccer.


U.S. Takes Second in Group, Advances to Third-Place Match Against Brazil

It was 24 years ago when the U.S. advanced further than any other FIFA World Youth Championship or FIFA U-20 World Cup.

The U.S. took second place in Group C with a 1-1-1 record, playing Mali to a 1-1 draw on Feb. 17, scoring two second-half goals for a 2-0 win against East Germany on Feb. 20, then scoring the opening goal but dropping a 3-1 decision to Brazil on Feb. 22 in the group finale. In that Brazil match, Troy Dayak gave the USA a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute, but Brazil rattled off three goals in a 16-minute span.

Nevertheless, the USA advanced out of the group and rebounded with a 2-1 victory against Iraq on Feb. 25 in the quarterfinals. Chris Henderson and Dario Brose each scored a goal, with Brose’s 56th-minute tally proving to be the game-winner.

In the semifinals, the U.S. fell 2-1 to Nigeria in overtime. Nigeria’s Mutiu Adepoju scored the game’s opening goal and the winner in the 93th minute. Sandwiched in between, Steve Snow scored a penalty kick goal in the 52nd minute.

The loss set up a rematch with Brazil in the third-place game as Brazil fell 1-0 to eventual tournament winner Portugal in the other semifinal. The USA and Brazil were scoreless through the first half, but Ricardo Franca and Leonardo Araujo got Brazil on the score sheet in the 65th and 69th minutes, respectively, en route to the win.

The fourth-place finish continues to serve as the USA’s best finish in this tournament. Snow led the U.S. with three goals that year, tying for second-most with five other players among the entire competition.

  • Did you know … Steve Snow scored a goal in 49 consecutive games for Hoffman Estates High School in Illinois from 1985-87. That Illinois State High School Association record still stands today, two ahead of his older brother Ken Snow (47 straight goals from 1983-86).


U.S. Squad’s Eight Goals During Group Stage was Best Among 16-Team Field

The U.S. put on an offensive display at the 1993 FIFA World Youth Championship that has only been matched once since.

The USA opened the tournament with a lopsided 6-0 victory against Turkey on March 7 in Group C play. That six-goal victory is still a record to this date, and the six goals have only been matched once during the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

In that game against Turkey, Chris Faklaris scored three goals, Miles Joseph added two and Imad Baba’s 22nd-minute tally opened the scoring.

The U.S. settled for second place in the group behind England. England topped the USA 1-0 on March 9, but the U.S. notched a much-needed point with a 2-2 draw against South Korea on March 11 as Kerry Zavagnin scored a 78th-minute equalizer.

The USA’s eight goals during the group stage was best among the tournament’s 16-team field.

In the quarterfinals, the U.S. ran into eventual tournament winner Brazil. The U.S. fell 3-0 and Brazil became the first team to win three FIFA World Youth Championship titles.

  • Did you know … Miles Joseph has been an assistant coach for Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake since 2010.


USA Drops Three Straight After Beating China

The U.S. had a promising start to the 11th FIFA World Youth Championship in Malaysia. The squad opened the tournament with a 1-0 victory against China PR on June 17, 1997. But that opener proved to be the high point of the tournament as the USA dropped its next three games and took 15th place out of the 16 teams that made it out of the group stage.

The USA and China were scoreless throughout the majority of the match until Brian West, an eventual six-year veteran of Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew, scored the game-winner in the 90th minute.

Things went downhill from that point, falling 2-1 to the Republic of Ireland on June 19. The U.S. fell behind 2-0 through 25 minutes, with one of Ireland’s tallies being an own goal. Jorge Flores scored a penalty kick for the U.S. in the 39th minute, but the offense was shut out the rest of the way.

The U.S. ended the group stage with a 1-0 loss to Ghana, but despite the 1-2-0 record the USA earned enough to advance to the Round of 16. There, tournament runner-up Uruguay blanked the U.S. 3-0, with all three goals coming in the first half.

  • Did you know … The 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship marked the first time a 24-team field participated in the tournament. Previous events featured 16 teams and a quarterfinal stage to begin the knockout round.


USA Posts Wins Against England and Cameroon, but Falls Short Against Title Winner Spain

The U.S. garnered two victories during the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship in Nigeria, and Taylor Twellman set the standard individually with a U.S. record four goals in the tournament.

In the Group C opener, Danny Califf gave the U.S. an early boost with a goal in the 12th minute and it held up en route to a 1-0 victory against England on April 5. Following that win, though, Japan topped the USA 3-1 on April 8, benefitting from an early own goal. Ryan Futagaki had the USA’s lone goal in the 74th minute.

But the U.S. finished the group stage on a strong note with a 3-1 victory against Cameroon on April 11. Twellman scored in the 38th and 79th minutes, and Carlos Bocanegra’s 57th-minute tally proved to be the game-winner.

Twellman continued his offensive surge against Spain with his second straight brace, but his efforts were not enough against the eventual tournament winner. Spain scored three first-half goals and eliminated the U.S. 3-2 in the Round of 16. Pablo Couñago had two goals and Xavi contributed a score for Spain, which earned its first title in this tournament.

To this date, Twellman’s four-goal performance still ranks first alongside Eddie Johnson (2003) and Jozy Altidore (2007).

  • Did you know … The U.S. goalkeeping tandem at the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship featured Tim Howard as the starter and Nick Rimando as the backup … Longtime Kansas City Wizards defender Nick Garcia served as the team captain for Sigi Schmid’s squad.


Beasley, USA Advance out of Group but Fall to Egypt in Round of 16

The 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship featured a tightly contested Group C in which every team posted one victory.

The U.S. was one of three teams to advance out of the group, with the highlight being a 4-1 victory against Chile on June 20. DaMarcus Beasley scored two goals and Brad Davis and Edson Buddle put the match out of reach in the second half.

That game was preceded by a 1-0 loss to China PR on June 17. The U.S. did advance out of the group with a 1-1 draw against Ukraine on June 23. Kenny Arena gave the USA a 1-0 lead in the 39th minute and it was looking like a U.S. win until Denys Stoyan scored an equalizer in the 89th minute.

The draw was good enough to advance to the Round of 16, but Egypt scored two goals in the final 15 minutes for a 2-0 victory on June 27.

  • Did you know … Head coach Wolfgang Sühnholz formerly played for Bayern Munich, and later in his career he was named the North American Soccer League Soccer Bowl MVP in 1976.


Eddie Johnson Leads USA with Four Goals and Team Tallies Nine for Tournament

For the first time in the tournament’s history, the U.S. posted three victories during the FIFA World Youth Championship. The 2003 event in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, featured nine goals from the United States and a first-place finish in Group F.

Leading the way was Eddie Johnson, who tied Taylor Twellman’s U.S. record with four goals in the tournament, scoring in three of the five games.

In the opener against Paraguay, the U.S. fell behind early, but Johnson, Mike Magee and Bobby Convey each scored a goal in the second half en route to a 3-1 victory on Nov. 29.

Following a 3-1 loss to Germany on Dec. 2, the U.S. closed the group stage with a 2-0 victory against the Korea Republic. Johnson scored both goals on penalty kicks in the 13th and 24th minutes.

In the Round of 16, the U.S. shut out Ivory Coast 2-0 on Dec. 8. Justin Mapp scored in the seventh minute and Johnson tallied another PK in the 43rd minute.

Then in the quarterfinals, the U.S. was in good shape against Argentina with Convey’s 59th-minute goal holding up through much of regulation. But in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time, Argentina’s Javier Mascherano scored an equalizer to push the game to overtime, where Fernando Cavenaghi’s 104th-minute penalty kick eliminated the U.S. in a heartbreaking close to the tournament.

  • Did you know … Eddie Johnson earned the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship golden boot for his four-goal tournament effort.


Defense Earns Three Shutouts to Win Group D

Having scored its fair share of goals in previous FIFA World Youth Championships, the U.S. had a bit of a decline at the 2005 tournament in the Netherlands.

That simply meant the U.S. defense had to step up, which it did en route to an unbeaten Group D run and a 2-0-1 record in that stage. The USA did not allow a goal in all three matches.

The U.S. opened with a 1-0 victory against Argentina on June 11 with Chad Barrett’s 39th-minute goal providing enough offense. That was followed by a scoreless draw against Germany on June 15 and a 1-0 victory against Egypt on June 18. Jacob Peterson had the USA’s lone goal in that match in the 56th minute.

The defense that was so strong in group play had a difficult task against Italy in the Round of 16, and the USA could not sustain that element.

Hunter Freeman did give the U.S. a 1-0 lead heading into halftime with his penalty kick goal, but it was all Italy the rest of the way. Daniele Galloppa and Graziano Pelle each had a goal and Italy benefited from a Sacha Klejstan own goal in the 75th minute to take a 3-1 lead.

  • Did you know … U.S. goalkeeper Quentin Westberg had the three clean sheets during the tournament. Though born in France, Westberg’s American father reached out to U.S. Soccer and his son played for the USA’s youth system, including a spot on the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Championship team … Argentina’s Lionel Messi was the leading goal scorer of the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship with six tallies as Argentina won its fifth title.


U.S. Offense Erupts for 12 Goals, Including Nine Through Group Stage

The U.S. earned seventh place at the 2007 FIFA Under-20 World Cup and won Group D with a 2-0-1 record. Much of the credit toward the team’s success goes toward a steady dose of offense. The squad outscored its opponents 12-6 in five games.

The USA started off a bit sluggish with a 1-1 draw on June 30 against the Korea Republic, a team that lost its other two U-20 World Cup matches that year. Danny Szetela gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute but South Korea responded later in that first half.

Then the U.S. awoke with a resounding 6-1 victory against Poland on July 3. Freddy Adu scored three goals, Szetela added two and Jozy Altidore contributed a tally.

Altidore carried the U.S. to a 2-1 victory against Brazil on July 6, scoring both USA goals, including the game-winner in the 81st minute.

In the Round of 16, the U.S. rallied for a 2-1 victory against Uruguay on July 11. Trailing 1-0 in the closing minutes, the U.S. benefited from a Uruguay own goal by Mathias Cardaccio in the 87th minute to tie up the score in regulation. Then in overtime, Michael Bradley scored the winner in the 107th minute.

Altidore scored his U.S. record-tying fourth goal of the tournament to give the USA a 1-0 lead against Austria in the quarterfinals on July 14. But Austria’s Rubin Okotie tied the score late in the first half and Erwin Hoffer gave Austria a 2-1 overtime victory with his tally in the 105th minute.

  • Did you know … Danny Szetela’s tally in the opener against the Korea Republic was the USA’s only shot on goal in that 1-1 draw … Szetela, who scored twice against Poland, is of Polish dissent (both parents) but was born in Passaic, N.J.


U.S. Earns Win Against Cameroon, Drops Other Two matches

The 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup was a short-lived one for the United States as the squad could not advance out of Group C.

The U.S. ended up third in the group at 1-2-0 behind Group C winner Germany and the Korea Republic.

The tournament opened with a 3-0 loss to Germany on Sept. 26, followed by a 4-1 victory against Cameroon on Sept. 29. Bryan Arguez, Tony Taylor, Dilly Duka and Brian Ownby each scored a goal, with Taylor’s 47th-minute tally representing the game-winner.

The U.S. needed a draw or a win heading into the group finale to take second place in the group, but South Korea had other things in mind with a 3-0 victory on Oct. 2. Ike Opara was shown a red card in the 73rd minute when the game was 2-0 at the time.

  • Did you know … U.S. defender Gale Agbossoumonde would earn 30 caps for the U-20 MNT and earn 2010 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year.