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U.S. U-20s Ready for Argentina Opener in World Youth Championship

U.S. Under-20 MNT Notes
Enschede, Holland
June 9, 2005

COUNTDOWN TO ARGENTINA: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team conducted their final training session this morning at Rigtersbleek as they are less than 24 hours away from their opening match of the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship against Argentina in Group D play. Kickoff is at 11:30 a.m. ET at Arke Stadium in Enschede, Holland (5:30 p.m. local). The U.S.-Argentina match is the first of the Group D doubleheader at Arke, as Egypt-Germany will kickoff at 8:30 p.m. local time / 2:30 p.m. ET. 

ALL U.S. GAMES ON FOX SOCCER CHANNEL: All three of the U.S. Under-20 Group D matches will be televised live by Fox Soccer Channel, Telefutura and Galavison. Fox Soccer Channel will also be re-playing the three U.S. games later the same day. After their opening match against Argentina, the U.S. takes on Germany on June 14 (8:30 p.m. local time / 2:30 p.m. ET) and concludes group play on June 18 (1:30 p.m. local time / 7:30 a.m. ET) against Egypt. Every U.S. match at the World Youth Championship can be followed live via’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. A number of other World Youth Championship matches will also be televised by the three stations.
Fox Soccer Channel Listings
Date         Matchup                   Time – Live/Replay (ET)
June 11    U.S. vs. Argentina    11:30 a.m. / 8 p.m. (FSC)
June 14    U.S. vs. Germany      2:30 p.m. / 11 p.m. (FSC), 
June 18    U.S. vs. Egypt            7:30 a.m. / 12 and 4 p.m. (FSC)

Telfutura/Galavision Listings
Date         Matchup                   TV Station      Time
June 11    U.S. vs. Argentina     Telefutura         11:30 a.m. ET
June 14    U.S. vs. Germany      Galavision       7 p.m. ET/ PT (same day tape delay)
June 18    U.S. vs. Egypt            Galavision       5 p.m. ET/PT (same day take delay)

WARD CAN’T GO: Tim Ward had suffered a strained hamstring during the MetroStars’ match against the Kansas City Wizards on May 25, but still made the trip with the U.S. Under-20s in hopes of recovering in time for the opening match, or at least the second or third group game. The team trainer and doctor began rehab with Ward the day the team arrived in Holland on June 2, but despite Ward’s best efforts the medical staff made the decision on Thursday that he would not be able to go for the tournament. Due to his injury, defender Michael Harrington (UNC) made the trip to Holland and has been training with the team the entire time, and he will now fill in the vacant spot Ward leaves on the 21-man roster. Head coach Sigi Schmid announced the news to the team before practice, thanking Ward for his efforts and welcoming Harrington onto the roster. This will be the second time Harrington has participated in a world championship as he was also with the U.S. Under-17s in Finland in 2003.

U.S. 2005 World Youth Championship Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): 21-Justin Hughes (UNC), 17-Andrew Kartunen (Stanford), 1-Quentin Westberg (ESTAC Troyes); DEFENDERS (7): 6-Greg Dalby (Notre Dame), 15-Hunter Freeman (Colorado Rapids), 5-Patrick Ianni (UCLA), 3-Jonathan Spector (Manchester United), 4-Nathan Sturgis (Clemson), 16-Michael Harrington (UNC), 2-Marvell Wynne (UCLA); MIDFIELDERS (7): 11-Freddy Adu (D.C. United), 20-Brad Evans (UC-Irvine), 8-Benny Feilhaber (UCLA), 10-Eddie Gaven (MetroStars), 12-Will John (Chicago Fire), 7-Sacha Kljestan (Seton Hall), 19-Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew); FORWARDS (4): 9-Chad Barrett (Chicago Fire), 14-Lee Nguyen (Dallas Texans), 18-Sammy Ochoa (Tecos), 13-Jacob Peterson (Indiana).

ALL_ACCESS VIDEO: The last installment of’s All_Access Video before the U.S. Under-20s kicks off the World Youth Championship is now available. In this edition, get a look at Arke Stadion, where the U.S. will be playing all three of its Group D games, and hear from head coach Sigi Schmid, midfielder Eddie Gaven and defender Jonathan Spector as they talk about their final preparations for their match against Argentina. WATCH VIDEO.

ADU NOT YOUNGEST: It was reported earlier that U.S. U-20 midfielder Freddy Adu is the youngest player in the World Youth Championship, but he is actually the second-youngest player. Benin goalkeeper Wassiou Salami is the youngest player (being born on Dec. 23, 1989), but due to a mix-up with his birthdate he was originally listed as being born in 1987. 

TALKING ARGENTINA: Read what U.S. Under-20 head coach Sigi Schmid and players have to say the day before kicking off the World Youth Championship against Argentina in Holland. Click here for the quotes.

NEW OFFSIDE RULE: The U.S. players will be dealing with a new tweak in the offside rules as the World Youth Championship will see the first use of the changes made to the rule at the 119th Annual General Meeting of the International Football Association Board, which was held in February. Law 11, which relates to offside, deals with whether or not a player is actively involved in play and is therefore considered offside. In essence, what it means is that if an attacking player is in an offside position, but not interfering with an opponent, the referee must wait until he touches the ball before penalizing him for being offside. An example would be if a player (player A) is in an offside position and a ball is played to him, but he doesn’t move and lets the ball go through his legs, and another player (player B) that was in an onside position races through and gets to the ball, no offside would be called because player A did not “interfere” with the play. However, if a player's position interferes with an opponent, preventing him from reaching or playing the ball, or results in impaired vision for a goalkeeper or defender, it would be considered offside. Players were also warned that they would be cautioned for actions deemed as time wasting. A player will be cautioned if he deliberately touches the ball after the referee stops the game for a free kick, throw-in or corner kick, and for keeping possession of a ball after their team has conceded a goal.

PACKED CROWD: Around 1,000 tickets are left for the opening matches at Arke Stadium in Enschede, as the four teams in Group D can expect an almost sold-out crowd on Saturday. The stadium, which holds just under 13,500 and is easily accessible with a train stop right in front, was built in May 1998 to replace Diekman Stadium that used to stand on the same site and which had been home to FC Twente since 1965. The stadium is equipped with under-soil heating, covered stands, and there are no obstacles blocking the view of the crowd, who are very close to the pitch. To see a 360-degree view of the stadium, click here:

UNDER WAY: The tournament kicked off today as Benin and Australia played the first match in Kerkrade, which ended in a 1-1 draw. After the match, the tournament’s opening ceremony was conducted with a 15-minute colorful celebration of song and dance, representing the Dutch culture. After the match, the host played its first match against Japan.

MOMENT OF SILENCE: A minute of silence was observed before the opening game of the FIFA World Youth Championship Netherlands 2005 to pay tribute to Yessouffou Samiou, former goalkeeper of Benin's youth team. Samiou, better known as "Campos", was killed on January 17, during the African Youth Championship in Benin, after being attacked in a nightclub.

REFEREES: The U.S.-Argentina match will be handled by a Norway referee crew, lead by Terje Hauge in the middle. The two assistants are Steinar Holvik and Ole Hermann Borgan, while the fourth official is Eric Braamhaar, from the Netherlands.


A WINNING SIDE: Argentina has won three of the last five FIFA World Youth Championships (1995, 1997 and 2001) and once again arrives as one of the favorites to add another title at the Netherlands. After a fourth-place finish in 2003, Argentina no doubt has their sight on regaining the crown they have won a record-setting four times overall (tied with Brazil).

PRESSURE FOR FERRARO: Argentina’s new Under-20 head coach Francisco Ferraro enters the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship carrying a load of pressure as he follows two successful youth national coaches. The 60-year-old Ferraro is following Hugo Tocalli, who moved on to be an assistant with the first team alongside head coach Jose Pekerman, and will not be part of the U-20 team for the first time since 1995. Tocalli was at the helm for only one World Youth Championship, helping the U-20s secure a fourth-place finish in the United Arab Emirates in 2003, and was also an assistant under Pekerman during their championship years in 1995, 1997 and 2001. Known as “Pancho” in footballing circles, Ferraro was recommended for the job by Pekerman. Ferraro worked his way up through Argentina’s lower divisions, where he had spells with clubs such as Deportivo Español, Deportivo Italiano and Independiente.

SOSA OUT: Similar to the U.S., Argentina has lost a player to injury as center midfielder Jose Sosa (Estudiantes) broke his wrist after falling awkwardly during a battle for the ball during a practice here in Enschede two days ago. Argentina’s No. 10 will be replaced by Patricio Perez (Velez Sarsfield), who has been called in and will be arriving in Holland as soon as possible.

LED BY MESSI: Argentina will be led by midfielder Lionel Messi, who is actually the youngest player on the team at the age of 17. A talented attacking player with incredible pace and a rocket for a shot, Messi is seen as the future of Argentine football. He moved to Spain with his family at the age of 12 and had been playing in Bacelona’s youth teams for the past five years before beginning to get time with the first team, becoming the youngest player ever to play for the Spanish side. Messi became the youngest player ever to line out for the Catalan side’s first team, even coming on for a few minutes during a UEFA Champions League game. Called “our jewel” by FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta, Messi will be looking to add the World Youth Championship title to the La Liga championship medal he won with FC Barcelona this season.

GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Oscar Ustari (Independiente), 12-Nereo Champagne (San Lorenzo), 21-Nicolas Navarro (Argentinos Juniors); DEFENDERS (5): 2-Gustavo Cabral (Racing Club), 3-Lautaro Formica (Newells Old Boys), 4-Julio Barroso (Boca Juniors), 13-Ezequiel Garay (Newells Old Boys), 14-David Abraham (Independiente); MIDFIELDERS (9): 5-Juan Manuel Torres (Racing Club), 6-Gabriel Paletta (Banfield), 7-Lucas Biglia (Independiente), 8-Pablo Zabaleta (San Lorenzo), 10-Patricio Perez (Velez Sarsfield), 11-Emiliano Armenteros (Banfield), 15-Rodrigo Archubi (Lanus), 17-Fernando Gago (Boca Juniors), 18-Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona); FORWARDS (4): 9-Pablo Vitti (Rosario Central), 16-Neri Cardozo (Boca Juniors), 19-Sergio Aguero (Independiente), 20-Gustavo Oberman (Argentinos Juniors).  

Argentina came away assured a place in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, but their performance at the South American Youth Championship in Colombia this past January was not the normal offensive-stellar performance. On the other hand, the Argentinians went undefeated and conceded the least amount of goals, so to say their third-place finish was a disappointment isn't totally accurate. The beginning of the qualifying tournament was a breeze as Argentina blanked Venezuela (3-0), Bolivia (4-0) and Peru (6-0) with ever-increasing scorelines, but their 1-1 draw with Colombia was a precursor to the offensive struggles they would suffer in the final group. The final group saw Argentina narrowly beat Venezuela (1-0) and then toil through three straight draws with Chile (1-1), Uruguay (0-0) and Colombia (1-1). Alas, the quality team shown through in their final match as they defeated eventual runner-up Brazil 2-1 to finish in third place.

LAST TIME OUT: The last two times the U.S. Under-20 MNT played Argentina have been entertaining, last-second affairs, with the teams swapping fortunes. The most recent affair was this past March in South Korea during the Suwon International Youth Tournament, which the U.S. ended up taking second place. The U.S. also opened up that tournament against Argentina, pulling out a dramatic 2-1 victory with a goal in injury time. The preceding match was during the quarterfinals of the last FIFA World Youth Championship in UAE. The U.S. had a 1-0 lead over the reigning champs due to a Bobby Convey goal (assisted by Freddy Adu), but an injury time goal and an overtime strike gave Argentina the victory and knocked the U.S. out of the tournament.

Suwon match  |  UAE match