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U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team Fall to Germany 3-1 in Second Match of World Youth Championship; Defender Zak Whitbread Scores First Goal for U.S.

ABU DHABI, UAE (December 2, 2003) – The U.S. Men's Under-20 National Team fell to Germany 3-1 on Tuesday at Al-Nanyam Stadium in Abu Dhabi in the team's second match of the FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates. The loss puts the U.S. at 1-1-0 with three points and an even goal differential as all four teams in Group F are now even with three points each (following Paraguay's 1-0 victory over South Korea).

The U.S. will next face South Korea in their final group game on Friday, Dec. 5 at 8:30 p.m. local (11:30 a.m. ET) at Al-Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The match will be televised tape delayed on Galavision at 1:30 p.m. ET & PT, but can be followed live on’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The U.S. will know what result is needed in the match, as the game kicks off almost three hours after Paraguay-Germany (8:45 a.m. ET kickoff).

It was a tale of two halves, as the first 45 minutes was an even battle that only saw three shots on goal by the U.S. and Germany combined, while the second period was a wide-open, attacking game as four goals and numerous other near misses defined the half.

Germany came out blazing in the first 25 minutes of the second half, scoring two minutes into the half, before adding two more in a four-minute span not long after. Despite being down by three goals, the U.S. was able to swing the momentum back to their side and peppered the German goal for the last 20 minutes, unlucky to only come away with only one goal.

“We were pleased with the 0-0 score at halftime, but I think we just let our guard down early in the second half,” said U.S. Under-20 head coach Thomas Rongen. “You have to give Germany a lot of credit as they were in a big pressure game. I’m disappointed we couldn’t come away with any points, but now we’ll just look ahead to South Korea and do our best to advance to the second round.”

After pushing forward directly from the opening whistle, Germany won a free kick in the 46th minute when defender Zak Whitbread was given a caution for a dangerous tackle on the right flank. Ioannis Masmanidis served in a dangerous free kick into the box, which was nicked by U.S. midfielder Ricardo Clark before going over the endline.

On the ensuing corner kick, Masmanidis crossed in a tepid ball, which was headed out, only to fall to Piotr Trochowski, who fired a clumsy shot that was deflected high into the air towards the goal. U.S. goalkeeper Steve Cronin came out to try and stab it out of the air, but defender Robert Huth beat him to it and nodded the ball off the underside of the crossbar and into the net.

The U.S. tried to keep up with Germany’s pressure and got a chance of their own in the 51st minute. Clark quickly played a free kick from midfield up the ride sideline to Justin Mapp, who dished off to Convey wide-open about 30 yards from goal. Convey collected the ball and tried from the long distance, but ‘keeper Alexander Walke was able to drop to his left to collect the low drive.

Germany had another good opportunity a minute later as Sebastian Kneissl’s header from a Trochowski cross went barely over the bar, but for most of the next five minutes the U.S. began to look like it would find the equalizer.

In the 57th minute, Mapp dispossessed a German defender 40-yards from goal, and then found Convey in midfield. Convey did well to push the ball around the last defender, but he put a bit too much on it, as Walke was able to beat him to it and deny a chance on goal.

A minute later, forward Ed Johnson was stoned by Walke in a one-on-one opportunity. Defender C.J. Klass started the attack by putting in a swift ball from the backline to the feet of Convey at midfield. Convey turned and slotted the ball through the German defense straight-ahead to Johnson, who had timed his run beautifully. With just the keeper to beat, Johnson’s shot couldn’t find the back of the net as Walke’s sliding save cleared the ball from danger.

Germany solidified their lead shortly thereafter, getting goals from Trochowski in the 60th minute and in the 63rd from forward Sebastian Kneissl. Trochowski gave the German’s a two goal lead with a blistering right-footed shot from the top of the arch that beat Cronin to his left, finding the lower-right hand corner.

Three minutes later, the U.S. found itself in an even bigger hole when Matthias Lehmann collected the ball at midfield, raced towards goal and laid a through ball to his right for an onrushing Kneissl. The forward had found space between the defense and slotted the ball past Cronin from 12 yards out.

Needing extra firepower to try and get back into the match, Rongen looked to his bench and brought on midfielder Ned Grabavoy to replace Klass (65th minute) and Freddy Adu for Mike Magee (73rd) up front. The U.S. changed to a 3-4-3, with defender Ryan Cochrane playing left back and Santino Quaranta moving up to forward from his right midfield position.

The U.S. began to see instant results from the fresh legs, dominating play and putting the German defense on their heels for the rest of the match.

In the 74th minute, Convey sent in a free kick from the right sideline that found defender Chad Marshall at the far post, but his header went wide left.

Three minutes later, Adu’s addition to the match bore fruit as the 14-year-old drew a foul from a German defender 35 yards from goal, setting up a free kick. Convey served in a low drive towards the near post finding Whitbread, who hit a one-timer with his left foot over the 'keeper and into the roof of the net. The goal was the first international strike for Whitbread with the U.S. Under-20 MNT.

With the U.S. pushing for another, Germany came inches from swinging the momentum back to their side as they almost scored on a counter attack. With only Grabavoy back, Masmanidis found forward Alexander Ludwig all alone in the middle of the field. Ludwig raced in on Cronin and tried to chip the ‘keeper, but he managed to reach up his left paw and collect the ball, while seated on the ground.

The U.S. had one last chance a minute into extra time as substitute David Johnson put a through ball into the penalty area for Convey, who tricked the defenders into thinking he’d shoot before pushing it to his left to a wide-open Adu. Unfortunately for the U.S., Adu’s attempt was cleared off the line by German captain Benjamin Wingerter.

In the first half of play, the U.S. held Germany to only one shot on goal and had the better of opportunities to take the lead, including another shot that was cleared off the line by Wingerter.

The best chance came in the 17th minute as Johnson provided Convey with a ball down the left flank. Convey ran it down and put in an early service right in front of the goalmouth that Magee lunged for, but couldn’t get a piece of. Mapp, crashing the far post, was able to collect the ball and looked to shoot, but with no angle dropped it back to Magee, who put a shot on goal that was cleared off the line by Wingereter. The ball fell to Mapp again, but this time his drop pass intended for Johnson was picked off.

- U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Game Report -

Participants:  U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team vs. Germany
Competition:  2003 FIFA World Youth Championship
Location:  Al-Nahyan Stadium; Abu Dhabi, UAE
Date:  December 1, 2003
Weather:  Warm; 85 degrees

Scoring Summary:
                                               1st     2nd     Final
United States                            0        1          1
Germany                                    0        3          3

GER – Robert Huth (Piotr Trochowski)                 47th minute
GER – Piotr Trochowski                                          60.
GER – Sebastian Kneissl (Matthias Lehmann)    63.
USA – Zak Whitbread (Bobby Convey)                77.

USA – 1-Steve Cronin; 2-Zak Whitbread, 4-Chad Marshall, 5-Ryan Cochrane, 8-C.J. Klass (19-Ned Grabavoy, 65); 3-Justin Mapp, 10-Bobby Convey (Capt.), 11-Ricardo Clark, 9-Santino Quaranta (15-David Johnson, 87); 7-Ed Johnson, 13-Mike Magee (12-Freddy Adu, 73)
Subs not used: 6-Jordan Stone, 14-Clint Dempsey, 16-Drew Moor, 17-Knox Cameron, 18-Ford Williams, 20-Jordan Harvey.

GER – 1-Alexander Walke; 2-Christian Lell (20-Alexander Ludwig, 46), 3-Alexander Meyer (18-Patrick Milchraum, 46), 4-Robert Huth, 5-Benjamin Wingerter, 14-Malik Fathi (6-Michael Rundio, 72); 7-Piort Trochowski, 8-Christian Schulz, 10-Ioannis Masmanidis, 16-Matthias Lehmann; 9-Sebastian Kneissl.
Subs not used: 12-Markus Gruenberger, 13-Christian Pander, 15-Sofian Chahed, 17-Dennis Buehrer, 19-Erdal Kilicaslan, Injured: 11-Denni Patschinsky

Statistical Summary:
                        USA      GER
Shots                 10          17
Shots on goal      6            8
Saves                  5            5
Corner Kick        3            6
Fouls                 16          16
Offside               5            2

Misconduct Summary:
GER – Ioannis Masmanidis (caution)    15th minute
USA – Zak Whitbread (caution)             46.
USA – Santino Quaranta (caution)        51.

Referee: Wilson Souza (BRA)
Assistant Referee: Ednilson Corona (BRA)
Assistant Referee: Aristeu Tavares (BRA)
4th Official: Horacio Elizondo (ARG)

2003 FIFA World Youth Championship – Group F

Team              GP     W     L     T      GF    GA     GD     Pts
South Korea    2        1      1      0       2        1        +1        3
USA                 2        1      1      0       4        4         E         3
Germany         2        1      1       0       3        3         E        3
Paraguay        2        1      1       0       2        3        -1        3

Nov. 29
USA 3, Paraguay 1
Germany 0, South Korea 2

Dec. 2
USA 1, Germany 3
South Korea 0,  Paraguay 1

Dec. 5
Germany vs. Paraguay    5:45 p.m. local (8:45 a.m ET)
USA vs. South Korea    8:30 p.m. local (11:30 a.m. ET)