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U.S. Under-20 MNT World Youth Championship Notes - Dec. 11, 2003

U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team
2003 FIFA World Youth Championship
Dec. 11, 2003 -- Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

WIN OR GO HOME: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team knows what’s on the line. Defeat the defending champs and move onto the semifinals. Or, begin packing directly after their game for an unpleasant 20+ hour trip home. The U.S. will try to delay that trip as long as possible when it plays Argentina tomorrow 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 watching the rest of the World Youth Championship on their couch, 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 UAE 1, Australia 0
Dec. 9 Spain 1, Paraguay 0
Dec. 9 Colombia 3, Rep. of Ireland 2 (OT)
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)

DREAMING OF ARGENTINA: The halls of the Armed Forces Officers Club were eerily quite this morning as the majority of the U.S. Under-20 MNT players were snug in their bed catching up on some sleep. Some of the players trudged down to the dining area for a bit of breakfast, but were quick to get under the covers again with their daily practice not scheduled until this evening. Considering the U.S. has been concentrating on Argentina not stop since the moment they beat Ivory Coast, the defending champs must have been in their dreams. No screams were heard, so hopefully that means there weren’t any nightmares, only sweet dreams of an U.S. victory.

NICE PLACE MOHAMMED: The U.S. Under-20 MNT held their last practice before facing Argentina this evening at the newly-built Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The 15,000-seat stadium is an ultra-modern complex that was built to FIFA specifications for the World Youth Championship. The stadium also includes a hotel, media center with the most up-to-date computers, a television studio and more. The complex is about 12 miles from the center of the city.

MEDIA FRENZY: How do you spell Klass? Who is your captain? Who does the number seven play for professionally? The local and international reporters have been asking question after question as they do their best to find out about the U.S. Under-20 MNT, which surprised them by advancing to the quarterfinals. While the players haven’t batted an eye during their run, they took the time today to talk to numerous media outlets the past two days and provide them with the information they need.

MRS. CRONIN TALKS TRASH: Players are always keenly aware when talking to the media that what you say can easily get back to the other team, providing a bit of billboard material in their locker room. On the other hand, parents haven’t been prepped as much, which was evident this afternoon when starting goalkeeper Steve Cronin’s mom, Jan, was asked a question by a reporter from Dubai Sports Channel. Cronin’s parents are one of the few that made the trip to overseas, and this afternoon when he was being interviewed he decided to introduce his parents to the people of UAE. When the reporter asked how she thought the U.S. would fare against Argentina, she simply remarked, "We’re going to give it to Argentina!" Okay, so it’s doubtful the Argentineans watch the program, hear her statement and use it as fuel against the U.S. on Friday. Plus, as Jan said, "What do mothers know?"

SCORING GOALS AND STOPPING GOALS: The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team goalkeeper Steve Cronin and forward Ed Johnson are lined up on opposite ends of the field, but the two have come together during the team's four games in the FIFA World Youth Championship to lead the U.S. to the quarterfinals. Johnson has put points up on the board with four goals, placing him tied for first in the tournament, while Cronin has kept points off the board by picking up clean sheets in the past two matches. The two U.S. leaders took a few minutes to talk about the Under-20s match-up with Argentina on Friday, Dec. 12 at 9 p.m. in Abu Dhabi, making one thing obvious: they will not be backing down when they take the field with the defending champions. Click here for more.

JOHNSON TOP GOAL SCORER: With his penalty in the USA's 2-0 win over Cote D’Ivoire in the quarterfinas, Ed Johnson became the USA’s top scorer at any FIFA World Youth Championship with 4 goals – equalling Taylor Twellman’s tally in 1999. Johnson also joins Argentina’s Javier Saviola (in 2001) with three penalties scored in one finals, which is tops in FIFA World Youth Championship history.


World Youth Championship Facts:
Games Played
– 50
Wins – 36
Losses – 11
Ties – 3
Goals Scored – 107
Goals Against – 40
Points – 111
Tournaments – 1979, 1981, 1983, 1989, 1991, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001
Best Finish – 1979, 1995, 1997, 2001 (1st Place)
Against U.S. – No previous meetings in WYC

STRIKING DUO: Argentina is led up front by strikers Fernando Cavenaghi and Leandro Fernandez, who both have three goals apiece in the tournament to date. Against Egypt, Cavenaghi showed why he’s the team’s captain, scoring both goals in Argentina’s 2-1 win in the quarterfinal match. The River Plate forward, nicknamed "Torito" (little bull) or "Tanque" (the tank), will definitely be watched closely by the U.S. defense.

ARGENTINA TIED WITH 8 GOALS: With eight goals in four games, Argentina is the only other team still alive with as many tallies as the U.S. in the World Youth Championship.

NO LOSSES: Argentina is the only team that has won all of its matches here in UAE. In group play, the Argentineans came from behind to beat Spain 2-1, toppled Uzbekistan 2-1, and won the group with nine points by beating Mali 3-1. Against Egypt in the Round of 16 they were pushed to overtime, but came away with the golden goal for a 2-1 victory.

CAUTIONED DEFENDERS: Of the six defenders on Argentina’s squad, four will be carrying a yellow card into Friday’s match against the U.S. Against Egypt, starting defenders Gonzalo Rodriguez, Osmar Ferreyra, Mauricio Romero, and reserve Jonathan Bottinelli all received a caution.


Argentina directly qualified for the World Youth Championship after winning the South American Youth Championship title earlier this year in Uruguay. In the first round, Argentina struggled as they barely got past Colombia, Chile and Paraguay, and lost to Venezuela. The second round was a different story though, as they stepped it up to down Brazil and win the title. During the entire qualifying stage, Argentina scored 15 goals, while only giving up five.

Group B
gp w l t gf:ga pts
Argentina 4 3 1 0 7:3 9
Colombia 4 3 1 0 7:3 9
Paraguay 4 2 2 0 7:10 6
Chile 4 1 3 0 4:6 3
Venezuela 4 1 3 0 1:4 3

Jan. 6, 2003 Argentina 2, Colombia 1
Jan. 8, 2003 Chile 0, Argentina 1
Jan. 10, 2003 Argentina 0, Venezuela 1
Jan. 14, 2003 Paraguay 1, Argentina 4

Final Round
gp w l t gf:ga pts
Argentina 3 3 0 2 8:2 11
Brazil 3 3 1 1 8:5 10
Paraguay 3 2 0 3 8:6 9
Colombia 3 2 2 1 9:7 7
Uruguay 5 1 3 1 6:8 4
Ecuador 5 0 5 0 4:15 0

Final Round Results
Jan. 16, 2003 Uruguay 1, Argentina 1
Jan. 20, 2003 Argentina 4, Ecuador 0
Jan. 23, 2003 Brazil 0, Argentina 1
Jan. 25, 2003 Paraguay 1, Argentina 1
Jan. 25, 2003 Colombia 2, Uruguay 1
Jan. 28, 2003 Argentina 1, Colombia 0