"We're very much aware that Spain is one of the top teams in this tournament," said U.S. head coach Sigi Schmid. "But we've demonstrated in our three games that we play our best when we're under pressure to get a result, so I think this will be a good match for us."
The U.S. team played Spain earlier this year (January 26) during the 1999 Copa de Atlantico in the Canary Islands, and lost to the Europeans, 1-0. Spain topped Nigeria '99s Group E by defeating Brazil (2-0) and Honduras (3-1), and tying Zambia (0-0). The Spaniards are led by star midfielder Gabri, who scored both goals against Brazil, and forwards Francisco Yeste and Pablo.
Following is a look at how the match-ups break down through the quarterfinals of the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship in Nigeria.
|1999 FIFA WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP|
Second Round Match-Ups
|#||April 14, 1999||City||Kickoff||Quarterfinal Pairings|
|(6)||Ireland vs. Nigeria||Kano||11 a.m. ET||Meet Game 5 winner April 18 in Enugu (11 a.m. ET)|
|(8)||Ghana vs. Costa Rica||Kaduna||11 a.m. ET||Meet Game 7 winner April 18 in Kaduna (2 p.m. ET)|
|(1)||Paraguay vs. Uruguay||Lagos||2 p.m. ET||Meet Game 2 winner April 18 in Lagos (11 a.m. ET)|
|(2)||Brazil vs. Croatia||Calabar||2 p.m. ET||Meet Game 1 winner April 18 in Lagos (11 a.m. ET)|
|#||April 15, 1999||City||Kickoff||Quarterfinal Pairings|
|(7)||Spain vs. United States||Port Harcourt||11 a.m. ET||Meet Game 8 winner April 18 in Kaduna (2 p.m. ET)|
|(3)||Japan vs. Portugal||Bauchi||11 a.m. ET||Meet Game 4 winner April 18 in Ibadan (2 p.m. ET)|
|(4)||Mexico vs. Argentina||Ibadan||2 p.m. ET||Meet Game 3 winner April 18 in Ibadan (2 p.m. ET)|
|(5)||Mali vs. Cameroon||Enugu||2 p.m. ET||Meet Game 6 winner April 18 in Enugu (11 a.m. ET)|
|Sunday, April 18|
|Paraguay/Uruguay winner vs. Brazil/Croatia winner||Lagos||4 p.m. (11 a.m. ET)|
|Mali/Cameroon winner vs. Ireland/Nigeria winner||Enugu||4 p.m. (11 a.m. ET)|
|Japan/Portugal winner vs. Mexico/Argentina winner||Ibadan||7 p.m. (2 p.m. ET)|
|Spain/USA winner vs. Ghana/Costa Rica winner||Kaduna||7 p.m. (2 p.m. ET)|
|How they got here...|
First Round Results in the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship
|United States (Second Place, Group E)||Spain (First Place, Group F)|
|Date||Opponent||Result||U.S. Goal Scorers||Opponent||Result||Spain Goal Scorers|
|April 5||England||1-0 W||Dan Califf||Brazil||2-0 W||Gabri (2)|
|April 8||Japan||1-3 L||Ryan Futagaki||Zambia||0-0 T||--|
|April 11||Cameroon||3-1 W||Taylor Twellman (2),|
|Honduras||3-1 W||Pablo, Fernando|
SECOND ROUND BERTH NOT UNEXPECTED: The U.S. team fully intended on advancing out of the opening round in Nigeria, even though Group E proved to have the most parity among the four teams. Group E was the only group that had three separate teams (Japan, USA and Cameroon) on six points at the end of the round-robin play. Including Nigeria '99, the U.S. has now advanced into the second round of each of the last four World Youth Championships it has competed in - Saudi Arabia '89, Australia '93, Malaysia '97 and Nigeria '99.
BETTERING THE TWO WIN MARK: One milestone the U.S. has set for itself is to be the first U.S. team to win more than two matches at the World Youth Championship. The 1989 squad won two matches (2-0 over East Germany and 2-1 over Iraq in the quarterfinals) en route to a semifinal appearance. The U.S. will be shooting for win number three on Thursday against Spain.
GOLDEN GOAL RULE IN PLACE: As the tournament is now in the knockout phase, matches that end in a draw will go into overtime. The overtime period will consist of two, fifteen-minute periods which will be immediately stopped if one team should score the "golden goal." The "Golden Goal" rule has been used by FIFA since the 1993 World Youth Championship in Australia and become a regular feature of FIFA's youth competitions, Olympic football competitions, Confederations Cup and World Cup. In the USA's only overtime match played in a world youth championship, the '89 U.S. team in Saudi Arabia lost 2-1 to Nigeria in the semifinals of the tournament. That match was NOT decided by the "Golden Goal."
AN ATTACKING MENTALITY? A WINNING MENTALITY: After 36, opening-round matches in Nigeria, the clear choice for most teams has been to play an attacking brand of soccer. In these 36 matches, 102 goals have been scored, an average of 2.83 goals scored per match. Additionally, there were only three matches that ended scoreless, and six in total that ended in a draw. Brazil led all teams with 8 goals in the opening round, while three teams scored six goals (Japan, Ireland and Croatia) and a further five teams (United States, Paraguay, Ghana, Spain and Mexico) found the net five times.