OTTAWA, Canada (July 6, 2007) - The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team won their group for the third straight time at the FIFA U-20 World Cup this evening with a 2-1 victory against Brazil behind two Josmer Altidore goals at Frank Clair Stadium in Ottawa, Canada. Freddy Adu was credited with both assists as the U.S. went undefeated in group play (2-0-1) in their second straight U-20 World Cup.
The U.S. will travel to Toronto on Saturday in preparation for their Round of 16 game on Wednesday, July 11 at 7:45 p.m., which will be against the third-pace finisher from either Group B, E or F.
Both U.S. goals came from Altidore on either side of halftime, with the first coming in the 25th minute when Adu took advantage of a poorly trapped ball, touched it to Altidore and the forward capitalized from 18 yards out. Brazil temporarily tied the game at one in the 64th minute, when Leandro Lima capitalized on rebound, but Adu and Altidore connected once again in the 82nd minute for the game-winner. Altidore now has three goals for the U.S. in three games, tying him with Adu, Danny Szetela and Argentina’s Sergia Aguero for the tournament lead.
The U.S. held on for their first win over Brazil in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in four attempts. With Poland and South Korea drawing, 1-1, Poland is assured of advancing to the Round of 16 as the second-place team from Group D with four points. Brazil, the third-place finisher with three points in the group must wait to see if they are one of four third-place teams who will advance to the knock-out stages.
“Anytime you go up against Brazil you know it will be a tough match and tonight was no different,” said U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Thomas Rongen. “We battled with them throughout the match and I’m extremely proud of how the guys played tonight. To me this was clearly the toughest group in the tournament and I think the results have shown that. All four teams had to perform at their highest level each and every game.”
The Americans started the game on the attack, earning three straight corner kicks in the fourth minute, but couldn’t convert from either side of the goal. In the 11th minute, Sal Zizzo played a slotted ball to Michael Bradley outside of the box, but Bradley’s long-range shot went into the hands of Casio. Just a minute later, Robbie Rogers, in what has become his signature move, cut the ball inside from the left flank and fired a shot that seemed bound for the upper corner of the goal, but Casio made the diving save.
Brazil put the pressure on in the 14th minute when Jo carried the ball into the box, but Anthony Wallace was there to shut him down. In the 20th minute, Brazil came on a counterattack and Renato Augusto made his way into the right side of the box before Nathan Sturgis slowed him down and eventually won the ball away.
Altidore’s first goal in the 25th minute came when Adu tracked back and won a ball from a Brazilian defender. The Real Salt Lake midfielder deflected it to Altidore’s feet and the 17-year-old forward took a couple of touches toward goal before firing a low shot that went to the far post to beat Brazilian goalkeeper Casio.
The Brazilians increased their pressure even more after they found themselves down a goal, but U.S. goalkeeper Chris Seitz and his defense were able to smother every opportunity in the first half.
In the second half, Brazil got off to an early start as they looked for the equalizer. Alexandre Pato played a dangerous free kick into the wall and had the ball picked off his feet by Seitz inside the box. Augusto took a dangerous free kick in the 55th minute from 30 yards out, but again Seitz made the save.
Then it was the American’s turn again. In the 56th minute Zizzo carried the ball to the endline and played the ball in front of the net, but his teammates couldn’t get a foot on it for a shot. A minute later, it was Zizzo again, playing a high cross into the box that went over the outstretched fingers of Casio, but also over the head of Adu, who was running to the far post.
Brazil found the equalizer in the 64th minute, when Lima capitalized on a shot by his teammate that Seitz was unable to control. Lima jumped on the rebound and slotted it into the open goal.
Going into the final 10 minutes, it was the U.S. that first looked to push into the attack for the game-winner and eventually, Adu and Altidore connected for the second time on the night. This time, Adu carried the ball along the touchline, looked up and played a ball that deflected off a defender and fell to a streaking Altidore. With no one around him, Altidore fired a one-time shot past Casio from six yards out.
Brazil came close to tying the game at two goals apiece in the in the 86th minute after a corner kick. Seitz had punched the ball out, but it came back to Pato. Seitz made a point-blank save and gave up a rebound. The second shot came high and this time Seitz was able to hold on.
“I think this is the best group in the tournament," said Adu. "Some of the teams in the other groups are tough but we couldn’t be prouder of coming out of this group on top. Right now we’re riding high and playing well and we just have to keep it going. We have to keep working hard, because the harder you work the luckier you get.”
- U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Game Report -
Participants: USA vs. Brazil
Competition: FIFA Under-20 World Cup
Location: Frank-Clair Stadium – Ottawa, Canada
Date: July 6, 2007
1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
BRA 0 1 1
USA – Josmer Altidore (Freddy Adu) 25th minute.
BRA – Leandro Lima (unassisted) 64.
USA – Josmer Altidore (Freddy Adu) 81.
USA: 1-Chris Seitz; 5-Nathan Sturgis, 14-Athony Wallace, 13 – Ofori Sarkodi, 19-Tony Beltran (2-Tim Ward, 89); 6-Michael Bradley, 7-Danny Szetela, 11-Freddy Adu (c); 8-Robbie Rogers (4-Amaechi Igwe, 82), 12-Josmer Altidore (10-Dax McCarty, 92), 15 – Sal Zizzo
Subs not used:, 3-Bryan Arguez, , 9-Preston Zimmerman, 16-Julian Valentin, 17-Gabe Ferrari, 18-Brian Perk, 20-Andre Akpan, 21-Steve Sandbo
Head Coach: Thomas Rongen
BRA: 1 – Casio; 3-Luizao, 6-Marcelo, 13-Amaral, 15-Edson; 5-Roberto, 10-Renato Augusto (18-Carlos Eduardo, 71), 17-Ji Parana (c) (7-Willian ,84), 20-Leandro Lima (19-Luiz Adriano, 78); 9-Jo, 11-Alexandre Pato
Subs not used:2-Eduardo, 8 – Marcone, 12-Muriel, 14-David, 16-Carlao, 21-Felipe
Not eligible: 4-David Marinho
Head Coach: Nelson Rodrigues
Shots 12 23
Shots on goal 8 15
Saves 14 6
Fouls 25 13
Corner Kicks 7 4
Offside 2 2
BRA – Edson (caution) 46th minute.
BRA – Alexandre Pato (caution) 52.
USA – Michael Bradley (caution) 59.
USA – Freddy Adu (caution) 60.
USA – Amaechi Igwe (caution) 94+.
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (ESP)
1st Assistant: Fermin Martinez (ESP)
2nd Assistant: Juan Carlos Yuste Jimenez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Mauricio Navarro (CAN)
Sierra Mist Man of the Match: Josmer Altidore