U.S. Under-20 Men Arrive in Buenos Aires to Face Egypt in Round of 16
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Wed., June 27 -- 9 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. CT / 7 p.m. MT (except Arizona)
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%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%ESKANDARIAN AND ESKANDARIAN: When Alecko Eskandarian left Mendoza on Monday morning, he left behind a small part of his family history. Eskandarian's father, Andranik Eskandarian, played for Iran in the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, and played in Iran's first three games at the Stadium Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza - the same venue that the U.S. played their Groiup C matches in. Eskandarian's father returned to Mendoza with his wife, Anna, to take in the USA's three matches. Eskandarian and his father were a very popular topic among Argentina journalists during the USA's time in Mendoza. Alecko saw time in all three of the USA's first round games. Andranik also played in the NASL with the New York Cosmos.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%U.S. TEAM LEAVES ITS FIRST HOME: After the USA's 1-1 draw with Ukraine on Saturday, the U.S. spent Sunday in Mendoza, before departing for Buenos Aires on Monday morning. Suhnholz gave his team the day off on Sunday, and many of the players spent time with their families and others walked around Mendoza on their final day in the city. After a short delay, the U.S. boarded its flight to Buenos Aires Monday afternoon, arriving in Buenos Aires late Monday afternoon. The team arrived at the hotel, dropped their bags and departed for a training session just outside of the shadow of River Plate's stadium. The U.S. went through an intense 90-minute session that saw most of the time spent in a 9 v 9 scrimmage under the training field lights.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%TUESDAY'S TRAINING SESSION: The U.S. team boarded a bus at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, and traveled to Velez Sarsfield's Jose Amalfitani Stadium, where the U.S. will take on Egypt on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. local time. Due to a security mix-up, the U.S. was not able to walk on the stadium field, but the team did see the field and huge stadium that is known as the "Fortress." The players and staff also took some time to look around the stadium lobby and saw trophies from the famed club's past.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%"IVERSON CLONE": DaMarcus Beasley drew attention to himself after breaking out for two goals in the first half of the USA's 4-1 win against Chile on June 20. Journalists were fascinated by Beasley's pace, skill and - more than anything else, his hairstyle. Beasley wears his hair in cornrows, much like many NBA players wore this year. One of the headlines the morning after the U.S. - Chile match read, "Iverson Clone Scores Twice For U.S.". The Mendoza media took to calling him "Little Iverson", as did many of the fans.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%D.J. COUNTESS FAN CLUB: During the USA's stay in Mendoza, D.J. Countess became a favorite among the people of Mendocino. He was named the "Cutest Player of the Tournament" by a local newspaper, and he was surrounded by autograph hounds almost anywhere he went. The outgoing goalkeeper broke down the language barrier with his smile and his stellar play during the first three matches. While giving away a shirt after the 1-1 draw with Ukraine, Countess nearly set off a riot, as a crowd of females dove under a restraining bar for the shirt.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%U.S. WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: The United States is participating in the FIFA World Youth Championship for the eighth time, and have finished in the top 16 in each of the previous seven tournaments. The USA has only advanced to the quarterfinals two previous times, finishing eighth in 1993 and a U.S. Soccer-best fourth in 1989, when Kasey Keller was awarded the tournament's Silver Ball.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%EGYPT STUNS FINLAND, 2-1: Heading into the final Group A match of the tournament, Finland needed only a draw against Egypt to advance to the final 16. But Egypt surprised the Europeans en route to a 2-0 lead and a 2-1 final score, sending the Finns home and Egypt through to the second round and a match against the United States. Gamal Hamza scored from the penalty spot in the 10th minute, and Wael Reyad beat the offsides trap and scored on a breakaway in the 62nd minute. Finland's Daniel Sjolund pulled one back in the 74th minute, but the Finns were unable to secure an equalizer and a pass through to the next round.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%EGYPT IN ROUND OF 16: Egypt has advanced to only two World Youth Championships, finishing eighth in 1981 (Australia) and ninth in 1991 (Portugal). Egypt advanced to the final 16 after a scoreless draw with Jamaica (June 17), a 7-1 thumping at the hands of Argentina (June 20) and a 2-1 win against Finland (June 23).
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%INTERESTING MATCH-UPS SET FOR TOURNAMENT'S SECOND ROUND: The real tournament begins on June 27, when the remaining 16 teams play 16 games to determine the 2001 World Youth Champion. All 16 teams are just four wins away from the title, but that number will drop to eight teams being three wins from the title after June 28. The knock-out portion of the tournament has presented some interesting match-ups in the following rounds. Argentina will face China, in a rematch of a game played one year ago in Hong Kong where China beat a less than full-strength Argentina squad. Traditional European powers France and Germany also face off in the first round in a game between the UEFA champions and third-place team. The winner of the Argentina-China match will face the France-Germany winner in the quarterfinals in Buenos Aires on July 1.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%STAT OF THE DAY: In each of the USA's last five World Youth Championships, the U.S. has been knocked out of the tournament by the tournament champions or runner-ups. In 1987 the U.S. fell to West Germany 2-1, and West Germany went on to finish second. In 1989 the U.S. lost in the semifinals to runner-up Nigeria 2-1 in overtime, and the North Americans lost 3-0 to champions Brazil in 1993. Tournament runner-up Uruguay topped the USA 3-0 in 1997, and the U.S. lost to champion Spain in the Round of 16 in 1999.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"I hope they (Argentina) stay in because if you want to be the best you have to beat the best. I was getting excited when we tied Ukraine to get a chance to play Argentina in Argentina in Buenos Aires. I am fired up for Egypt the same, but I would love to play Argentina."