CHICAGO (Thursday, August 30, 2001) - The United States Under-17 Men's National Team will continue its preparations for the FIFA Under-17 World Championship in Trinidad & Tobago with two matches against the finalists from the 1999 tournament, facing Brazil on September 2 at 4 p.m. and Australia on September 6 at 4 p.m. Both matches will take place at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
The match against Brazil, the 1999 FIFA Under-17 World Champions, on Sept. 2 will be the first international match for U.S. coach John Ellinger's squad since a 2-1 win against Switzerland in Zurich on May 30. The U.S. enters the match against Brazil with a record 10-game international winning streak.
"You had to go to New Zealand and the 1999 World Championship finals to find Brazil and Australia two years ago," Ellinger said. "Playing against teams of this quality can only help us as we look ahead to Trinidad & Tobago."
Brazil and Australia have each played in seven of the last eight Under-17 World Championships, and both easily qualified for the 2001 edition. Australia went undefeated and outscored their opponents 52-0 in six qualifying matches.
Brazil, the class of South American youth soccer, went undefeated in seven qualifiers, outscoring their opponents 13-2 in five wins and two draws. With an unprecedented soccer history, Brazil will be among the favorites when the World Championship kicks off on Sept. 13. The South Americans won the Under-17 World Championship in 1997 and 1999, after finishing second in 1995.
The U.S. team should be bolstered by the return of Santino Quaranta and Ed Johnson, who rejoined the Under-17s earlier this week after spending much of the year with their MLS teams. D.C. United's Quaranta has been one of the surprises of the MLS season, scoring five goals in 16 matches and playing all 90 minutes at the MLS All-Star Game in July. Johnson, who played with the Dallas Burn, scored twice in his first season with the Burn.
The United States will train in Bradenton, Fla., until Sept. 9, when they will fly to Tobago in advance of their Sept. 14 opening match against Japan. The team will continue first round play on Sept. 16 against France (6:30 p.m. ET) and Sept. 19 against Nigeria (5 p.m. ET). All three of the USA's first round matches will take place at Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago.
Brazil and Australia will play in Group A of the World Championship, where they will be joined by Croatia and the hosts, Trinidad & Tobago. In the quarterfinals, the winner of Group A plays the second-place team in Group B, and the winner of Group B will play the second-place team in group A. That makes it very possible that the United States will face Brazil or Australia in the quarterfinals on September 23 in Tobago.