Sunday, January 25, 2015

World Cup, Here We Come!

The U.S. U-20s survived a scare against El Salvador coming away with a 2-0 victory and in doing so, punched their ticket to the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand this summer. The U.S. opened the scoring in the first half when Ben Spencer headed home a rebound into an open net, but El Salvador wouldn't go down quietly. Keeper Zack Steffen denied Jose Villavicencio on a penalty kick in the second half to keep the game 1-0 before substitute Paul Arriola slotted home the insurance goal in the 68th minute.

So now the U.S. gets to prep for the June World Cup. It's an interesting list of countries that will be playing in it too. While South America and Africa are still yet to determine their representatives, powerhouses Spain, England, Italy, the Netherlands, Japan, France, Belgium, Costa Rica and Australia all failed to qualify. Instead we'll see Myanmar, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Fiji, Hungary and Austria. Now there's still Germany and Portugal and Mexico and whoever comes out of South America and Africa, so it's not like there's nobody there, but you have to think that the U.S. should at least be competitive. The draw will be determined next month, stay tuned.

As for the rest of the CONCACAF U-20 tournament, Honduras defeated Guatemala 2-1 to clinch their World Cup berth while Mexico defeated Panama on penalties 4-2 to win the tournament. The U.S.'s Romain Gall shared the Golden Boot with Mexico's Hirving Lozano while Gall and defender Shaquell Moore both earned spots in the tournament's Best XI. Mexico (4) and Panama (5) filled out the rest of the roster.


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