Thanks to Jose Villarreal and Luis Gil, the U.S. U-20s are one step closer to this summer’s World Cup, with the team’s 1-0 win over Costa Rica on Friday giving the team Group A at the CONCACAF tournament in Puebla, Mexico. Now the team faces a in-and-in Tuesday against Canada in the competition’s quarterfinals.
The four quarterfinal victors will clinch spots in the 2012 U-20 World Cup, which begins in Turkey on June 21.
The U.S. had already clinched a place in the knockout round after Haiti lost to Costa Rica on Wednesday. With the victory over the Ticos, the U.S., winners of Group A, avoided the first place team in Group B. Costa Rica gets that honor, slated to play Cuba on Tuesday.
Friday’s only goal came early in the second half when Gil lofted a corner into the middle of the area. Villarreal rose uncontested to head a shot toward Jairo Monge’s goal line, the Costa Rican keeper unable to react to a well-headed ball that became the game’s only score.
Gil now has a goal and an assist in the tournament having scored in the third minute of Monday’s 2-1 victory over Haiti.
Per U.S. Soccer’s report, head coach Tab Ramos deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation against Costa Rica, a setup that featured Villarreal at its tip. Gil, Sporting KC draftee Mikey Lopez, Columbus prospects Shane O’Neill and Wil Trapp, and Chivas USA defender Juan Pablo Ocegueda were other Major League Soccer representatives in the U.S.’s starting lineup.
The tournament continues Saturday with Jamaica facing Panama while Mexico takes on El Salvador. All four teams, having already clinched spots in the quarterfinals, are jockeying for position in the knockout round.
Here are the highlights, courtesy of FOX Soccer.
Catch up on all of Friday’s EURO qualification action, as two more teams have booked a ticket to France.
Spain 4-0 Luxembourg
Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla hadn’t scored a competitive goal for Spain in more than six years, but he scored twice today to help earn his country a berth in EURO 2016. Cazorla and Paco Alcacer scored all four goals for the Spanish, while Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas became Spain’s all-time leader in assists. However, both David Silva of Manchester City and Alvaro Morata of Juventus were forced off with injuries, with Morata’s looking to be serious.
Switzerland 7-0 San Marino
Switzerland led just 1-0 at halftime, but a six-goal second half which included three penalty kicks means the Swiss have secured qualification from Group E for EURO 2016. As expected, Switzerland dominated every aspect of the match against minnows San Marino, and Vladimir Petkovic’s side had seven different goalscorers.
[ MORE: Thursday’s EURO 2016 roundup — Northern Ireland qualify ]
England 2-0 Estonia
England remained perfect in Group E, taking their ninth win from nine matches today at Wembley. Theo Walcott‘s great scoring form from Arsenal carried over to the national side, opening the scoring just before halftime. In the second half, Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy came on as a substitute and assisted to Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, who made it 2-0. With a few minutes to play, Tottenham teenager Dele Alli got a short run in his England debut.
Elsewhere in EURO qualifying
Macedonia 0-2 Ukraine
Slovakia 0-1 Belarus
Slovenia 1-1 Lithuania
Liechtenstein 0-2 Sweden
Moldova 1-2 Russia
Montenegro 2-3 Austria
After scoring five goals against Newcastle United, Sergio Aguero may have to wait a bit of time to get back to scoring in the Premier League.
The Manchester City striker lasted just 25 minutes in Argentina’s World Cup qualifier on Thursday, as he was stretchered off with a hamstring injury.
Aguero underwent testing in Argentina, and told the local media “I think I’m going to be out for a month.”
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Manchester City and Argentina teammate Nicolas Otamendi said Aguero was in tears in the dressing room, and some reports have penned the injury as a torn hamstring.
If Aguero were to be ruled out for a month, he would miss City’s Champions League clash vs. Sevilla, as well as the massive Manchester derby away at United on October 25.
To make matters worse for City supporters, David Silva was forced off after just ten minutes while playing for Spain today. Silva took a harsh challenge from behind, and hobbled off with what looked to be an ankle injury. If Silva’s injury ends up being more than just a knock, City could be without their two most important players in the attack.