The U-20 World Cup got under way in New Zealand last night as the United States picked up the only three points of the first four matches.
The U.S. squad looked out of sync but still managed a 2-1 comeback win over Myanmar highlighted by Emerson Hyndman’s stellar attacking play. Here is a roundup of the first four matches.
New Zealand 0-0 Ukraine
The hosts got things in Group A under way with a disappointing draw for both sides, with few solid chances on goal. New Zealand’s best chance came in second-half stoppage time as Sam Brotherton found himself in on goal but headed his chance wide with just the goalkeeper to beat. The draw leaves the U.S. atop Group A after the first round of play, but shows the team will need to be organized in the attack to beat either side’s solid defenses.
United States 2-1 Myanmar
The U.S. picked up the first three points of the tournament as they came from behind to beat Myanmar. The Asian country is in its first World Cup at any level, and they opened the scoring just nine minutes in on a busted corner play that goalkeeper Zack Steffen bobbled.
While the United States looked disjointed and broken at times, they mustered a comeback on an equalizer from Maki Tall on a corner of their own, and Emerson Hyndman scored the winner early into the second half. The U.S. will take on New Zealand at 3am ET on June 2 before finishing out group play against Ukraine in the wee hours of June 5.
Argentina 2-2 Panama
The other CONCACAF playoff qualifying team picked up an impressive 2-2 draw against Argentina thanks to a stunning goal by Jhamal Rodriguez and a late equalizer by Fidel Escobar just six minutes from the finish that canceled out a brace by Angel Correa. Both sides could have had more were it not for some impressive goalkeeping by each team, including one incredible stop by Panama’s Jamie de Gracia that prevented a Tomas Martinez from completing an amazing turn-and-shoot in the box.
Austria 1-1 Ghana
A stoppage-time penalty converted by Ghana’s Yaw Yeboah earned the Africans a late point as Group B finished its opening round all even at one each. It canceled out a fabulous individual goal by Bernd Gschweidl in the 64th minute that saw him shrug off an initial defender at the edge of the box, collecting the rebound on his initial shot, and completing the score as traffic arrived. But Yeboah was tripped in the box late and he struck home a powerful low penalty to even it up in added time.
Qatar vs. Colombia
Portugal vs. Senegal
Mexico vs. Mali
Uruguay vs. Serbia