US hammer New Zealand to reach U20 World Cup quarters

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This young U.S. team is pretty darn good.

The U.S. U-20 national team beat New Zealand 6-0 in Incheon, South Korea on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the 2017 U-20 World Cup.

A first half goal from Josh Sargent (his fourth of the tournament) set the U.S. on their way, with Jeremy Ebobisse, Brooks Lennon, Justin Glad, Auston Trusty and Lagos Kunga adding a goal each in the second half to put some extra gloss on the scoreline.

Without the suspended trio of Cameron Carter-Vickers, Aaron Herrera and Derrick Jones, Tab Ramos’ men strolled into the last eight where they will face a much tougher test against Venezuela on Sunday.

[ MORE: Latest U-20 World Cup news

The U.S. started brightly as Lennon skipped past one defender but then hammered over the bar and although New Zealand always carried a threat on the counter, the longer the first half went on the more likely the U.S. seemed to take the lead.

They did just that in the 32nd minute as a corner from the right was played in to Glad and he controlled before volleying towards goal through a crowd and the ball took a nick off Sargent and past Michael Woud in goal for New Zealand. 1-0 to the U.S.

Danny Acosta drilled a shot on goal which was saved well by Woud before half time and the U.S. handled a few dangerous set pieces from New Zealand with ease.

In the second half New Zealand came back into the game and captain Moses Dyer had a wonderful chance to equalize. The Kiwis broke down the right and a cutback to the penalty spot found Dyer unmarked but he scuffed his effort wide. A huge let-off for the U.S.

The U.S. then sealed the win with two goals in two minutes as Ebobisse hammered home a wonderful strike to make it 2-0 and then moments later Lennon raced clear and finished well to make it 3-0.

New Zealand never recovered and Sargent almost added a fourth but his fine turn and low shot was turned around the post by Woud.

From that corner Glad did add a fourth goal as he headed towards goal and Woud made a real mess of it. 4-0 to the USA. Game over.

Trusty then added a special strike late on as he rifled home a shot from the edge of the box after a short corner found him unmarked, and then Kunga finished off a mazy run with a cool finish to make it 6-0.

Ramos’ men will have a much tougher test next time out, but winning 6-0 in a Round of 16 game will do wonders for confidence.

VIDEO: Portugal lead Iran at HT; Spain 1-1 Morocco

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We’re through the first 45 minutes of Monday’s Group B finales at the 2018 World Cup, and things are happening. A quick rundown…

[ SCENARIOS: Who needs what, to finish where, in final round of group games ]

Andres Iniesta and Sergio Ramos combined to commit a disastrous gaffe at midfield, resulting in a goal for Khalid Boutaib in the 14th minute. At this point, Spain would have finished second, behind Portugal, and headed to the far more difficult side of the knockout bracket.

Five minutes later, it was Iniesta who, with a little help from some slightly lesser geniuses, unlocked the Moroccan defense to set up Isco for an emphatic finish. La Furia Roja moved back to the top of the group, on goals scored.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

In the afternoon’s other game, Portugal and Iran appeared destined for a 0-0 scoreline at halftime, until Ricardo Quaresma unleashed a stunning, outside-of-the-foot curler from outside the box to beat the goalkeeper and put Portugal ahead — both on the day, and in the table. As things currently stand, Portugal would win the group and Spain would finish second.

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 4

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In the fourth episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England players have been preparing for their next match in an unusual way, Argentina has a huge meltdown, and more.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

Click play on the video above to watch the fourth episode in full.

Atlanta leads way with six All-Star Fan XI selections

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It may be hard to believe with all the World Cup festivities going on, but the Major League Soccer season is nearly halfway over.

[ MORE: Toronto FC’s 2018 has been far from their cup-winning 2017 ]

And that means it’s almost All-Star time.

The MLS All-Stars will continue their recent tradition of facing a European superpower in August, with Juventus being welcomed to the United States in early August.

But, which players from MLS will we see in action?

Last season’s expansion sweetheart Atlanta United leads the way in the fan voting with six players from the Eastern Conference side voted into the Fan XI, including attackers Miguel Almiron, Ezequiel Barco, Darlington Nagbe and Josef Martinez.

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan and defender/captain Michael Parkhurst also made the team from Atlanta.

In all, only five clubs were represented based on the Fan XI, with the LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Los Angeles FC’s Carlos Vela and Laurent Ciman, Sporting KC’s Graham Zusi and Portland Timbers star Diego Valeri each rounding out the squad.


Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United)

Defenders: Michael Parkhurst (Atlanta United), Laurent Ciman (Los Angeles Football Club), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Midfielders: Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United), Ezequiel Barco (Atlanta United), Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)

Forwards: Josef Martínez (Atlanta United), Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy), Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club – EA SPORTS™ “More Than a Vote” Challenge)

Saudi Arabia steals late win over Egypt in Group A finale

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Saudi Arabia pulled off a late 2-1 win against Egypt on Monday in their Group A finale, as the two nations ended their 2018 World Cup run in the group stage.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

Salem Al Sawsari scored in the fifth minute of second half stoppage time to give the Saudis a late winner in the match, as the attacker struck the post in the dying moments before the ball crossed the line.

The Pharaohs took the lead in the 22nd minute, after a tremendous run from Mohamed Salah and lob over the Saudi Arabia goalkeeper.

Salah has two goals at the World Cup for Egypt, who were already eliminated heading into Monday’s match.

Saudi Arabia was granted a chance to equalize prior to halftime, however, goalkeeper Essam El Hadary brilliantly stopped Hattan Bahebri’s penalty kick in the 41st minute to preserve the Egypt advantage.

El Hadary became the oldest player in World Cup history to appear in a match at the age of 45.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

The Egypt keeper wasn’t as lucky the second time around though, with Salmon Al Faraj converting a penalty kick in the 51st minute.

Saudi Arabia finishes group play in third place on three points, while Egypt goes winless in its three matches.