U.S. U-17s advance to face Germany

August 26, 2007

ULSAN, South Korea -- The United States got second-half goals from Kirk Urso and Mykell Bates to beat Belgium 2-0 and advance to the second round of the Under-17 World Cup on Sunday.

The U.S. finished runner-up to Tunisia in Group E, where second, third and fourth were separated by goal differential. The Americans celebrated an unlikely qualification, having lost their first two games.

"Everyone had written us off after we lost to Tunisia, but we had one more chance and we took it," Bates said. "It's such a relief. Now we can take a deep breath and carry on with the tournament. We've still got a lot of work ahead of us, but now anything is possible."

Belgium was forced to play from the 36th minute with only 10 men after the expulsion of striker Christian Benteke.

Ghana and Tajikistan earned the other two berths determined Sunday, but took different routes. Ghana beat Colombia 2-1 to finish second in Group F behind Germany. Tajikistan fell to Tunisia 1-0 but qualified as one of the best third-place teams.

Hosts South Korea and Japan are the only two third-place teams not to qualify for the second round.

In Sunday's other game, Germany thrashed Trinidad and Tobago 5-0 and will face the U.S. in the second round.

The other second-round matches are: Ghana vs. Brazil, Nigeria vs. Colombia, Tunisia vs. France, Peru vs. Tajikistan, Spain vs. North Korea, Argentina vs. Costa Rica, and England vs. Syria.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press