The United States U-20 men’s national team squared off against mighty France in the round of 16 of the U-20 World Cup on Tuesday, and somehow prevailed with a 3-2 win against a team many considered favorites heading into the tournament.
Tab Ramos’ boys came out and attacked the French side, whose roster is sort of flabbergasting to look at. Just about everyone in the side plays for a team in Ligue 1, France’s top division. The ones that don’t play for Barcelona or in the Bundesliga. This France team isn’t a group of young prospects. They are bona fide stars already, many playing first-team football for some of the best clubs in the world.
The first goal came on a brilliant counter-attack which PSV’s Richie Ledesma break apart the France defense and then spring Sebastian Soto in with a brilliant through ball.
France then scored two unanswered, and it seemed like the U.S. were out of it. But it was Soto again, broken through by a mesmerizing pass from Timothy Weah, to equalize.
The comeback was completed by Justin Rennicks of the New England Revolution, who pounced on a badly misplaced save by the French keeper and gave the U.S. the lead.
In a nervy final 11 minutes, the U.S. held on. It’s a stunning statement from Tab Ramos’ side and something that fans of U.S. Soccer should be really excited about. This is a special young group.
Against one of the worlds heavyweights and favorites of the U-20 World Cup, the US U-20s stood tall, came from behind and beat France 3-2 in the U-20 World Cup Round of 16. They will play Ecuador in the quarterfinals on Saturday (11:30 am ET).
With the score 2-2 in the 83rd minute, New Englands Justin Rennicks pounced on a goalkeeping blunder to score the game-winning tap-in. The US had been trailing with less than 20 minutes left, as France took a 2-1 lead in the 55th minute, but Hannover striker Sebastian Soto scored his second of the game in the 74th minute, with another cool finish, assisted by Tim Weah. His deft, outside of the foot through ball found Soto behind Frances backline inside the 18-yard box.
The US opened the scoring in the 25th minute with a scintillating counterattack, starting with an interception by FC Dallas midfielder Brandon Servania and a purposeful run forward by Richie Ledezma before the PSV youngster played a delicate through ball to Soto, who calmly finished into the bottom corner. Both players are products of the Real Salt Lake academy system, flashing chemistry forme throughout their youth.
A few minutes before halftime, France found the equalizer through a counter attack of their own, as Lyons Amine Gouiri fired into the bottom corner after being played through by PSGs Moussa Diaby.
France, led by Borussia Dortmunds Dan-Axel Zagadou, PSGs Diaby and Marseilles Boubacar Kamara, blitzed through Group E with a perfect 3-0-0 record and a +5 goal difference.
Dallas Paxton Pomykal wore the armband while Servania and Aboubacar Keita (Columbus Crew SC) were also in the starting XI.
COMEBACK COMPLETE! 🇺🇸 Justin Rennicks cleans up the rebound and gives the USA a 3-2 lead. The Baby Yanks are minutes away from the U-20 World Cup quarterfinals! pic.twitter.com/s0Ng4aQmLT
Video: MATCH HIGHLIGHTS – France v USA – FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019