FIFA U-17 World Cup: Five-star USA enter quarter-final with Paraguay thrashing
The USA entered the quarter-final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup with a dominant 5-0 win over Paraguay in the Round of 16 clash, with Tim Weah, the son of legendary footballer George Weah scoring a magnificent hattrick.Updated: Oct 16, 2017 23:03 IST
“Offense is the best form of defense” - It is one of the oldest cliches of football. We have heard it a million times and maybe, have even used it from time to time. However, there was no better way to describe how USA overcame the lethal attacking prowess of Paraguay in their FIFA U-17 World Cup pre-quarterfinal encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Monday.
Before the start of the game, hardly anyone could have predicted that USA will be the more offensive team among the two. Paraguay were absolutely brilliant in the group stages and with 10 goals from 3 matches, their attacking capability was the talk of the town. But, a brilliant hattrick by Tim Weah and superb strikes by Josh Sargent and Andrew Carleton clinched a 5-0 victory for USA.
Hackworth employed the tried-and-tested 4-2-3-1 formation with Josh Sargent as the lone striker and that opened up the space for their wingers. Ayo Akinola and Tim Weah had no problems in dribbling past the Paraguay defenders and it did not take them long to open their account.
In the 19th minute, Ayo Akinola raced past two Paraguay players and his inch-perfect pass found Weah who kept his composure to score his first goal of the tournament. The goal was exactly what USA needed to motivate their players and Paraguay had no answer to their link-up plays. Just before half-time, Chris Goslin came agonizingly close to doubling the lead but he was denied by the post.
However, the second half completely belonged to one person - Tim Weah. It has been an important week for the Weah family with his father - Ballon d’Or winner George Weah - contesting in the Liberian presidential elections and Tim made it extra special with his brilliant performance.
He scored his second goal of the match with a curling long-range effort from outside the box in the 53rd minute and then topped it off with a composed finish from a Josh Sargent pass to complete a well-deserved hattrick against the Latin American powerhouses.
“I don’t score a lot of beautiful goals as most of them are tap-ins. But, I am really proud of my goals today and I would like to thank (Andrew) Carleton and Josh (Sargent) for their brilliant assists. It was really a special performance for me,” Weah told the media at the post-match press conference.
The Paraguay defence had no clue about how to stop the consistent onslaught of USA attacks and the cracks started showing in the second half. Andrew Carleton capped off a solo run with a beautiful finish to add another goal to his tally and later, turned provider for Josh Sargent who drilled the ball into the top right corner of the goal to provide the proverbial ‘icing on the cake’.
Paraguay coach Gustavo Morinigo acknowledged the fact that they were completely outplayed and at the post-match press conference, he said, “Today, USA were the superior team. After conceding the first goal, the boys got really nervous and there was no coming back into the game for us. There was a lot of space between the defensive lines and USA took advantage of that in the second half.”
First Published: Oct 16, 2017 22:31 IST