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FIFA U-17 World Cup: USA hope to maintain heavyweight tag

The United States of America (USA) booked their 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup berth after finishing runners-up in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Sep 30, 2017 15:11 IST
Sayan Ghosh
Sayan Ghosh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
FIFA U-17 World Cup,FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017,Iran football team
The United States of America (USA) have lost four times in the quarter-finals of FIFA U-17 World Cup.(AFP)

Having five players in the CONCACAF under-17 championships’ team of the tournament, the USA can justifiably set the bar high. Their best finish till now was in 1999 when they lost to Australia on penalties in the semi-final before going down 0-2 to Ghana in the third place playoff. The 1999 side was captained by former LA Galaxy striker Landon Donovan. Since then, they have lost four times in the quarter-finals but in 2015, they managed to get just a solitary point from the three group games.

READ | Players choose Amarjit Singh to lead India in Fifa Under-17 World Cup football

KNOW THE COACH: John Hackworth

The 47-year-old former Major League Soccer (MLS) coach was in charge of the league’s Eastern Conference side Philadelphia Union from 2012 to 2014 after being their assistant manager for one-and-a-half years. This is also his second stint as the head coach of the U-17 team as he had previously coached the side during the 2005 and 2007 World Cup finals. Hackworth favours the 4-4-2 formation.

PAST PERFORMANCE: Fourth place: 1999. Quarter-finals: 1991, 1993, 2003, 2005. Round of 16: 2007, 2009, 2011. Group stage: 1985-97, 2001, 2015. Did not qualify: 2013.

Passage to India: USA booked their FIFA U-17 World Cup berth after finishing runners-up in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship 2017. They enjoyed an unbeaten run until the final before losing to Mexico on penalties.

Results in CONCACAF U-17: Bt Jamaica 5-0; bt Mexico 4-3; bt El Salvador 1-0; bt Honduras 3-0; bt Cuba 6-2; lost to Mexico 4-5 on penalties.

POSSIBLE GAME-CHANGERS

Name: Josh Sargent

Age: 17

Club: St. Louis Scott Gallagher

Position: Forward

Why he is special: The St. Louis Scott Gallagher striker is one of the most promising talents in US football now. He became the USA’s youngest player to score in the U-20 World Cup. With 18 goals to his name, he is taking the Germany route to development by agreeing to join Werder Bremen on turning 18.

Name: Chris Durkin

Age: 17

Club: Richmond Kickers (loan)

Position: Midfielder

Why he is special: The midfielder from Virginia signed for MLS side DC United earlier this season and currently, he is one of the most experienced players in the national team. He impressed experts during his loan spell with Richmond Kickers.

Name: Ayo Akinola

Age: 17

Club: Toronto FC II

Position: Striker

Why he is special: With 24 goals from 25 games, the Toronto FC II striker should be the perfect partner for Sargent at the top of the field.

First Published: Sep 20, 2017 14:44 IST