Argentina secure knockout spot at Under-20 World Cup, USA beat Fiji
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina secured their spot in the knockout stage of the Under-20 World Cup on Tuesday with a convincing 3-0 win over Guatemala.
The United States moved closer to the Round of 16 with a 3-0 victory over Fiji in Group B.
Argentina faced little difficulty against Guatemala, with the tournament hosts opening the scoring in the 17th minute with a header by Alejo Veliz. A red card for midfielder Carlos Santos in the 58th made it easier for the locals in Santiago del Estero, and they doubled their lead with Luka Romero in the 65th.
Argentina’s Tomás Aviles was sent off in the 82nd, but the hosts still found an opportunity in stoppage time to score when midfielder Máximo Perrone pushing the ball to an empty net.
In the earlier Group A encounter, Sherzod Esanov scored in second-half stoppage time as Uzbekistan rallied to salvage a 2-2 draw against New Zealand. Uzbekistan trailed 2-0 after first-half goals by Benjamin Wallace and Jay Herdman. Abbosbek Fayzullaev started the comeback with a goal in the 51st minute.
Argentina have six points in two matches and cannot finish lower than second place in the group. The six-time champions play New Zealand on Friday. New Zealand have four points and Uzbekistan, which finish the group stage against Guatemala, have one.
The top two teams of each group and the four best third-place teams at the 24-team tournament will advance to the Round of 16.
Earlier, with Fiji sitting back in defense, the Americans didn’t score until the 66th minute when midfielder Diego Luna curled in a shot from the edge of the box. Winger Cade Cowell doubled the lead with a similar strike in the 88th before defender Caleb Wiley sealed it with a stoppage-time tap-in.
The United States have six points after two victories in Group B, but Ecuador and Slovakia, with three points each, could also reach that number.
The Ecuadorians, who have in striker Kendry Paez one of the stars of the tournament, beat Slovakia 2-1 in San Juan. Slovak midfielder Máté Szolgai scored in the 29th, but Ecuador responded with goals by center-forward Justin Cuero on half time and by striker José Klinger in the 59th.
The U.S. will face Slovakia and Ecuador will take on Fiji in the last of the group games.