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USA and Canada take a reluctant bow (FIFA)


George

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http://www.fifa.com/en/display/article,73543.html

CONCACAF football, or a stepping-stone for the typically overshadowed region? According to U.S. coach Thomas Rongen, Canada boss Dale Mitchell and a few of the brighter-burning stars from both sides, UAE 2003’s two bitter-sweet quarter-finals in Abu Dhabi were a little bit of both.

After the Canucks and their southern neighbours trudged off the pitch in tears following dramatic golden-goal decisions to two of the world’s most significant and time-tested footballing powers, there must surely be reason to take heart.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” said Canada’s Mitchell after watching Iain Hume race back and fire an equalising blast to Spanish creator Iniesta’s opener in Abu Dhabi. “But we had many tears in the changing room, because we felt we could have gone farther.”

As all looked to be lost early on, the combative and scrappy young side from the Great White North hauled themselves back into a match no one figured they had the even the slimmest hopes of winning. And after Vitolo’s sending off saw Spain reduced to ten, the Canadians suddenly looked in the driver’s seat.

“I can’t believe we lost”

Tough-as-nails till the end, the first Canuck side ever to reach a FIFA quarter-finals are looking to the future with every bit of justified optimism they can muster through the hurt. And with the likes of striker Hume, cultured midfielder Josh Simpson, and outstanding goalkeeper Alim Karim coming through the ranks, why should they not?

“I believe this team took a big step and these players will go on to bigger things,” Mitchell added. “At the end of the day, the experience they’ve got here is amazing…they’ve learned a great many lessons.”

Josh Simpson ® always looked one of Canada's best

FIFA.com

Simpson - Canada’s goal hero from the landmark Round of Sixteen match with Burkina Faso – could not have been more pleased with his mates, or more incredulous with the loss to Europe’s finest youth side.

“I just can’t believe we lost,” the affable speed merchant told FIFA.com. “We were a man up, we had a crack off the post. We were getting forward, we were getting shots on goal. Spain are a good team but I think they got lucky. I think we should have won. There wasn’t a point in the game I thought we were going to lose.”

“We’ve done the best any Canadian team’s done and for that I am thrilled. The team is just great,” he continued. “We came together in a big way and really made something happen from nothing. I think we have won something for Canada…We did our best.”

Good neighbours

After picking themselves up off the floor following Arizmendi’s 95th minute winner, the Canucks – in their bright red tracksuits – headed up to the stands to cheer on their southern neighbours in a similarly improbable quarter-final clash with holders and hot favourites Argentina.

And when the Spanish referee blew a penalty for Argentina in extra time, they were up with arms outstretched in protest. Not long after Fernando Cavenaghi hammered his penalty past Steve Cronin, it was the turn of the U.S. players to drag themselves out of the changing room to rue their tough luck and mull over what might have been.

Adu sees progress made through the pain

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“You know what? There’s nothing to be ashamed of,” said Freddy Adu, who set up captain Bobby Convey as the U.S. took the lead just before the hour mark, only to see it snuffed out with 15 seconds to go in stoppage time courtesy of a flicked header from Javier Mascherano. But at just 14 years of age, Adu must be considered one of the great shining lights for the States’ hopeful future. “We lost, but we gave them a real run for their money,” he went on. “They had to score a goal in the 94th minute to beat us. That just shows that when we play our game, we can play with the rest of the world.”

U.S. U-20 captain, Olympic squad member and full senior international Convey also sees the steps taken in the UAE as a positive for the nation’s football. “I am proud to be the captain of this team. Everyone worked hard and we stayed toe-to-toe with the best team in the world. No one thought we were going to do that. But we knew that we could…I think this is a big stepping-stone for the U.S. Now we just have to build on this success and keep it going in the Olympics in Athens…and keep achieving with the full national team.”

A cruel game

“Many times it’s a beautiful game, but it can be a cruel game as well,” mused U.S. boss and Olympic team assistant coach Thomas Rongen. “But we’ve shown to ourselves and the rest of the world, that we can play with the best. We as Americans are beginning to earn a lot more respect. Our senior team had a great performance in Korea in 2002 and our under-20s had a wonderful year. We are no longer just the underdogs anymore. We believe in our ability and our confidence is going up and up.”

“You can look at it two ways,” he added. “You can say it was a very sad day, or you could also say that it was a very joyous day for CONCACAF. We played in the round of 8 against Spain and Argentina and we both gave fine account of ourselves. We’ve both shown that we can keep up with the world’s best teams. Of course we would have both loved to take one more step…but we have nothing to be ashamed of.”

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Guest Jeffery S.

Let me just state that I don't give a damn what the States do at this level or on a senior level. I am a bit tired of thinking that they and Mexico always will qualify for a World Cup; since when have we ceded so much to our neighbours? I don't think we compare to them at all, they have tons more money, their own development system, their league which is discriminatory to our players (we have two guys in MLS, less than what we had in Sweden last year).

As I say about Real Madrid as a Barça fan, I want them to lose even in practice. I would like to see them out always, for me they are a direct rival. I would much prefer to see us, Costa Rica and any other team (Honduras, Jamaica) in Germany than the States. If only to read Big Soccer during the tournament for all those "Adu will save us in 2010" posts.

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I am disappointed that our lads were cheering on the States vs the Argies. US, Mexico are our enemies, the beter they do, the less likely we will be in these tournamnets.

These are probably our best crop of u20s but they still got lots of learning to do as football fans.

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Guest Jeffery S.
quote:Originally posted by red card

I am disappointed that our lads were cheering on the States vs the Argies. US, Mexico are our enemies, the beter they do, the less likely we will be in these tournamnets.

These are probably our best crop of u20s but they still got lots of learning to do as football fans.

I know this is contradictory to my last, but I don't mind this, considering many play in NCAA and have buddies in the States doing the same. And that the US were clear underdogs. But I personally am glad the States is out, after 5 minutes of ET like us.

I have probably only been in favour of the States once as far as I can remember, in that Portugal game in the WC. Mostly as I am anti-Figo being a Barça fan, but also since as the game progressed their play impressed me, it was fun to see the Portugal team come apart at the seams. But I was also glad the US did not get any further than they did, otherwise life in CONCACAF would have been unbearable.

I always prefer to see Canada as the last CONCACAF man standing.

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quote:Originally posted by Jeffrey S.

? I don't think we compare to them at all, they have tons more money, their own development system, their league which is discriminatory to our players (we have two guys in MLS, less than what we had in Sweden last year).

I'm sorry, but that's a load of crap and you know it. MLS DOES NOT discriminate against Canadian players. Think about it for 2 seconds. Canadians count as foreigners in MLS. In order to hold down a spot as foreigner a player must be significantly better than the local standard. That's they way it is in every league. Canadians who fit that billing can make a lot more money playing in Europe than they can in MLS. I'm sure Hume and DeVos get paid more in England's lower divisions than they would in MLS. Most of the time I love this site, but I get so sick of reading ignorant garbage like the post above :( Most of the time you're a great poster Jeff. What gives?

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quote:Originally posted by Crazy_Yank

I'm sorry, but that's a load of crap and you know it. MLS DOES NOT discriminate against Canadian players. Think about it for 2 seconds. Canadians count as foreigners in MLS. In order to hold down a spot as foreigner a player must be significantly better than the local standard. That's they way it is in every league. Canadians who fit that billing can make a lot more money playing in Europe than they can in MLS. I'm sure Hume and DeVos get paid more in England's lower divisions than they would in MLS. Most of the time I love this site, but I get so sick of reading ignorant garbage like the post above :( Most of the time you're a great poster Jeff. What gives?

Seems like a bit of an overreaction to me C-Y. You having a bad day at work?

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quote:Originally posted by Crazy_Yank

I'm sorry, but that's a load of crap and you know it. MLS DOES NOT discriminate against Canadian players. Think about it for 2 seconds. Canadians count as foreigners in MLS. In order to hold down a spot as foreigner a player must be significantly better than the local standard. That's they way it is in every league. Canadians who fit that billing can make a lot more money playing in Europe than they can in MLS. I'm sure Hume and DeVos get paid more in England's lower divisions than they would in MLS. Most of the time I love this site, but I get so sick of reading ignorant garbage like the post above :( Most of the time you're a great poster Jeff. What gives?

I think he's thinking more along the lines of "a Canadian and a _______ (Salvadorean, Costa Rican, etc.) are at the same level and MLS will 9 times out of 10 choose the other player because having a Canadian player will do NOTHING for crowds and public image, while still looking to get out the 'local communities' in each city".

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Well when Dallas turns their nose up at Atiba Hutchinson a year before he goes on trial in Serie A, there's going to be more conspiracy theories. Especially since he would have counted as a Junior International in 02 and not counted against the senior international limit. Since MLS grandfathered the only other junior intls (Josue Mayard and Jose Alegria) for this season, he probably could have helped the Burn this year and not counted against the limit. In any event I think everything worked out for the best for Atiba and I would rather see our players in Europe than MLS, despite the strain it puts on us in getting our team together.

As a total asside, I have no idea why MLS got rid of the Junior International (and what the hell is a Transitional International these days?) and I can't believe so few teams used them. Look at Damani Ralph and Carlos Ruiz and there is obvious quality young CONCACAF guys ready to make an impact in the league and the rule change means there will be less of them. I know the mandate is for American-born players, but I don't see how bringing in good young talent and then selling them off is a bad thing for a financially modest league like MLS.

cheers,

matthew

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