The United States beat host New Zealand 4-0 to become the first team to secure a place in the knockout rounds of the Under-20 World Cup while Ghana shocked South American champion Argentina 3-2 on Tuesday.
After beating Myanmar 2-1 in its opening match Saturday, the United States moved atop Group A to become the first of 24 teams to seal a place in the round of 16.
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Earlier, Ukraine put the U.S. under pressure by beating Myanmar 6-0 to move temporarily atop the group.
But the U.S. overcame wet and cold conditions to beat New Zealand with a double by Rubio Rubin and goals from Emerson Hyndman and Paul Arriola.
In Wellington, Ghana outclassed Argentina to surge atop Group B, and is also close to advancing. Also, Austria improved its prospects with a 2-1 win over Panama.
Argentina drew 2-2 with Panama in its opener and has taken only a point from its first two games to make its final group match against Austria on Friday critical.
Ghana opened up a 3-0 lead after 69 minutes before Argentina rushed back into the match with late goals from Giovanni Simeone and Emiliano Buendia. Buendia’s goal in the 90th set up a frenetic finish and both teams had several scoring chances in almost six minutes of stoppage time.
The first half was also full of action and both sides went close to scoring on several occasions before Benjamin Tetteh gave Ghana the lead in the 44th. Ghana was the dominant side and their skill and daring set the tone for the match which was played mostly in torrential rain.
Clifford Aboagye made it 2-0 in the 59th and Yaw Yebboah gave Ghana a 3-0 advantage with a penalty in the 69th.
Viktor Kovalenko had two goals and two goal assists for Ukraine, and substitute Valerii Luchkevych added a goal and an assist – with all of the goals in the second half.
”I had planned to bring Luchkevych on at half time as we were lacking speed,” Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov said. ”We had agreed that he would start the second half and he really improved our game.
Myanmar coach Gerd Zeise said his players will always struggle against rivals with experience in European leagues.
”We are too blind and we do not have the experience, that’s absolutely clear,” he said. ”It was a disaster and this tournament has come too early for us.
”We cannot follow these teams, no chance,” Zeise added. ”My team was too poor.”
Austria came from a goal down to beat Panama, which was reduced to nine men in the second half.
Fidel Escobar put Panama ahead with a long-range strike in the 38th before an own goal from Panama captain Chin Homechea allowed Austria to draw level at halftime. Panama goalkeeper Jaime de Gracia saved two penalties in the second half but Austria still secured the winning goal through Valentin Grubeck.