US, Argentina finish perfect in group rounds ahead of Under-20 World Cup knockout stage
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — The United States completed a perfect group stage at the Under-20 World Cup and Ecuador joined it in the knockout stage on Friday.
The Group B-leading Americans beat Slovakia 2-0 in San Juan, and second-place Ecuador beat Fiji 9-0 in Santiago del Estero.
The U.S. had already secured a spot in the knockout stage but finished the group stage with three wins from three games, and no goals conceded. Its next rival will be the third-place team from either group A, C or D on Tuesday.
Cade Cowell scored before halftime from a counterattack, and Niko Tsakiris added the second in injury time.
Slovakia could still advance as one of the four best third-placed teams.
Ecuador led Fiji 4-0 by halftime, including a brace by Justin Cuero. Alan Minda also scored twice in the second half, and Cristhoper Zambrano scored both of his in injury time.
Ecuador's next rival will be the runner-up of Group F, which could be Gambia, South Korea or Honduras.
Argentina beat New Zealand 5-0 in San Juan to record its third victory and finish atop Group A. Ignacio Maestro Puch, Gino Infantino and Luka Romero netted before the break. Brian Aguirre scored from the spot and Alejo Veliz headed the last goal in the second half.
New Zealand, with four points, still has a chance of advancing as one of the best third-placed teams.
Argentina, which only got a spot in the tournament after Indonesia was stripped of the hosting rights, will next play one of the third-place finishers in Groups C, D or E on Wednesday.
Asian champion Uzbekistan finished second in the group and advanced after a 2-0 win against Guatemala in Santiago del Estero. Its next opponent will be the runner-up of Group C on Tuesday.
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The Associated Press