Against one of the world's heavyweights and favorites of the U-20 World Cup, the US U-20s stood tall, came from behind and beat France 3-2 in the U-20 World Cup Round of 16. They will play Ecuador in the quarterfinals on Saturday (11:30 am ET).
With the score 2-2 in the 83rd minute, New England's Justin Rennicks pounced on a goalkeeping blunder to score the game-winning tap-in. The US had been trailing with less than 20 minutes left, as France took a 2-1 lead in the 55th minute, but Hannover striker Sebastian Soto scored his second of the game in the 74th minute, with another cool finish, assisted by Tim Weah. His deft, outside of the foot through ball found Soto behind France's backline inside the 18-yard box.
The US opened the scoring in the 25th minute with a scintillating counterattack, starting with an interception by FC Dallas midfielder Brandon Servania and a purposeful run forward by Richie Ledezma before the PSV youngster played a delicate through ball to Soto, who calmly finished into the bottom corner. Both players are products of the Real Salt Lake academy system, flashing chemistry forme throughout their youth.
It was the first time France trailed in the tournament.
A few minutes before halftime, France found the equalizer through a counter attack of their own, as Lyon's Amine Gouiri fired into the bottom corner after being played through by PSG's Moussa Diaby.
France, led by Borussia Dortmund's Dan-Axel Zagadou, PSG's Diaby and Marseille's Boubacar Kamara, blitzed through Group E with a perfect 3-0-0 record and a +5 goal difference.
- 25' — USA — Sebastian Soto | WATCH
- 41' — FRA — Amine Gouiri
- 55' — FRA — Nabil Alioui
- 74' — USA — Sebastian Soto | WATCH
- 83' — USA — Justin Rennicks | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: To knock out one of the world's best teams, judged to have many of the tournament's most valuable and highest rated players, is without a doubt one of the biggest wins in US youth national team history. Now, they move forward against Ecuador. With one of the tournament's favorites now out, far can the US continue their run?
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: A poacher's finish for Rennicks proved the difference between the two teams. What a moment.
COMEBACK COMPLETE! 🇺🇸— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 4, 2019
Justin Rennicks cleans up the rebound and gives the USA a 3-2 lead. The Baby Yanks are minutes away from the U-20 World Cup quarterfinals! pic.twitter.com/s0Ng4aQmLT
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Out-possessed and outshot, the United States advanced by winning moments. Sebastian Soto didn't need more than two chances to score two goals, helping the US topple France.
- USA: Saturday, June 8 vs. Ecuador 11:30 am ET