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Chile blanks Canada in U-20 World Cup
July 1, 2007
TORONTO (Ticker) -
A partisan crowd at the National Soccer Stadium failed to inspire Canada as it lost, 3-0, to Chile on Sunday in their opening FIFA Under-20 World Cup match.
Goals from Nicolas Medina, Carlos Carmona and Jaime Grondona saw the South Americans make a great start to their Group A campaign against the deflated Canadians, who were outclassed by their more experienced opponents.
The tournament build-up captured the attention of fans at home and abroad but the Canadian side and their 20,000 supporters were unable to pose any kind of threat to Jose Sulantay's side.
Chile dominated possession to keep Canada goalkeeper Asmir Begovic busy throughout and took the lead after 25 minutes after spurning several early opportunities.
Dagoberto Currimilla's routine ball into the box was not dealt with by the Canada defense and, after Marcus Haber failed to clear, Medina pounced on the loose ball to hammer a shot past Begovic from close range.
Canada was unable to conjure a reaction to the goal - it only managed one shot on target during the entire match - and it was Chile which struck again after 54 minutes.
A free-kick from the left-hand side was nodded back across goal and skipper Carmona applied the finish from virtually on the line.
Chile put the result beyond any shadow of a doubt with a third goal in the closing stages as, after Grondona was sent on as an 80th-minute substitute for Medina, he produced a deft header just 60 seconds later to complete a slick team move.
Fellow Group A contenders Congo and Austria meet 24 hours later in Edmonton with the dejected hosts facing the prospect of another difficult clash when they meet Austria on Thursday
In Victoria, British Columbia, Japan dented Scotland's chances of reaching the knockout stages of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup with a resounding 3-1 victory.
Scottish goalkeeper Andrew McNeil had a game to forget.
The impressive Japanese threatened several times in the Group F opener before they were gifted an opening goal before halftime, when McNeil's terrible clearance presented Yasuhito Morishima with an easy chance.
The outstanding Tsukasa Umesaki doubled Japan's lead early in the second half, before McNeil made a mess of Jun Aoyama's long-range effort with 10 minutes remaining, almost dropping the ball into the net. Substitute Ross Campbell grabbed a consolation soon afterward.
The group also features Nigeria and Costa Rica, with two teams to qualify automatically for the last 16, together with the four best runners-up from the six groups.
Having been runners-up to Spain at the UEFA Under-19 Championships in Poland last summer, the Scots, led by Archie Gemmill, came to Canada looking to at least make the last eight.
The warning signs were there, though, from the moment McNeil had to deal with Atsuto Uchida's stinging 20-yard shot.
Umesaki then saw a 25-yard shot go just high, before Hibernian's Steven Fletcher pulled a left-footed shot across Japan goalkeeper Akihiro Hayashi and just six inches wide of the right post.
Japan wanted a penalty when Atomu Tanaka tumbled under Alan Lowing's challenge, and was frustrated when referee German Arredondo turned down their claims.
Livingston forward Graham Dorrans finished a surge through midfield with a left-footed shot which curled away from the Japan goal, offering respite from almost incessant pressure on the Scotland defense.
Tomoaki Makino headed over after more shaky Scotland defending, before Morishima volleyed into the side-netting of McNeil's goal.
Japan's overdue opener came in the 43rd minute when McNeil raced from his goal after Scott Cuthbert fluffed a clearance.
McNeil had space to clear but blasted the ball straight at Morishima, who had the simple task of slotting into an empty goal.
It should have been 2-0 a minute later but McNeil blocked Kazuhisa Kawahara's close-range prod.
Hibernian's Ross Campbell replaced Lowing at the start of the second half, but the theme of Japanese dominance continued, with McNeil getting behind a left-footed volley from Umesaki.
Jamie Adams and Calum Elliot were booked within 60 seconds of each other for clumsy challenges.
Elliot headed wide from a rare Scotland chance, but a deserved second goal for Japan arrived in the 58th minute when Umesaki thrashed a low shot across McNeil and into the bottom left corner from 20 yards.
Captain Cuthbert blundered from close range for Scotland soon afterward with a close-range miss.
Gemmill brought on Robert Snodgrass for Conroy as Japan continued to dominate, with Morishima twice coming close to doubling his account. His curling shot went too high and then McNeil made a decent block on him from a 1-on-1 chance.
McNeil's afternoon got worse when Aoyama hit Japan's third goal in the 80th minute. His 30-yard strike carried plenty of venom, but McNeil could have turned the ball over the bar. Instead he looked to make the catch but succeeded only in helping the ball into the net.
Scotland got a goal back through Campbell a minute later when his mis-hit shot from 12 yards dribbled in, and Fletcher drilled a left-footed strike inches wide, but Japan was not flattered by the victory margin.
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