USA and Argentina perfectly complete the group stages ahead of the knockout stages of the U20 World Cup
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – The United States has completed a perfect group stage at the U20 World Cup for the first time.
The Americans, leaders in Group B, beat Slovakia 2-0 in San Juan on Friday and second-placed Ecuador beat Fiji 9-0 in Santiago del Estero.
USA had already secured a spot in the knockout stages but finished the group stage with three wins from three games and clean sheets. It is the first time in 17 appearances at the U20 World Cup that the USA team has finished the group stage with a record of 3-0-0.
The closest rival will be the third-placed team from Groups A, C or D on Tuesday.
Cade Cowell struck before half-time and Niko Tsakiris scored the second in added time.
Slovakia could still progress as one of the top four third-placed teams.
Ecuador led Fiji 4-0 at half-time, including a brace from Justin Cuero. Alan Minda also scored twice in the second half and Cristhoper Zambrano scored both goals in added time.
Ecuador’s closest rivals will be Group F runners-up, which could be Gambia, South Korea or Honduras.
Argentina defeated New Zealand 5-0 in San Juan to record their third win and finish at the top of Group A. Ignacio Maestro Puch, Gino Infantino and Luka Romero scored before the break. Brian Aguirre scored from the penalty spot and Alejo Veliz headed in the last second-half goal.
With four points, New Zealand still has chances to advance as one of the best third-place finishers.
Argentina, who only got a place in the tournament as hosts after Indonesia lost the rights at the end of March, next meet third-placed teams from Groups C, D or E on Wednesday.
Asian champions Uzbekistan finished second in the group, progressing after beating Guatemala 2-0 in Santiago del Estero. Next opponent will be Group C runners-up on Tuesday.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports