USA advance to quarter-finals

United States beat Mexico 2-0 to reach the World Cup quarter-finals - its best showing in 72 years.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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Jeonju, South Korea:

Brian McBride and Landon Donovan scored as the United States beat Mexico 2-0 today to reach the World Cup quarter-finals - its best showing in 72 years. "It's a great day for US soccer," said coach Bruce Arena. "We've got a very difficult opponent in Germany on Friday. I think when Friday comes around our team will be ready to play," he added. Claudio Reyna burst down the right wing in the eighth minute, powered his way into the box and his cross was flicked back by Josh Wolff into the path of McBride, who fired in his second goal of the tournament. He became the first American to score twice in one World Cup since Bert Patenaude got four goals in the first tournament in 1930, when the United States reached the semi-finals. The Americans went 2-0 up after 65 minutes when Eddie Lewis broke down the left and his cross was firmly headed into the right-hand corner of the net by Donovan from the edge of the six-yard box. As expected, the match was a highly charged and bruising affair between the two neighbours, with tackles flying. Both teams picked up five yellow cards. Mexico's captain Rafael Marquez was shown a straight red card in the 88th minute after clattering Cobi Jones with a high kick and a blow with his head. "It's a rivalry. We (Mexico and USA) know each other. There's been a lot of bad blood over the years,'' said Arena. "When the game's over, we're friends again". Hours before the match, US President George W Bush and Mexico President Vicente Fox spoke on the telephone to wish each other luck. Mexico dominated possession throughout the match but was denied by the Americans' brave defense and some fine goalkeeping by Brad Friedel. The first goal - in what was virtually the Americans' first real attack - appeared to settle Arena's side, which then sat back and soaked up Mexico's attacks. Their rare forages into opposition territory came from Donovan and Reyna. Mexico's first chance came after 15 minutes when Ramon Morales fired narrowly wide from the edge of the box. Ten minutes later, Cuauhtemoc Blanco had a powerful strike from about 20 metres palmed away by Friedel. Later, Friedel almost gave a goal away as he punched a high ball straight to Blanco. But the Mexican's pointblank shot was tipped over the bar by the US 'keeper. The US almost extended its lead as the half drew to a close, but Wolff fired straight at Mexico's Oscar Perez. It was more of the same after the break with Mexico again in charge. Friedel tipped a dipping free kick from Braulio Luna over the bar on 52 minutes. Defender Gregg Berhalter had to make a last-ditch tackle to deny substitute Luis Hernandez. American midfielder John O'Brien, defending at a corner, then rose with Hernandez and punched the ball away, but the infringement was not seen by the referee. "They showed the replay on the big screen and we saw it, 40,000 fans saw it, but it's over now," said Mexico coach Javier Aguirre. Donovan's header deflated the Mexicans. Ernie Stewart then hit the post from close range as the Americans threatened to take an insurmountable 3-0 lead. Friedel again came to the rescue, on 74 minutes, saving a powerful 20-metre drive from Salvador Carmona. The referee added five minutes of injury time. But the Mexicans couldn't find a way through the Americans' rearguard. Mexico striker Jared Borgetti congratulated the Americans. "They scored on the first chance and played well. We knew they were a team that counterattacks well and they have fast players. We kept insisting, looking for a goal, but they held on". While the Mexicans usually have the home-field advantage (even in the United States, where Mexican-Americans dominate the stands), there were several thousand Americans at Jeonju World Cup Stadium. The Americans taunted Mexico with chants of "Adios, amigos". The United States had made four changes to the side that lost 3-1 to Poland. Mexico was unchanged from the team that drew 1-1 with Italy to clinch top spot in Group G. Five teams have now made the last eight: Germany, Spain, the United States, England and Senegal. Lineups:Mexico: 1-Oscar Perez, 4-Rafael Marquez, 5-Manuel Vidrio, 6-Gerardo Torrado, 7-Ramon Morales (Luis Hernandez, 27th), 9-Jared Borgetti, 10-Cuauhtemoc Blanco, 11-Braulio Luna, 16-Salvador Carmona, 18-Joahan Rodriguez, 21-Jesus Arellano United States: 1-Brad Friedel, 3-Gregg Berhalter, 4-Pablo Mastroeni, 5-John O'Brien, 7-Eddie Lewis, 10-Claudio Reyna, 15-Josh Wolff, 20-Brian McBride, 21-Landon Donovan, 22-Tony Sanneh, 23-Eddie Pope