U20 WC: Austria in semis

Erwin Hoffer scored in the 105th minute, two minutes after entering the game, to send upstart Austria to the semifinals of the Under-20 World Cup.

updated: July 16, 2007 18:14 IST
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Erwin Hoffer scored in the 105th minute, two minutes after entering the game, to send upstart Austria to the semifinals of the Under-20 World Cup with a 2-1 extra-time victory on Saturday over the United States.

The goal came off a free kick, with the US down to 10 men after FC Dallas defender Anthony Wallace was sent off for a second yellow. The ball bounced off several players deep in the box before heading back toward goal where a lunging Hoffer poked it in near the post.

It was Hoffer's second straight winner off the bench. Against Gambia in the round-of-16, the Rapid Vienna striker scored 10 minutes after coming on in the 71st minute in a 2-1 victory.

The US pressed as the clock wound down but could not hit the target.

Hoffer, who has scored three of Austria's six goals en route to the final four, also hit the post in the 128th minute.

The Austrians, who had more chances on a day when the US attack was muted, will meet either Spain or the Czech Republic in a semifinal Wednesday in Edmonton.

Just being in the quarterfinals was a victory for the Austrians, whose last appearance at the U20 championship was in 1983 when it lost all three first-round games. Prior to arriving in Canada, Austria had lost five and drawn one of six matches and was outscored 16-1 in their only two visits to the U20 finals.

For the Americans, who made it to quarterfinals with an extra-time goal against Uruguay, it marked a disappointing end to a tournament run that saw them win their group and beat Brazil along the way.

The skies opened in the fifth minute and the persistent rainfall that followed for much of the game made it a long afternoon for goalkeepers trying to hang on to a wet ball - and the 19,526 spectators at BMO Field.

Foul flurry

Referee Martin Hansson of Sweden handed out 12 yellow cards - seven to the US and five to Austria.

The United States started off well, taking the lead in the 15th minute, when Jozy Altidore's glancing downward header from a pinpoint Adu cross from the left touchline beat Michael Zaglmair.

The Austrian keeper showed good reflexes in getting a hand to the low header but couldn't keep it out. It was Altidore's fourth goal of the tournament.

Austria equalized in the 43rd when U.S. goalkeeper Chris Seitz gave up another rebound from Sebastian Proedl's shot from distance. Rubin Okotie outmuscled a U.S. defender to get to the ball, circled and fired a low shot that went through a defender's legs and past the hand of a lunging Seitz and a defender stationed at the goalpost.

The Americans had lots of the ball but managed just two shots on target to the Austrians' four in the first 45 minutes.