USA advances despite 3-1 loss to Poland

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> USA lose 3-1 to Poland but still advances to the second round of the World Cup as South Korea beat Portugal in another Group D match.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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Daejeon, South Korea:

The United States gave up a pair of goals in the first five minutes and flopped to Poland 3-1 Friday, but still advanced to the second round of the World Cup as South Korea beat Portugal in the other Group D match. With their chances of advancement seemingly over after Poland took a three-goal lead in the 66th minute, the Americans were revived just two minutes later when Park Ji-sung scored for South Korea at Incheon against Portugal. The South Koreans held on for a 1-0 win that put the Americans in the second round for the first time since 1994, and the United States will play Mexico on Monday. The crowd at Daejeon World Cup Stadium, following the other game as closely as this one, went wild when South Korea scored, and at first the American bench didn't know what to make of it. Brian McBride, who already had come out of the game, turned around with a wild-eyed look as if to say, "Could this be true?'' The South Koreans did indeed score, and they won Group D with seven points. The Americans finished second with four, one point ahead of the Portuguese. When the South Korea game ended before the U.S. game concluded, the crowd roared, and some of the U.S. players held their hands to their heads, having a hard time believing it was true. "A lot of teams got through with a bit of luck. Italy, one of the best teams in the world got through with luck, so we'll take it. We're happy,'' said U.S. team captain Claudio Reyna. The Americans began the tournament with a stunning 3-2 upset of fifth-ranked Portugal, then wasted a late lead in a 1-1 tie with South Korea. Poland, which already had been eliminated after losing its first two games, inserted six new starters, including five players making their World Cup debuts. Emmanuel Olisadebe and Pawel Kryszalowicz scored in the first five minutes, and Landon Donovan had goal disallowed. Marcin Zewlakow added a second-half goal in the 66th minute, just a minute after entering the game. "We wanted to make up for the bad start and go out with a win. We played excellent soccer tonight,'' said Polish goalkeeper Radoslaw Majdan. Goalkeeper Brad Friedel had the most positive performance for the Americans, stopping a penalty kick for the second straight game. Friedel dived to his left to deny Maciej Zurawski in the 66th minute. Donovan scored for the United States in the 63rd, but attention soon shifted to Incheon, where Portugal was trying to come back. Poland's first goal, just 2 minutes, 45 seconds in, came when Olisadebe headed a corner kick, which goalkeeper Brad Friedel stopped, but the Pole kicked the rebound in off the bottom of the crossbar. The crowd at Daejeon World Cup Stadium, about three-quarters full - went wild, knowing a Polish win would guarantee South Korea a second-round berth for the first time. Less than 60 seconds later, Donovan outjumped Arkadiusz Glowacki to head the ball in, but Chinese referee Lu Jun called it back. Poland then rushed upfield, and Kryszalowicz scored from inside the 6-yard box, beating defender Jeff Agoos to a pass from Jacek Krzynowek. The Poles nearly made it 3-0 in the 30th, but Friedel made a brilliant leg stop on Krzynowek and Zurawski's rebound went off a goalpost. U.S. coach Bruce Arena injected more offense in the 36th minute, putting in midfielder DaMarcus Beasley and taking off Agoos. Beasley went to the left side and Donovan moved up, giving the U.S. team three forwards. Friedel made a diving stop to knock away a tough shot by Kryznowek in first-half injury time. Arena made another change 13 minutes into the second half, replacing McBride with Joe-Max Moore, who made his 100th international appearance. By then the fans were chanting loudly for South Korea and the Poles were yelling "Pol-ska!'' drowning out the "U-S-A!'' screams of Sam's Army, the Americans' supporters group. Clint Mathis came close to scoring for the Americans, putting a shot off the post with the net open in the 82nd minute, then headed the ball to Donovan for a goal a minute later. Lineups: Poland: 12-Radaslaw Majdan; 2-Tomasz Klos (Tomasz Waldoch, 89), 3-Jacek Zielinski (captain), 13-Arkadiusz Glowacki; 18-Jacek Krzynowek, 16-Maciej Murawski, 21-Marek Kozminski, 19-Maciej Zurawski; 8-Cezary Kucharski (Michal Zewlakow, 65), 9-Pawel Kryszalowicz, 11-Emmanuel Olisadebe (Pawel Sibik, 86). United States: 1-Brad Friedel (captain); 2-Frankie Hejduk, 23-Eddie Pope, 22-Anthony Sanneh, 12-Jeff Agoos (Marcus DaBeasley, 36); 5-John O'Brien, 8-Ernie Stewart (Cobi Jones, 68); 10-Claudio Reyna (11), 11-Clint Mathis, 21-Landon Donovan, 20-Brian McBride (Joe-Max Moore, 58). Referee: Lu Jun, China.

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