U.S. through to Peru, keep up perfect qualifying record
The United States became the most recent qualifier for the FIFA U-17 World Championship Peru 2005 when they beat Costa Rica 2-1 on 16 April in Heredia. The win saw them finish top of the four team CONCACAF qualifying Group A with seven points from three matches. Costa Rica are still alive with a second-place finish, while Cuba and El Salvador were both eliminated.
The USA are the only team to have qualified for every instalment of the U-17 world showpiece, but they did not have things all their way in the qualifying group in Costa Rica. After opening their account at the Estadio Eladio Rosabel Cordero with a handy 3-0 hiding of El Salvador, the Americans stuttered to a 1-1 draw against up-and-coming Cuba. The islanders, to their credit, put in a fine performance and managed to score with their only shot on target.
With four points from two matches, the U.S. needed a win over the hosts in their final game to guarantee a berth at the finals in Peru. Though the Ticos put up stiff resistance, goals from Nikolas Besagno and Omar Gonzalez sealed the deal to see the U.S. through to their unrivalled 11th U-17 finals.
The Costa Ricans are still in with a shout at qualifying. As runners-up from the qualifying group, they will now play off with the second-place finisher from CONCACAF's Group B, which will take place in Culiacan, Mexico between 17 and 21 May. Group B consists of Mexico, Canada, Haiti and Honduras.
The FIFA U-17 World Championship will run from 16 September to 2 October in four venues in Peru.