USA already look like being one of the favourites for the FIFA U-17 World Cup Korea 2007 which begins on 18 August. On Friday evening, coach John Hackworth's men celebrated a confidence-boosting 3-1 win in a friendly over Germany, who are also heading out east next month.
Some 3,500 local fans made the journey to Giessen near Frankfurt
to see former international striker Heiko Herrlich's first
match as coach of the U-17s and to check out the reputedly
prodigious talent of Bayern Munich playmaker Toni Kroos. However,
it was someone from across the Atlantic who stole the show. USA
star striker Alex Nimo gave the home defence the runaround and
played an integral part in his team's well-deserved victory.
The match was over as a contest by half-time. Greg Garza and Ellis McLoughlin scored 240 seconds apart in the 18th and 22nd minutes respectively, before the mercurial Nimo made it three just before the break with an amazing solo effort. In the second half, Herrlich made no fewer than 11 changes, with one of the substitutes - Sascha Bigalke - scoring a consolation goal after 64 minutes.
"Yes, unfortunately we really got off to a bad start, but there's no reason for us to hang our heads," explained Bayern Munich midfielder Mehmet Ekici to FIFA.com after the match. "We're fully focused on the tournament in Korea and we're going to give it 100% out there in every match." Team-mate Kroos was equally upbeat, saying: "I'm convinced that we will soon be looking a totally different outfit - after all, we've only just started our build-up."
USA coach Hackworth was highly satisfied with his boys' performance, whilst nevertheless refusing to get too carried away with the win over Germany. "It was clear for all to see that our team had been training for a couple of weeks longer than the Germans, but overall, I have to say that I saw some excellent football on display today," he said to FIFA.com.
The victory in Giessen meant that the Americans remained undefeated in their ten-day tour of Belgium and Germany, after wins over top Belgian club sides Club Bruges (3-1) and Cercle Bruges KV (2-0).