The United States go into their quarter-final against Austria in Toronto on Saturday in buoyant mood after a storming start to Canada 2007. The US boys turned on the style against Poland and Brazil in the group phase and battled back in determined fashion to overcome a resilient Uruguay outfit in the Round of 16. Having exceeded most expectations in coming this far, Austria now have their sights set on the semi-finals.
The USA have looked strong from back to front, with Michael Bradley, Danny Szetela and Freddy Adu operating as well as any midfield in the tournament and providing ample service for the likes of Josmer Altidore up front. For Austria, the key to success lies in neutralizing this trio. The compact central European outfit have an impressive playmaker in Zlatko Junuzovic and an ever-present goal threat in Erwin Hoffer.
Both sides should be at full strength, with Altidore and keeper Chris Seitz likely to be back from injury and available once again for the USA.
This is the first meeting between Austria and the USA at a FIFA U-20 World Cup. In 1997, the two nations met at the FIFA U-17 World Championship, with the United States running out comfortable 4-0 winners.
"Our task against the USA is by far the toughest of any we've faced so far. They are a robust, hard-working team and tactically astute. I think it will be very close, one way or another. We won't be able to match them for strength, we'll have to rely on technique and keeping possession of the ball. If we can keep Adu under control, we've got a chance." Paul Gludovatz, Austria coach.
"I haven't seen them play, but I'm sure they are a very tough and talented team. We'll just have to prepare for them in the next couple of days. If we play with the heart we showed against Uruguay, we've got a great chance." Josmer Altidore, USAforward.