[U-20 WORLD CUP] The USA rebounded from its 4-1 opening loss to Spain to tie another European power, France, 1-1, and keep its hopes alive of reaching the knockout stage of the U-20 World Cup in Turkey despite failing to convert a penalty kick.
France, which opened with a 3-1 win over Ghana, tested U.S. keeper Cody Cropper only once in the first half -- a Yaya Sanogo volley from 14 yards that Cropper punched over the crossbar.
The French had most of the possession, but the Americans had two chances in first-half stoppage time: a poorly struck header by Jose Villarreal and a low shot from Luis Gil that keeper Alphonse Areola handled with little difficulty.
France took the lead with Sanogo penalty kick two minutes into the second half. Central defender Javan Torre, who had struggled badly against Spain, was looking much more composed on Monday before the clumsy foul on Dimitri Foulquier right on the penalty-area edge.
Mario Lemina clipped U.S. striker Mario Rodriguez’s ankle for the penalty kick that Gil squandered in the 65th minute. Jean Cristophe Bahebeck hammered a 20-yard shot off the crossbar a minute later.
Rodriguez was also the American fouled for the 85th minute free kick that led to Daniel Cuevas’ clutch goal. Gil, who had shot so weakly from the spot, cleverly delivered a sharp low pass into the penalty area instead of lofting the free kick amid the tall French defenders. The pass struck Lucas Digne and popped up for Cuevas -- who entered the game seven minutes earlier -- to volley hard and low into the far corner from seven yards out.
Prior to the game, U.S. coach Tab Ramos warned his players about playmaker Paul Pogba, who played 27 Italian Serie A and eight Champions League games for Juventus last season.
“We knew that Pogba had over a hundred touches in the last game and we wanted to limit that,” Ramos said. “I think we did that. We did a pretty good job of limiting him.”
Midfielder Benji Joya received his second yellow card of the tournament after tangling with Pogba late in the game and both are suspended for the final Group A games.
June 24 in Istanbul
USA 1 France 1
Goals: Cuevas 85; Sanogo (pen.) 48.
USA -- Cropper; Yedlin, O'Neill, Torre, Ocegueda; Joya (Lopez, 88), Trapp; Villarreal (Cuevas, 77), Gil, Rodriguez; Hernandez (Sorto, 46).
France -- Areola; Foulquier, Umtiti, Pogba, Kondogbia, Sanogo, Bahebeck (Veretout, 74), Digne, Lemina, Sarr, Thauvin (Ngando, 46).
Yellow Cards: USA -- Sorto 62, Joya 83; France -- Umtiti 79, Pogba 83, Sarr 84.
Referee: Carlos Vera (Ecuador)