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USA set to face Italy in Under-17 World Cup Round of 16

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The U.S. Under-17 men's national team finally put together a strong performance in its final group match, and its reward for beating the United Arab Emirates is a Round of 16 date with Italy.

Boasting a roster with talented youths such as Pietro Iemello, Federico Carraro and Michele Camporese, the Italians won Group F, winning two games, drawing one and conceding only a single goal in the process.

The U.S team's performances have not been as impressive, though the victory on Sunday was the team's best effort to date. While the Americanse have managed to dispay some quality attacking soccer under head coach Wilmer Cabrera, their finishing has been anything but deadly, scoring three goals off goalkeeper spills.

If the U.S. team is to beat Italy and advance to the quarterfinals in Nigeria, it will need players such as Luis Gil, Stefan Jerome and Jack McInerney to convert their chances, a task that has largely evaded the Americans thus far.

Here is a full list of match-ups in the Under-17 World Cup Round of 16:

  • Argentina vs. Colombia
  • Turkey vs. United Arab Emirates
  • Switzerland vs. Germany
  • Italy vs. United States
  • Spain vs. Burkina Faso
  • Iran vs. Uruguay
  • Mexico vs. Korea Republic
  • Nigeria vs. New Zealand


What do you think are the United States' chances against Italy? Concerned by the Americans' inability to score? Who will qualify for the quarterfinals?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I thought Jerome had some nice skills for a U-17, esp his crossing ability. It’s true that he tended to push the ball way ahead and rely on sheer speed (he was so much faster than his counterpart, it was absurd) and he won’t get away with that on the pro level, certainly, but this is not surprising. I’m not saying he’s Ronaldo or anything, but the kid had moves – spins, turns, touch on his balls, and some clever first touches.

  2. Interesting to see how the rest of the tournament plays out.

    You never know, of course, but Spain and maybe Argentina look like they have the easiest path to the semis.

    Mexico has improved with each match but is facing a tough Korea and even if they win the next opponent will likely be Nigeria which will be very tough.

    Switzerland played an excellent group stage winning all three matches and I see them beating Germany which snuck in as a third place team.

    Good luck to the USA against Italy. I think if they make it past that match, the next one will likely be easier.

    Yep–it was a stunner to see Brazil out so early!

  3. I haven’t seen other teams performances, so no predictions here. However, US slowly and steadily getting better. Shinsky keeps getting better; McInerney shows signs of potential greatness; Jerome hasn’t lived up to my expectations based on what I read about him before the tourney, so I’m hoping as the competition gets amp’d, so will he. I am waiting to see Edwards live up to his press – I don’t think he’s been truly tested thus far.

    My personal favorites so far have been Shinksy and Gil. I also like what Sarle does when he gets his shot out there.

    I can’t believe that ESPN has carried the matches so far, and now is my only option. Is there any chance it will be televised on TV?

  4. Korea was unfortunate to lose to Italy. They could have easily had three goals in the first half (two crossbars). Italy came out very slow and Korea attacked down the Italians right side quite easily. Italy just played long ball to two staggered forwards. In the second half Italy played long balls into the box which they converted into two goals. The announcer said all the Koreans were high school players, and all the Italians were with pro clubs.

    The US backline will need to be strong in the air to win this match. Duran won’t be able to help against the taller Italian deep runs into the box.

  5. I remember during qualifying that people were doubting J Mac and wondering why he was there in the first place. All he did was pace the scoring for the US and prove he’s the best striker in the squad. He’s had a poor tourney so far, by his standards, but there’s time to turn it around. I would not be surprised to hear him get snapped up by a high level academy after the tournament.

  6. Yossarian,

    Very nice summary. I disagree with you slightly on your assessment of Jerome, I found him lacking in the work rate department and I didn’t find his technical skills all that impressive. But he surprised me that he could play the wing as well as he did.

    The rest of your comments are spot on. I too think McInrney is TaylorTwellman revisited. You didn’t mention Polak who is having the best tourney so far, though he was weaker agaisnt UAE than the previous 2 games. (probably because Shinsky stepped it up!) Polak’s corners are a thing of beauty, amazing at his age.

  7. I watched the game live on 360 and could not help but think that McInerny was a poor man’s Robbie Keane. Not blazing fast but decent speed, not the most technically gifted but good, but man does he have the poachers mentalilty that Robbie has. Just a thought.

  8. If Shinski, McInerney, Jerome and Gil are quicker and cleaner in front of goal they have a good shot.

    Shinski improved a great deal in attack the last game and he should as Polak behind him has been rock steady. He still can’t cross though.

  9. that would require ALOT of what ifs…

    Lletget has not represented Italy at any Youth level…. nor Argie for that matter… he would have to turn out massive in order to even get considered for a call up…

    and thats assuming he wants to, as his most recent PR job states he wants to represent US… of course this could simply be keeping bridges open…

    at the moment he’d have to do some major impressing to get picked off… when rossi was his age he was already in Italy’s youth program..

    still whatever he chooses is his choice, and i hope the best for the kid

  10. Can’t wait for the game! I actually thought that Jack Mac had an ok game. Not great mind you, but he made some pretty nice passes. For me the jury is still out on him…

    On a totally unrelated note: Ives, I love the new comments section, but they don’t appear on my Blackberry Storm for some reason. If I remember right, you also have this phone, and I assume you can read the comments on your own website. Am I missing something?

  11. I watched them for the first time on the 360 replay and I must admit that, despite my prejudices, I was impressed with the team’s ability to possess the ball – something you don’t see much from a usnt side. They are clearly a bunch of awful finishers, it’s true, but that skill can be learned fairly easily. The main weaknesses, typically, of us nat teams are first touch, possession of the ball, and ball striking. Certainly, the latter skill still is lacking but the former two showed much progress. The first touches may not have been technically polished, but they were very purposeful and there was a clear mindfulness not to wast that touch, to plan it out and do something with it.

    Jerome was particularly impressive. He may have been a little too reliant on his (admittedly abundant) speed, but he also showed moves and creativity as well as a number of beautifully weighted crosses. He seems to have the perfect skillset for a USMNT right wing. Shinsky also showed great work rate, speed and excellent skills, though his last touch was always lacking. The defenders all looked extremely solid and Gil, though invisible for the first 30, was consistently dangerous the last 60. I was not impressed with McInerny, however. He doesn’t seem to have much skill aside from decent athleticism and nose for the goal. His ultimate upside is Taylor Twellman which is certainly not awful, but I don’t see him challenging for USMNT duty much in the future (admittedly too early to call that, though).

  12. LOL…

    No! Burkina Faso loosely translates to “My Fathers Land”. It used to be known as Upper Volta.

    I only know this because I am from Sierra Leone.

  13. The luck of the Gringo…

    Any draw involving FIFA requires we get a world-power house.

    I don’t know which country is better, but I’m assuming Italy has a better team than Turkey. We beat UAE, yet they are drawn Turkey, while we are drawn Italy. Yay.

  14. Brazil and Holland were both third in their groups and apparently lost out to the UAE based on Fair Play – they had more fouls, I think. *snicker*

  15. Here’s one way to remember Burkina Faso: main cities are Ouagadougou (WAH-ga-DOO-goo) and Bobo Dioulasso (BO-bo joo-LA-so)! Beautiful country, very relaxed and welcoming.

    USA-Italy… isn’t this where Lletget could reverse the damage Rossi did? Oh, yeah, he doesn’t even know if he’s going to play for Italy or Argentina.


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