U.S. shocks France to reach U20 WC quarters

Sebastian Soto scored twice to fire the United States into the U20 World Cup quarterfinals with a shock 3-2 win against France on Tuesday.

The U.S. started brightly with Soto slotting home the game's opener on a counter-attack, curling a shot around goalkeeper Alban Lafont after Richard Ledezma sprang him behind the France defense with a perfect through ball.

However, tournament favorites France struck back just before half-time with a counter-attack of their own, Amine Gouiri beating U.S. keeper Brady Scott from a Moussa Diaby pass as the teams went to the dressing room level at 1-1 at the break.

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Nabil Alioui put France ahead soon after the restart, firing home from close range following some intense pressure on the U.S. defense to start the second half.


The U.S. responded well to the go-ahead goal from France and was back on level terms in the 74th minute when Soto scored his second of the match, finishing cooly from close range after Timothy Weah had split open Les Bleus' defense with lovely outside-of-the-foot pass.

Soto's double put him on four goals for the tournament to join an elite list of U.S. U20 players to accomplish the feat including Josh Sargent (2017), Jozy Altidore (2007), Eddie Johnson (2003), and Taylor Twellman (1999).

Minutes later, the U.S. took the lead again when Lafont spilled a Sergio Dest shot back in front of goal and the onrushing Justin Rennicks buried it into the back of the net to make it 3-2 in favor of Tab Ramos' side.

The result means the U.S. are into the quarterfinals of the U20 World Cup for a third-straight time -- a first for the U.S. -- and will face Ecuador in the next round.