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Tuesday, 18 June, 2002, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK

USA through, nation nonplussed

By BBC Sport Online's Tom Fordyce

BBC Sport Online takes a look at the USA's World Cup success in the style of an American sportswriter.

A zip-two shutout for Team USA saw Mexico bested and the US elevated to eight-left status at soccer's World Tournament Monday.

Eddie Lewis' 40-yard speed-play upfielded for Landon Donovan to put through the scorebag on his head - equalling jubilation in the US locker-room.

Bradley Friedel's blanking left Mex facing a negative score-stat scenario and brought America to a 9-6-5 close-out on the road.

Friedel, rostering for Kasey Keller, performed big when Mexico's offensive hitman Blanco had a net-shot opportunity late in the third quarter.

And the USA defense performed hang-tough also, though a non-call on fieldman John O'Brien with 23.12 on the game-clock could have led to a Card Red ejection.

Field player Donovan now has 323 out-field minutes, a raise of 71 on USA at Italy Soccer World '90.

USA is now to face a sudden-death match-up with spunky Germany, who is a three-time champion looking for another World Cup ring.

Last week, Team States sneaked one out against Portugal when MC Bride hit into the shot-zone, earning bragging points for years to come.

Veteran coach Bruce Arena placed two cornermen in the net-box to negate Portugal firing-boots George Costa and Louis Figo, and his thinking bore heavy fruits.

Free agent Jeff Agoos went ape down the 11th when whistled for a clamber on Paul Eta, but Eddie The Pope holed in from the loop for O'Brien and the bird was flown.

Awesome kick-fest

Elsewhere, 1966 champion England is locked in the final game of a one match series with high-shooting Brazil.

England is hoping star offensive lineman Mikey Owen finds his net form and snatches the championship game off Brazil team owner Phil Scolari.

The ball game sees sophomore success Ron Aldo hard up against British hope Davie Beckham.

Aldo, whose face is the most-sported pin in tournament merchandising stat-history, is .654 to June 17 and has the chance to move within .087 of all-time net-shake legend Mary Dona this regular season.

Beck, leader of the England team on converted set-plays, is lended from the Manchester Hot-Rods franchise over the summer semester.

The midfieldman scooted through backfield Saturday to slap back upcoming Danemark on a zip-three reverse.

Beck was left staring at a rap-sheet at World Tournament France four years back when he was sin-binned for stud-checking Argentine centre Diego Simeon.

Now he has bungeed back to claim the top-dog collar on England's special team outfit.

Freshman Daniel Mills, 24, known for landing big defensive hits, will be used on wing-plays allied to rookie Trevor St Clair to jostle Brazil's tight end - mostly strikerback Dennis Nielson.

Head coach Gordon-Eric Son hints power-strikes will hit upstarts Brazil early. He hopes goaltender Dave Seaman can perform his third smother-shut of the series.

The soccer World Cup, a regional show based on Major League Soccer, concludes June 30 at the Grand Series finale in Japorea.

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