Playing the host team in the opening game of a tournament they badly want to win is a task no team wants in any international competition. But that’s the challenge the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team faced against France on Tuesday in its opening match of the Toulon Tournament.
Up against a bigger, stronger and faster team, the U20s couldn’t keep pace against the older squad (the tournament is an Under-21 competition) and lost heavily 4-1.
This of course, is part of the preparations for the U20 World Cup that will begin in Turkey at the end of June.
Here are three takeaways from the loss:
1. It wasn’t a good performance, but there are a few caveats
Losing in the fashion that they did isn’t going to give this team a strong jolt of confidence. But there are several things to consider.
The first is that this is an Under-21 competition, and France, with an immense desire to win it, deployed a roster of all players born in 1992 and 1993, while the U.S. side played a U20 squad, consisting of players born 1993 and later. Most of the French roster consisted of mostly full professionals, many regulars for their club in Ligue 1.