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Disorganized U.S. Loses

Turkey beats Americans, 2-1, and Cameroon stuns Brazil, 1-0.

June 20, 2003|Grahame L. Jones | Times Staff Writer

There was a major upset in the FIFA Confederations Cup in France on Thursday, but the United States did not provide it.

Instead, the U.S. was beaten, 2-1, by Turkey in front of 16,944 at Saint-Etienne in a game the Turks controlled.

"Our lack of continuity on the field in all positions was a factor in the game," U.S. Coach Bruce Arena said. "We had a bunch of players who had subpar performances, and you can't get away with that."

In Paris, Cameroon shocked world champion Brazil, 1-0, in front of 46,000 at the Stade de France on an 83rd-minute volleyed goal by Samuel Eto'o, handing the South Americans only their second loss since winning the World Cup a year ago.

The Brazilians are the Americans' next opponents -- on Saturday in Lyon -- and the U.S. is likely to find Ronaldinho and company in a much more motivated mood.

"We knew that in a tournament with such a tight schedule we could not afford to lose the opening game," Brazil Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said. "Now we know that we will have to win our next two games if we want to have a chance to play in the final."

The U.S. managed to grab the lead against Turkey, albeit against the run of play, when DaMarcus Beasley headed in a cross from Landon Donovan in the 36th minute.

"It's good to go up, 1-0, early," Beasley said, "but we got careless and we gave away a goal in the next two minutes."

That was when defenders Frankie Hejduk and Danny Califf closed down Turkey's Tuncay Sanli a little too enthusiastically and Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda awarded the Turks a penalty kick.

Okan Yilmaz scored from the spot to tie it, and Sanli later won the game for the 2002 World Cup semifinalists in the 70th minute when he took a superb through pass from Volkan Arslan and dodged around charging American goalkeeper Tim Howard before putting the ball into the empty net.

Despite the victory, Turkey's coach, Senol Gunes, was not pleased.

"In my opinion, we should have won this game by a bigger margin than 2-1," he said. "We missed a number of chances during the first half. Had we taken one or two of them, the second half would have been totally different. Because we couldn't, we were under a bit more pressure."

Arena agreed.

"Over the 90 minutes, Turkey was the better team today," he said.

Turkish fans in the crowd booed the U.S. and threw bottles and other debris toward Howard, but Beasley said the fans were not a factor in the outcome.

"The crowd doesn't bother us," he said. "Even when we play at home, we have to deal with it. The crowd has nothing to do with it."

In Paris, the crowd was very much behind Cameroon, but Winfried Schaefer, the Indomitable Lions' German coach, said it was tactics that won the game.

"The players just implemented the strategy we had set up," he said. "We had decided to give the Brazilians no room on the wings. We started with just one striker because we knew the key of the match would be the midfield battle.

"In the second half, I fielded a second striker and it helped us to create more chances."

The eight-nation tournament continues today when France plays Japan and Colombia plays New Zealand.

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Times wire services contributed to this report.

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