Striker Tim Weah's spectacular hat-trick helped United States of America (USA) rout Paraguay 5-0 in the pre-quarterfinal of the Federation Internationale de Football Association U-17 World Cup, here today.
In a match completely dominated by the North American side, Paraguay did well to keep to score to just 1-0 at half-time.
U-17 coach Jack Hackworth sent a message to his players, and they entered the match knowing they were playing for an entire nation. But, I am really proud of my goals today and I would like to thank (Andrew) Carleton and Josh (Sargent) for their brilliant assists.
Tim Weah, a son of former world player of the year George Weah, scored three goals to lead the United States over Paraguay 5-0 on Monday and into the quarterfinals of the Under-17 World Cup.
The rout came in the second half, but the seeds for the victory were planted in the first half, with the USA defense standing firm against a risky Paraguay attack that put pressure on early, but never broke through.
The first session saw Paraguay battling it out with their rivals on an equal footing.
Three minutes before the interval Alan Rodríguez again missed a chance to equalize as left footer flew over the bar.
Carleton made it 3-0 off a pass from Sargent in the 63rd. Akinola struck a ideal pass to a streaking Weah to shock Paraguay. "It was a hard group, but this (Round of 16) is where the game begins", the Paraguay coach said. "It was going really well in the opening stages". His second goal was a gem. "I don't really score so many lovely goals so I am really happy to get that tonight", Weah added.
It will be inevitable that American fans overreact to Monday's blowout win.
It hasn't quite been a week since the United States men's national team crashed out of the World Cup, and you're still down.
Paraguay coach Gustavo Morinigo, however, knows the task his side awaits: "The US is really a complicated team, the individuals, the captain himself, it has one of the best players and the team is really good", Morinigo told reporters during the pre-match press conference. The U.S. had not reached the quarterfinals since 2005.
Tim Weah, the son of 1995 FIFA World Cup Player of the Year George Weah, who is now in a run-off to become president of Liberia, was born in Brooklyn, New York.
Could Osorio be USA's next coach?
Meeting the United States in Saturday's quarterfinal will be the victor of Tuesday's match between England and Japan. Expectations will be heightened considerably in the quarterfinals, and after being underdogs in the Round of 16, the Americans might now be seen as favorites.