The USA Under-23 Men's National Team will play England's Under-20s on June 7 to settle the question of which is the third-best squad in this year's Toulon Tournament.
The match-up was decided by the last round of group games. The USA started the day knowing they would play either Mexico, Morocco or England. The first match eliminated Morocco from the equation: goals by Walid El Karti and Achraf Bencharki overturned Mexico's early lead (Michael Perez opened the scoring for El Tri in the 27th minute). The 2-1 win sent Morocco to the final of the tournament, where it will face host nation France - and where Bencharki and Enzo Crivelli will have the chance to claim the Golden Boot outright (the players are joint top-scorers in this year's tournament with four goals apiece).
The result dropped Mexico to second in Group B, and penciled in El Tri as the USA's opponent in the third-place playoff. But England still had opportunity to insert itself into the consolation game: a win over China by two or more goals would leapfrog the English over Mexico on goal difference.
England duly delivered. Newcastle United's Rolando Aarons and Chelsea's Lewis Baker put their team two goals up by the 52nd minute. Guo Yi found the net in the 55th minute, to push England out of the reckoning for a third-place playoff spot. But an own goal by Zhang Xiaobin restored the necessary lead for the young Lions. The English closed out a 3-1 win and clinched second place in their group.
So the USA won't get to play Mexico in Toulon this year, but a match against England is a pretty good alternative. As it happens, the two teams met in the third-place playoff of the 1989 edition of this tournament. The Americans won that day, 2-0. US head coach Andi Herzog should have little difficulty motivating the current players to try to match the achievement of their predecessors.