Not as mighty

ROB BRODIE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

OTTAWA -- The Czech Republic wouldn't yield to mighty Argentina.

The five-time FIFA Under-20 World Cup champions from South America tried before a hugely pro-Argentina sellout crowd of 26,559 at Frank Clair Stadium. But despite the waves of blue and white attack directed their way, the Czechs salvaged a 0-0 draw that had to qualify as the biggest of moral victories.

With one day's play in the books, all four sides in Group E are level in the standings with a point.

And the fans in Ottawa who packed Frank Clair yesterday still wait for the first goal of the competition here, as North Korea and Panama also went goalless in their match earlier in the day.

Who would have considered this thought: Brazil and Argentina, the tournament co-favourites and masters of creative soccer, both are without a goal after a combined 180-plus minutes of play.

At least Argentina didn't leave the pitch empty-handed - the Brazilians, meanwhile, were stunned 1-0 by Poland at Olympic Stadium in Montreal yesterday.

The two results have set up the possibility that, if Argentina were to win the Ottawa group and Brazil winds up second in Montreal, they'd have to line up against each other in a second-round match in Toronto.

Far sooner, to be sure, than either would like to meet.

Argentina did everything but put the ball into the back of the net behind Czech goalkeeper Radek Petr.

Argentina immediately went to the attack. With stars Sergio Aguero and Mauro Zarate leading the charge, the defending champs were unlucky not to hit the scoresheet in the opening five minutes.

Aguero, the Atletico Madrid striker, was the most dangerous player on the field most of the night, turning in an often breathtaking display of football. Argentina had 22 scoring chances to the Czechs' two, with both of the latter off the mark.

Scoreless draws are rare at this level. Only two 0-0 matches were played in the entire 2005 U-20 World Cup in the Netherlands.


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