Room for improvement

ROB BRODIE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:05 AM ET

Here's a piece of news that the rest of the field at the FIFA U-20 World Cup really needs to hear: Argentina thinks its best is still yet to come.

"It's always possible to show better," captain Matias Cahais said yesterday, less than 24 hours after Argentina had completed a 6-0 demolition of Panama at Frank Clair Stadium.

"We have great players ... I hope that as the games progess, we'll continue to play even better."

Cahais spoke in the wake of a game in which the five-time champions pumped home four goals in seven minutes during the first half, setting a FIFA record for the quickest such scoring outburst in a U-20 World Cup game. Ten years ago, Brazil scored four times in nine minutes in a 10-3 rout of South Korea.

"It's obvious the team is improving," Argentina coach Hugo Tocalli said through a translator.

"We saw a good performance from the forward lines (Tuesday), now the key is to balance the defence and the forwards."

WIN OR TIE AND THEY'RE IN

With a win or a tie against North Korea tomorrow night at Frank Clair, Argentina would advance through to the second round as group winner.

There is the delicious prospect out there that, if Brazil winds up second in Group D, the two South American powerhouse teams would meet in a second-round match July 12 in Toronto.

But Tocalli didn't want to consider that possibility yesterday.

"We have to get ready to play anybody," he said. "But my preference would be to meet Brazil in the round of four."

Added Cahais: "We are aware that is a possibility, but the main thing is to think one game at a time and focus on Korea."

Argentina might have to do it without attacking midfielder Damian Escudero, who left the Panama match with a pulled muscle in his left leg. Medical tests today will determine his fitness for tomorrow's match -- and beyond.

"It's very unfortunate, it's a very sad situation," said a forlorn-looking Escudero.

"At this level, every player hopes to be able to play in all the games. This is upsetting for me."

The North Koreans, meanwhile, have to figure out a way to manufacture at least a third straight draw. But even three points might not get them through to the next phase. The top two in each of six groups advance, but only four of the third-place finishers.

"We are determined to get the win and to proceed to the next stage," North Korea coach Jo Tong Sop said through a translator.


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