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Iraq steal the limelight in World Youth Cup

© Reuters Limited 2001

By Luis Ampuero

BUENOS AIRES, June 17 (Reuters) - Iraq stole the limelight on the World Youth Cup's opening day on Sunday as they stormed to a 3-0 win over Canada in their opening match. Favourites Argentina and Brazil, both vying for a fourth title, began with 2-0 wins, as the host nation overcame Finland and their neighbours beat Germany, while China beat the United States 1-0.

Iraq, who meet Brazil in their next match on Wednesday, hit three first half goals as they overran their North American opponents in their group B match in Cordoba. Emad Riadha put them ahead after 21 minutes, with Salah Aldeen Tahir and Ammar Hanoosh adding two more in a ten-minute period before the interval. The other group B game was also settled before halftime as Brazil's Robert opened the scoring from a corner in the ninth minute and then capitalised on a defensive mistake to add a second in the 22nd.

Germany never looked capable of staging a fight-back and the game petered out in the second half on a cold winter afternoon. Argentina had a more difficult time against the Finns, who refused to be intimated by the 20,000 crowd in the Velez Sarsfield stadium or some of the big names in their opponents' line-up. Finland held out for 39 minutes in the group A game until Maximiliano Rodriguez scored direct from a free kick.

Argentine midfielder Javior Saviola, who is expected to be the tournament's big name, set up the second in the 64th minute, leaving his River Plate team-mate Andres D'Alessandro with only the goalkeeper to beat. Only 2,000 people stayed to see the following match between Egypt and Jamaica in the same group.

Egypt dominated but could not find a way past their goalkeeper Allien Whittaker, who had an excellent game, and had had to settle for a point in a 0-0 draw. Gamal Hamza missed a penalty for the North Africans. In Mendoza, China had the best of their group C match against the United States and won with a 50th minute goal by Bo Qu after a quick attack down the right. Olekcii Byelik scored twice as Ukraine beat Chile 4-2 in the same group with Andriy Gerasmenko and Ruslan Valeev grabbing the other goals for the East Europeans.

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