US advances despite loss; South Korea, Japan, Belgium also advance

Friday, June 14th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) _ The United States advanced to the second round in the World Cup Friday despite losing 3-1 to Poland, as South Korea defeated Portugal.

The Americans allowed two goals in the first five minutes. But when South Korea edged Portugal 1-0 to win Group D, it also sent the Americans into the second round as the group runner-up.

But Poland showed soccer isn't the Americans' game quite yet. The Americans played nervously and were no physical match for the already-eliminated Poles at Daejeon, South Korea. All they needed was a tie, but when they lost, they had to turn to Incheon, where South Korea got a late goal and Portugal, playing two men down for the final 24 minutes, three times was denied a tying goal in the dying minutes.

After their opening 3-2 upset of fifth-ranked Portugal, the Americans were outplayed in a 1-1 tie with South Korea and by Poland.

The South Koreans joined co-host Japan in the second round, winning the group. Both made it for the first time.

South Korea faces Italy on Tuesday in Daejeon. The U.S. team plays regional rival Mexico on Monday in Jeonju.

Japan gained a place in the second round by beating Tunisia 2-0 in Osaka. Belgium struggled back from the brink of elimination with two late goals against Russia and also moved on. It gets the unenviable task of meeting four-time champion Brazil in the round of 16. Japan plays Turkey.