USA stake a claim
© Foto-net

Few would have picked the US to be alone at the top of a group that also contains Nigeria and Netherlands, but that's exactly where they find themselves after one matchday in Tianjin. The Golden Eaglets and European champion Dutch failed to a score a single goal in their opener while the Americans beat Japan.

The games
Nigeria-Japan, 10 July, 17:00 (local time), Tianjin
USA-Netherlands, 10 July, 17:00 (local time), Tianjin

The context
The East Asians gave as good as they got in their tight opening-day loss to the USA. Having proven they can move the ball around on the deck and up the flanks, most notably via the outstanding Atsuto Uchida, the Japanese will now need to focus on their scoring touch. Nigeria also require an upgrade in the finishing department. Ace strikers Peter Odemwingie and Victor Obinna both missed some glorious chances in their opener, a 0-0 draw with group favourites the Netherlands.

The Americans were fortunate not to concede against Japan in their opener and will need to improve if they expect to take points off the Dutch in their second outing. The Oranje, for their part, created a raft of chances against the Nigerians on Thursday night in their first match, but will need to start taking them. They will most likely need to do so without the services of veteran striker Roy Makaay, who injured his foot and was substituted at the half against Nigeria. Still, with Ryan Babel, Royston Drenthe and Jonathan De Guzman in fine fettle, the Dutch will be fancying their chances.

The player to watch: Royston Drenthe (NED)
Born in raised in Rotterdam with connections to the steamy former colony of Suriname, Drenthe is a physical dynamo and player of raw pace and energy. Occupying the left flank in Netherland's opener, the Real Madrid winger and former Feyenoord favourite was at the heart of every meaningful attack. Forcing free kicks, destabilizing the defence and cutting inside with a menacing eye for goal, the 21-year-old will be a worry for an American rearguard which has yet to concede.

The numbers game
1 -
The number of goals scored in 360 minutes of Group B football on the opening day of Men's action in Tianjin.

The quotes
"It's not a bad start for us. I don't think the USA and Japan are as good as Nigeria, so a draw on the opening day is not a troubling result for us," Dutch coach Foppe de Haan.

"We created a lot of chances in this first game, but now we need to work on being more clinical in front of goal," Japan midfielder Hiroki Mizumoto.

The quotes
Can the USA keep their place at the summit of the group?