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Ramos, Balboa named to MasterCard CONCACAF 20th Century team.

By Jerry Langdon
Gannett News Service

(Friday, May 15, 1998) -- Two U.S. players, struggling to gain starting roles for the World Cup after starting in both the 1990 and 1994 tournaments, were selected to the CONCACAF Team of the 20th Century by a panel of soccer writers from the North America-Caribbean-Central America region.

They are midfielder Tab Ramos, trying to recover from his second serious knee operation in a year, and defender Marcelo Balboa, on the sideline due in part to a shift in the U.S. formation from 4-4-2 to 3-6-1, which reduces the number of pure defenders in the lineup.

MasterCard sponsored the team selections, not only for CONCACAF, but for Europe, South America, Africa and Asia/Oceania. It will announce a World Team of the 20th Century on June 9 in Paris, one day before the World Cup starts.

CONCACAF

Goalkeeper: Antonio Carbajal (Mexico).
Defenders:Marcelo Balboa (United States), Gilberto Yearwood (Honduras), Bruce Wilson (Canada), Gustavo Pena (Mexico).
Midfielders:Ramon Ramirez (Mexico), Jorge Magico Gonzalez (El Salvador), Tab Ramos (United States).
Forwards: Julio Cesar Dely Valdes (Panama), Hugo Sanchez (Mexico), Hernan Medford (Costa Rica).

Europe

Goalkeeper: Lev Yashin (Soviet Union).
Defenders: Franz Beckenbauer (Germany), Bobby Moore (England), Paolo Maldini (Italy), Franco Baresi (Italy).
Midfielders:Johan Cruyff (Netherlands), Michel Platini (France), Bobby Charlton (England).
Forwards: Eusebio da Silva Ferreira (Portugal), Ferenc Puskas (Hungary), Marco Van Basten (Netherlands).

South America

Goalkeeper: Ubaldo Fillol (Argentina).
Defenders: Daniel Passarella (Argentina), Nilton Santos (Brazil), Elias Figueroa (Chile), Carlos Alberto Torres (Brazil).
Midfielders: Alfred Di Stefano (Argentina), Roberto Rivelino (Brazil), Didi (Brazil).
ForwardsPele (Brazil), Diego Maradona (Argentina), Garrincha (Brazil).

Africa

Goalkeeper: Thomas Nkono (Cameroon).
Defenders: Ali Shehata (Egypt), Ibrahim Youssef (Egypt), Emmanuel Kunde (Cameroon), Illunga Mwepu (Zaire).
Midfielders: Segun Odegbami (Nigeria), Theophile Abega (Cameroon), Abedi Pele (Ghana).
Forwards: Laurent Pokou (Ivory Coast), Roger Milla (Cameroon), Rabah Madjer (Algeria).

Asia\Oceania

Goalkeeper: Chow Chee Keong (Malaysia).
Defenders: Kim Ho Kon (South Korea), Masami Ihara (Japan), Soh Chi Aum (Malaysia).
Midfielders: Chen Chi Doi (Taiwan), Karim Bagheri (Iran), Kim Joo Sang (South Korea).
Forwards: Majeed Abdullah (Saudi Arabia), Kunishige Kamamoto (Japan), Khodadad Azizi (Iran), Cha Bum Kun (South Korea).

Jerry Langdon is the Gannett News Service sports editor and can be e-mailed at jlangdon@gns.gannett.com.