Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

Here We Go! U.S. Team Confederations Cup Update

June 13, 2009

Courtesy of U.S. Soccer:

U.S. Men’s National Team Confederations Cup Update
Tshwane/Pretoria
June 12, 2009

CONFED CUP KICKS OFF AGAINST ITALY: Less than 72 hours remain before the U.S. begins play in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, with no less than defending World Cup champion Italy waiting to greet them. Kickoff at Loftus Versfeld in Tshwane/Pretoria is set for 2:25 ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN and Telefutura. Fans can also follow the match on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The U.S. will then face five-time World Cup champion Brazil on June 18 in the same venue (9:55 a.m. ET, ESPN2 and Telefutura) before closing out group play against two-time defending African Nations Cup champion Egypt on June 21 at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenberg (2:25 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and Telefutura).

OFFICIAL U.S. CONFEDERATIONS CUP MEDIA GUIDE AVAILABLE ONLINE: Both media and fans alike now have free access to the USA’s 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup media guide. The reference tool includes player bios, the team’s history in the tournament, a look back at the 2007 Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup, and more.

The free media guide can be downloaded as a PDF file by clicking here.

QUICK HITS:

The U.S. team has been together in part since training camp opened on May 26 before two FIFA World qualifiers, at Costa Rica and home against Honduras. The team departed from Chicago on June 8 for South Africa, arriving on June 9 into Pretoria.

The U.S. is without several regulars due to injury. Defenders Steve Cherundolo (Hanover 96) and Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), midfielder Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers) and forward Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo) are all unable to participate due to injury.

The U.S. is the reigning champion of CONCACAF, qualifying for the FIFA Confederations Cup via a 2-1 defeat of Mexico on June 24, 2007, in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final.

South Africa marks the U.S. team’s fourth appearance at the FIFA Confederations Cup. The U.S. also appeared in Saudi Arabia (1992), Mexico (1999) and France (2003).

The U.S. has twice finished third at the FIFA Confederations Cup. In 1992, the U.S. was third out of four teams, and it 1999 they were third of eight teams.

Bruce Murray and Brian McBride lead the U.S. with two goals each in Confederations Cup play. Overall, Mexico’s Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Brazil’s Ronaldinho hold the record with nine career goals in the tournament.

The FIFA Confederations Cup is the 48th FIFA men’s competition in which the U.S. has participated. Only Brazil (61st) has participated in more.

If a player accumulates two yellow cards in the FIFA Confederations Cup, he will miss his team’s next game in the tournament. Yellow cards do not carry over into July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, however, if a player receives a red card in the final Confederations Cup match for the U.S., he will be suspended for the Gold Cup opener.

Following the conclusion of the Confederations Cup, the U.S. returns to home soil to defend the Gold Cup title from July 3-26 in 13 venues across the United States.

ROSTER BREAKDOWN
Average Age: 24.8
Average Caps: 27
Most Caps: 110 (Landon Donovan)
Least Caps: 0 (Luis Robles)
Oldest: 30 (Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra)
Youngest: 19 (Jozy Altidore)
Play professionally in: USA (6), England (5), Germany (3), France (2), Denmark (2), Spain (1), Sweden (1), Belgium (1), Mexico (1), Scotland (1)

Tough Draw For USA In 2009 Confederations Cup

November 22, 2008

Courtesy of U.S. Soccer Communications Center:

U.S. TO PLAY WORLD CHAMPIONS ITALY, BRAZIL AND EGYPT IN GROUP B
OF 2009 FIFA CONFEDERATIONS CUP IN SOUTH AFRICA

CHICAGO (Nov. 22, 2008) – The United States has been drawn into a powerful Group B along with reigning world champions Italy, five-time World Cup winners Brazil, and reigning African Cup of Nations winners Egypt for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup that will be played from June 14-28, 2009, in South Africa. The U.S. kicks off action against Italy on June 15 at Loftus Versfeld in Tshwane/Pretoria, and then faces Brazil on June 18 in the same venue. The United States finishes group play on June 21 against Egypt at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.

Tournament hosts South Africa will open the event against Iraq on June 14 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. The two teams were drawn into Group A along with current European Champions Spain and OFC Champions New Zealand. Played in four venues during two weeks, the tournament will serve as excellent preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. [Opponent Capsules]

The U.S. opens Group B play against Italy, in what will be the fourth time the teams have met in a major international tournament. Most recently, the U.S. and Italy faced off the thrilling 1-1 draw in the second match of group play in the 2006 FIFA World Cup on June 17, 2006, in Kaiserslautern. One of the finest performances in team history, that match is as memorable for the massive support of U.S. fans as for the team holding off the Italians after being reduced to nine men. The United States has never beaten the current world champions, holding a lifetime record of 0-3-3. Italy, currently ranked No. 3 in the world, is participating in their first Confederations Cup.

Next up is a clash with two-time Confederations Cup winners Brazil, who qualified for the tournament after blanking favored Argentina 3-0 in the final of the 2007 Copa America. The U.S. and Brazil are meeting for the third time in Confederations Cup play, having met previously in the middle group matches both in 1999 in Mexico and the 2003 edition in France. Brazil captured 1-0 victories in both contests, Ronaldinho getting the winner in Guadalajara in 1999 and Adriano in Lyon four years later. Overall, the U.S. holds a 1-12-0 lifetime record against the five-time world champions, the lone victory coming Feb. 10, 1998, a 1-0 win in the semifinals of the Gold Cup. The teams faced off last year in Chicago, goals by Carlos Bocanegra and Clint Dempsey putting the U.S. level before Ronaldinho broke the draw en route to a 4-2 win for Brazil on Sept. 9, 2007 in front of 43,543 at Soldier Field.

The U.S. closes out group play against Egypt on June 21 in Rustenburg. They teams have only played once before, Egypt going out 3-1 winners on June 8, 1987, in Seoul, Korea Republic. The Pharaohs have been one of the dominant sides on the African continent, claiming a record six Africa Cup of Nations titles, including back-to-back triumphs in 2006 and 2008. Egypt is playing in their second FIFA Confederations Cup, having participated in the 1999 event in Mexico.

The U.S. will play its first two matches at Loftus Versfeld in Tshwane/Pretoria. The stadium currently has a seating capacity of 45,000. Opened in 1903, the ground hosted matches for the 1995 Rugby World Cup and 1996 CAF Africa Cup of Nations. It is now used by Mamelodi Sundowns as their home ground.

The match against Egypt will be held at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Rustenburg. The stadium is named after the Bafokeng people who live in the area. Upon completion, the stadium will seat 42,000. The South African national team played a FIFA World Cup qualifying game in the venue against Bakino Faso in 2001.

The U.S. is playing in its fourth FIFA Confederations Cup tournament, having appeared most recently in the 2003 event in a group with Brazil, Turkey and Cameroon. The team reached the semifinals of the 1999 tournament, beating Germany and New Zealand in group play before losing to hosts Mexico in the semifinals. The matches next year will represent the USA’s second time playing on South African soil, the team having defeated South Africa 1-0 on Nov. 11, 2007, in the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

2009 FIFA Confederations Cup
Group B Schedule
Date Match Venue Time (local/ET)
June 15 Brazil-Egypt Mangaung/Bloemfontein 4 p.m. / 10 a.m.
USA-Italy Tshwane/Pretoria 8:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m.
June 18 USA-Brazil Tshwane/Pretoria 4 p.m. / 10 a.m.
Egypt-Italy Johannesburg 8:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m.
June 21 Italy-Brazil Tshwane/Pretoria 8:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m.
Egypt-USA Rustenburg 8:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m.

Blatter: Plan B for 2010 World Cup?

June 30, 2008

As many suspected, FIFA president Sepp Blatter, admitted yesterday that while he still believed in South Africa as the 2010 World Cup host, he does have a “Plan B.”

Blatter told Austrian state broadcaster ORF that there were some concerns about infrastructure and security and stated that the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa will be the test run. If it is not satisfactory, it would be time to look at alternatives.

“But at the moment an earthquake would have to occur to prevent the World Cup from being held in South Africa. However, I would be a negligent Fifa boss if there was no plan B in the cupboard,” Blatter said.

Moving the World Cup from South Africa (which would be the first ever held on the continent) could be politically impossible unless it was to another African nation(s). But where? Egypt (not enought stadia), Nigeria (similar security concerns), or a combination of two countries? If FIFA must hold the 2010 World Cup outside of Africa, a few options do exist:

1) See if Brazil (the 2014 host) is ready to go early, perhaps swapping dates with South Africa.

2) Look elsewhere.

Could this perhaps be an option for England to throw their hat in the ring instead of facing a strong US bid for 2018. For that matter, could the US be sniffing around to be the backup plan for 2018?