U.S. MNT Confederations Cup Notes - June 17
LYON, France (Tuesday, June 17, 2003) - The U.S. Men's National Team's first game in the Confederations Cup against Turkey is only two days away and the team is going through its final preparations. Today, get an inside look at the three French venues that will hold all 16 games of the tournament. The U.S. will play in St. Etienne and Lyon in group play, but may get the chance to test out the turf in Saint-Denis if it gets to the semifinals or final. Also, check out today's comments from manager Bruce Arena and Bobby Convey about the tournament.
June 17, 2003
TWO DAYS AWAY:The USA's first match against Turkey on June 19 (7 p.m. local, 1 p.m. ET) will be broadcast via same-day delay on Galavision beginning at 7 p.m. ET. Fans can follow the match live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
SCENE SET: As the U.S. gets set for its first game of the Confederations Cup, take an inside look at the three French venues that will hold all 16 games of the tournament. The U.S. will play in St. Etienne and Lyon in group play, but may get the chance to test out the turf in Saint-Denis if it gets to the semifinals or final.
St. Etienne (U.S. vs. Turkey – June 19)
The Stade Geoffroy Guichard in Saint-Etienne was built in 1931, but has since gone through a total makeover to make it match ready for the ’98 World Cup. The stadium, also called the "green cauldron," can now hold 35,600 fans. As a venue for France ’98, the stadium hosted five group games and one of the most intriguing match-ups of the tournament – the Round of 16 game between Argentina-England. The bitter rivals couldn’t find the decisive winner in regulation or overtime and had to settle on penalty kicks, with Argentina moving on 4-3. St. Etienne will host three group games and the third place match during the Confederations Cup.
Lyon (U.S. vs. Brazil – June 21, U.S. vs. Cameroon – June 23)
The Stade Gerland was built in 1926 by the famous architect Tony Garnier and is, remarkably, still in good shape. To help the cause, the stadium has received a number of facelifts over the years – the most recent prior to France ’98 – and has a capacity of 41,190. French league champions Olympique Lyonnais call the stadium home. The U.S. Men’s National Team are no stranger to the Lyon stadium, having played there during the ’98 World Cup in France. The U.S. fell to Iran 2-1 there in their second match of Group F. In fact, when the U.S. takes the field against Brazil this Saturday, it will mark the five-year anniversary of the U.S.-Iran match, which was played on June 21, 1998. The Stade Gerland will host four group games and one semifinal during the Confederations Cup.
The Stade de France in Saint-Denis near Paris was constructed precisely for the ’98 World Cup and was the site for the final between France and Brazil on July 12, 1998. The 75,000-seat stadium became the center of a countrywide celebration when France defeated soccer power Brazil 3-0. The stadium will host four first-round games, one semifinal game and the final during the Confederations Cup.
THE CROSS: Relive the victory over Mexico in last year’s World Cup through the eyes of Eddie Lewis as he talks about his game-clinching cross to Landon Donovan in the June edition of Center Circle, which will be out on Thursday.
CONFEDERATIONS CUP FACT: A record crowd of 115,000 piled into Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, Mexico in 1999 for the Confederations Cup final between Mexico and Brazil. The most fans ever for a Confederations Cup game were thoroughly entertained with seven goals as host Mexico went on to a 4-3 victory.
This afternoon, U.S. manager Bruce Arena and midfielder Bobby Convey fielded questions from reporters about the Confederations Cup. Convey, who will be 20 years and 23 days old when the U.S. plays its first match against Turkey, is the youngest player on the U.S. roster. Below are some of their responses:
What are your thoughts on the Confederations Cup so far?
Convey: It’s definitely a bigger stage here. It’s great for me to be able to go from the youth World Championships to the Confederations Cup with the full team. It’s another good experience for me to come in and play and get used to the full team level.
How is the preparation different at the men’s national team level?
Convey: It’s different because everyone here is a professional. With the youth teams not everyone is a professional so they don’t know how to take care of their bodies or know what to do to get better. Here, everyone knows the reason why they are here. They know this is their job and they need to play well and come together as a team. It’s definitely different here.
How much has soccer grown in the U.S. and how does that help the national team?
Arena: The sport in the United States has grown considerably and is at an all-time high now. We still have a realistically new domestic league, which is entering its eighth year. I think in time the MLS will improve greatly, there will be expansion and hopefully one day it will begin to model leagues such as the premier league. As our professional league improves it will only help our national team program.
How would a good showing at the Confederations Cup help the profile of soccer in the U.S.?
Arena: It will help it greatly because 16 of our 23 players on the roster are from the MLS. So if we continue to play well on the world stage that is only going to give a positive interpretation of our domestic league.