Quote Sheet: Pre-Nigeria
Head coach Peter Nowak and players discuss upcoming match against Nigeria
Aug. 12, 2008
On the upcoming game against Nigeria:
As I said to the boys in the locker room, it’s just how the game goes sometimes. You have to handle it right, and not get your heads down. We have some unfinished business, and we’ll go into Wednesday’s game against Nigeria fully prepared. Any result other than a loss will give us a pass to the quarterfinals. Maybe we should have taken care of this business tonight but before this game I don’t think anyone gave us a chance to play the game like we did tonight against the European Champions. Let’s not forget about that. They’re the European Champions and we came close to beating them tonight. I gave the boys a big compliment in the locker room. They’ll be disappointed tonight but tomorrow it’s back to business.
On facing Nigeria without Bradley or Adu:
We will have time to think about that over the next couple of days. Freddy and Michael will not play, but as I’ve said from the beginning it’s all about the group. The 18 players we’ve chosen have to be up to the challenge.
On how he'll play against the Nigerians:
"You always want to play the game that they don’t like. When you play teams who like to keep the ball, you have to keep the ball. When you play teams who like to play physically, you play them physically. If a team likes to attack, well let’s see how they are defensively."
On what he expects from the game:
"It’s going to be a fight. They have some good players, especially their three up top. They’re strong and fast, and they’re going to create goal scoring opportunities."
Midfielder Sacha Kljestan
On the upcoming match against Nigeria:
“Nigeria might not be as technical as the Dutch, but their athleticism and the quality of players that they have is pretty good. We’re definitely looking out for them and I obviously think it’s going to be a tough game for us to win, but we thought that about tonight as well.”
Forward Brian McBride:
On whether he’s seen Nigeria play:
“Just in bits and pieces, but they’re good. They’re a team that can beat you in a lot of different ways and have quite a bit of pace. We have to make sure we play smart and that our shape is good, and probably figure some things out on the fly.”
On coming off of an emotional game:
"Right now we’re focused on Nigeria, and we know that we have a lot of positives to build on and take from the last game. I think we all understand that we need to be mentally prepared for a very good game."
Forward Jozy Altidore:
“Nigeria is a good team. They are very technical players, they play very freely. They can punish you in a lot of different ways. We know what we’re up against. But we feel we can play with everybody, and that’s the feeling we’ve had since day one inside this camp, so we’re going to take the same attitude as we did against the Netherlands.”
Defender Marvell Wynne:
“They will run a lot and be good technically. We’ll do everything we can to get a point or three points and move on to the next round.”
On how Nigeria will play knowing they will be attacking:
“If they want to win, they’re going to have to push numbers forward, so we’ll look for counter-attacks. We’ll need to be calm and try and hold the ball as well. It will be a tough task handling their pressure, but we’ll prepare for it.”
Defender Michael Parkhurst
On preparing for Nigeria:
“Nigeria is going to be a tough team. They are always strong, especially in these tournaments. We saw them play a little bit today and they are extremely athletic, strong and scored two very good counter-attack goals against Japan. At the same time, we’re a confident group right now. We think we played a really good game today, so if we put together another 90 minutes like the last 70 we played today we’ll be able to get a result and go through.”
U.S. Defender Maurice Edu
On the mentality of the U.S. team:
“We came into the game confident. We know we have a good team. When we look around the locker room, everybody trusts the guy next to him and they’re willing to lay it all out on the line for the next man and play for each other. That defines our team. We all want to work for each other and work hard for the greater good of the team.”
On preparing for Nigeria:
“The best way to prepare for every game is to go out there and try and win. We can’t worry about the other scenarios, we just have to go out there and win that game. We control our own destiny at this point.”
Midfielder Stuart Holden
On what he expects from Nigeria:
"We know Nigeria is going to be a tough, physical team. We’re expecting a good game on Wednesday and I think it’s going to be a battle from the first whistle."