Quote Sheet: U.S. MNT vs. Mexico
JEONJU, Korea (June 17, 2002) - After the greatest victory in U.S. Soccer history, a 2-0 World Cup triumph over Mexico to advance the USA to the quarterfinals, U.S. head coach Bruce Arena and a number of players spoke to the media about the historic win and the up-coming showdown with Germany.
June 17, 2002
U.S. Head Coach
On the match:
"Well, it was a hard-fought match. We were coming off a disappointing loss, in the last game we played against Poland. We had a short period of time to rest. We needed to get our guys to get ready to play, come up with the game plan, allow them to endure for over 90 minutes. Our guys executed it beautifully, played well against a great Mexican team, who has impressed everyone at the World Cup so far."
On the changes in the U.S. line-up:
"It was tough getting our guys back from the game on Friday. Obviously, losing to Poland, (and it was a) short period to recover physically. We had to go with the game plan that made sense so our guys could endure (playing) for 90-95 minutes. Our guys left everything on the field today. They played great and I'm proud of them."
"I thought we needed some fresh legs in here today. It's been a difficult tournament with a number of games in a short period. I felt Eddie Lewis time had come. And Gregg Berhalter and Josh Wolff were ready to go. A bunch of guys gave a great effort and our veterans did a terrific job. (Claudio) Reyna played a position he was not used to and he came through big."
On why the game was so physical:
"It's a rivalry. We know each other. There's been a lot of bad blood over the years. But when the game's over we're friends again. Mexico is a great team and I'm proud of my guys. It's a great day for U.S. Soccer."
On whether he thinks the USA has been lucky:
"I don't know if we were lucky. We beat the group winner of the group with Italy. We beat one of the top five teams in the world. ... Then we got a point with Korea, the host country, which no one else has been able to do. We've had some impressive results in this World Cup. I wouldn't call that lucky, I think we have a good team. We will prove that we have one of the great teams in the world with Germany."
On the physical fitness of the team:
"Physical fitness is very important. Today it was very warm out there. We had a short period of time to recover from Friday's match (against Poland). Our fitness paid off. It was very difficult out there. Physical fitness will be very important against Germany, whose physical fitness is very impressive."
On whether he expected more from Mexico today:
"No. We got exactly what we thought. They have a great team and we respect them greatly. Mexico have been one of the most impressive teams in the World Cup. They were a few minutes away from winning 3 games in the group phase, they are a great team."
On his expectations for the quarterfinals:
"We have a very difficult opponent in Germany. But I think when Friday comes around, our team will be ready to play."
On advancing to the quarterfinals for the first time:
"That's terrific for our region. Our region is underrated around the world. With the showing of Mexico, Costa Rica, and USA in this World Cup, we have got a lot more respect."
On playing Germany:
"We are familiar with Germany. We played them last March and they have an outstanding team. They soundly beat us on that day. We understand that they are overwhelming favorites against the U.S. on Friday and on paper, it looks to be no match. However, we don't play this game on paper. It will be difficult because they have the best goalkeeper, and some of the leading goal scorers in the world. However, we will get our players to regroup, recover and put our heads together to get a game plan."
On his opinion about Germany:
"They are a very good team and are playing very well. We played them a couple of months ago and lost so we want a little bit of revenge on them."
On the advantage of Germany in terms of experience:
"It doesn't matter. It's the World Cup and we are playing games. We are not worried about it."
On the influence of the victory in the World Cup on the future of U.S. Soccer:
"If we beat a team like Germany, it will do even more to open people's eyes to us."
On the USA team's progress:
"There are a lot of reasons. After the match against Poland, the manager emphasized very strongly that if we lose we are going to go down swinging. We were going to do everything right today. I think the boys reacted absolutely brilliantly today and defended everything superbly."
"If we defend properly, we'll always get chances to score."
On the team's spirit:
"We've always had it and I think Americans are born with it. Sometimes in games in the past, other things have let us down. But the effort and the heart were never lacking from the American players."
On the United States' performance in this World Cup so far:
"It's been amazing. It's been a long drive coming in and this is the icing on the cake. Now we have another game and there's no reason why we couldn't beat the Germans. We beat a quality Mexican team. It's just an amazing accomplishment for us."
On USA President George W. Bush's phone call:
"We were in the mess hall in some dormitory coming in for a meeting. I didn't have any idea why we were there. To hear his voice and to hear him wish us luck was a great way to start our day. He said he would be watching and he'll support us with the entire nation."
On whether the team's performance would change the low expectations of the squad in the U.S.:
"Hopefully our younger generation can keep American soccer hopes alive and I also hope that they can make heroes out of some of the players on the field."
On how the USA can beat the Germans:
"By putting the ball into the back of the net. They are very physical and good in the air. We have to believe that we can win and come up with a good game plan and stick with it."
On Brian McBride's first goal:
"It was such a great feeling to get a goal so early in the game and put the pressure on them (Mexico). They had to step it up a notch and I think they exerted a lot of energy to get one back."