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Tab Ramos

FIFA U-20 World Cup Quote Sheet : U.S. vs. France Preview

U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos and midfielder Wil Trapp preview the USA’s Group A match against France at 6 p.m. local (11 a.m. ET) on Monday, June 24, at Sami Yen Arena in Istanbul, Turkey (ESPN2, WatchESPN, Univision Deportes):

U.S. U-20 MNT head coach TAB RAMOS
On how the team approaches France:
“We have to do the best we can. We realize we’re playing against great players and we have to make them uncomfortable. At the same time, we have to figure out when we make them uncomfortable and we’re getting some turnovers how we can cash in on those. Certainly we have all the goals that other teams have, and we just have to go a little bit at a time.”

On handling France’s attack:
“Obviously they’re very dangerous players, play in a difficult league and they can get goals. We also have to look at the fact that Paul Pogba touched the ball 115 times in the [Ghana] game, which is a lot. So we’re on top of what we think are some of the things that we need to do. At the same time, I would say that sometimes great players make things happen no matter what you do. We’ll do the best we can to try to contain their best players and we’re ready to make something happen on the other end of the field.”

On improving in the final third and generating more shots on goal:
“We’ve been addressing this actually for the past couple weeks. Because we’re a team that now the players are comfortable enough to have possession against any team, I think that’s a great sign for us. But possession when you don’t have the penetration of going to goal is sort of useless. We’re trying to get to goal. We’re trying to get our players confident enough to make things happen and to finish the games. At the end of the day, we play the games to win. Having possession alone is not going to help. It’s something we’ve addressed and something we trained yesterday on, as well. But it’s not something that is new just after the last game. It’s an issue that we’ve had over the past few weeks.”

On how the U.S. approached the previous match against Spain:
“We wanted to take possession away from Spain, which is always a difficult thing at all levels. Spain always has the ball. I think we did a good job of that. Second was if we’re going to lose this game somehow, let’s not let (Gerard) Deulofeu or Jese beat us in this game. Let’s let anyone else do it but those two guys. And in turn those two guys beat us anyway. It’s not like we were not prepared. We prepared. And like I said before, sometimes great players will make the right runs at the right time and they put the game away. A very important part of the game was the end of the first half when we gave up the two quick goals. And if you look at the goal that Deulofeu scores with about three minutes left it’s a ball that he wins among three of our defenders and then he beats another one of our defenders and shoots behind two other players into the corner. Can you defend that better? We’ve looked at the film a lot. I just don’t think you can.”

On Danny Garcia’s injury from the Spain match:
“Our only issue physically is that Danny Garcia came out with a little bit of a concussion, so at this point he is day-to-day. We’re not sure if he is going to be available for us tomorrow, but we will probably find out later today or tomorrow. Other than that, the rest of the team is healthy and we’re all ready to go.”

On how playing in a difficult World Cup group is helping with the USA players’ development:
“We’re happy with the group we’re in, especially with our program – our national team programs at all the age groups, not just the Under-20s. Hopefully you qualify for the World Cup so you can play the best in the world. For us, we have an opportunity to be in a group with three teams that are among the best in the world. You can’t hope for better. We played Spain. As everybody could see, we came out to win the game. We came out to press Spain and came out to do the best we could to win the game. At the end of the day, we’re going to do that in all the games while we’re here. Don’t think by any means that we’re just happy to be here. We came out at the Spain game to win the game. It didn’t work. We’ll do the same against France and hopefully we can beat France and we’ll take it from there.

“I see it as a great experience for our players regardless. Hopefully we have a lot of players on this team that will move up to play for Jurgen Klinsmann at some point. That’s how we have to look at it. But that doesn’t mean that we’re only here going to game to game just to develop our players and we’re happy to be here. We’re extremely disappointed that we lost the first game. Now hopefully we don’t lose any more games.”

U.S. U-20 MNT midfielder WIL TRAPP
On preparing for the France match:
“We’re just ready to take on the next task. The Spain game is behind us and we’re just ready to focus on France. We’ve watched film of them already and we’re just ready to play as well as we possibly can and get the three points.”

On whether showcasing individual talent or winning the tournament are the highest objectives:
“I would say it’s both. I think if we come out on the field and we do well and we show our talent, we can also win games and go as far as we possibly can. Obviously when you’re in a tournament, the goal is to win the tournament. I don’t think we have any other goals than trying to beat favorite teams like Spain and France.”

On containing France’s offense:
“When you look at France and the film that we’ve seen on them, they’re definitely very athletic – big, strong, fast guys. So we’re going to have to just keep doing what we’re doing. Our pressure has to be good. Defensively we have to be sound. These are top-class players who can finish and put away chances if we give it to them. We just have to work hard and just do our best to contain them.”

On the demanding effort from the Spain game and how to maintain that high level against France:
“We worked extremely hard for the 90 minutes we played against Spain. We had a nice recovery day yesterday, much needed for the guys who played the full 90 minutes. And I think today we’re going to get a nice sharp short training session to get our heart rates up and ready to go for tomorrow. It’s going to be a tough task, obviously, but I think we’ll be up for it.”