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Pre-Confederations Cup Final Quote Sheet


U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach BOB BRADLEY
On playing in Sunday’s final:
“We're excited to be in the final. For U.S. Soccer this is a very special day, the first time that our national team has played in the final of a world competition like this. To play against Brazil is extra special because of the history that we all know of Brazilian soccer. It's a big day, we're very excited. I think the preparations from the coaching standpoint are very easy because we’ve grown throughout the tournament, and we now look forward to giving our best effort on Sunday.”

On what they learned from the last Brazil meeting:
"We always look hard at our matches. We look at the things we do well and the things that come up short. Against Brazil we started the match tentatively, and it led to set pieces and we fell behind. In the last two matches against Egypt and Spain, you saw we started with more energy and more aggressively. It's important when you step on the field that that balance between positive energy, aggressiveness and intelligence is all there. We've learned from that experience, and now we have a wonderful opportunity to start over against Brazil and make sure that this time the beginning of the match is right for us and we put ourselves in position over the course of the game to come out as champions.”

On the team’s growth:
“We have a confidence on the inside of our team. We have grown in the last few years and we have players that have played in World Cups and are now leaders in our team. There has been a lot of work and lot of things that have come together in the United States for soccer. Major League Soccer is important and we also have players who have chosen to go to Europe and compete at that level. Our national team has had success in World Cups, and we've also had disappointments. These are all lessons along the way. When we now have this chance, it's not just something that has happened in the last few days, but it's the result of the efforts of a lot of people and as we continue our march in the soccer world this is an important step.”

U.S. Men's National Team Goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
On what the team needs to do differently against Brazil:
“We need to close the ball down better, stay tighter and stay more compact. What South Africa did the other night was very good and we can probably learn some lessons from that.”

On what the U.S. Men's National Team can take away from this tournament:
“We can take away the fact that on any given night we have the ability to play with the best team in the world, so long as we stick to what we're good at. That's a vital lesson. It's a vital lesson for the final and for moving forward and playing in other big games.”

On playing without midfielder Michael Bradley, who is suspended for the final:
“The show goes on, it always goes on. It did when Ricardo [Clark] got a red card, it did when Sacha [Kljestan] got a red card and if we're going to be committed to the concept of having a team and working and fighting for one another then we have to get past some of the hurdles. When one of your players gets sent off the guy who comes in needs to step up; it's as simple as that.”

U.S. Men's National Team Defender JAY DEMERIT
On having the opportunity to contribute in the team's run to the final:
“The big word is opportunity. Before this tournament, the guys in front of me played great and had been injury free and so guys in a position like mine could go months or even a year without getting a full opportunity to really show what they have. I'm fortunate enough now to be able to showcase that in this tournament without trying to overshadow anything that the team is trying to do.”

On playing in big games and building confidence:
“For me and for any player it's always satisfying to be out there battling with your teammates. That's what it's all about. The team always comes first, but being out there gives you confidence for the future because the stronger we are, and the more guys we have that can go out there and perform as a collective unit, the better we're going to be as far as our success.”

On his career path, which has taken him from semi-professional soccer in England to an international final:
“It's always been a series of challenges, whether it's going from high school to college, college to the pros, or being a professional and trying to get to the international stage. It's always been the same kind of path. It's a path I take pride in and one that I thrive on. It's something for me that has always shown my will to keep going as I try to find new successes. Hopefully now I'm starting to get to the top of that ladder and long may it continue.”

On what the U.S. needs in order to get a victory against Brazil:
“Firstly, we need pure energy. We need to come out and we need to make sure that we make Brazil's jobs difficult. If you let a team like Brazil play, if you give them time and an opportunity to express themselves, they'll hurt you because that's what they thrive off of. As a unit, like we showed the other day [against Spain] our foundations need to start with making their lives difficult. Then we can express ourselves and we did that against Spain and we definitely need to do that again on Sunday.”

U.S. Men's National Team Forward JOZY ALTIDORE
On the significance of the victory over Spain:
“Well, we need to keep it in perspective. It is a big win for us. I think anytime, in any sport, when you beat the No. 1 team you get some sort of recognition. But at the same time, we’re a humble group, and we know there’s still a ways to go in terms of raising our profile in the states.”

On playing and scoring against his Spanish club teammates:
“It definitely was big. “It was really exciting for me because I play against a lot of those guys. For me, as a young player, anytime you score against a team like that it helps your confidence a bit. They were excited for me even though they were playing against me that night, but they’re looking forward to me developing as a young player and hopefully helping their team in the near future.”

On whether the U.S. really thought of themselves as a semifinal-worthy team, especially after two bad opening losses:
“We always felt like that. Coming into this tournament, we came in confident. At the same time, we understood the task ahead. But you never go into a tournament with your head down, expecting defeat. Even with the two losses, we still felt like we had a chance to go through…I think we deserved it in the sense that we never gave up and we played to the end, so it’s well deserved.”

On whether the traditional powers respect U.S. Soccer:
“It’s tough to talk about. In some areas, a lot of people may respect what we’re trying to do in the States in terms of developing the game, and then there’s another case where some people feel like it just doesn’t have a chance. I think all around it’s more of if they really do believe that we can someday be a soccer power, and I think here in the States we do. Which is why we try to put the game on the map, put good performances in, to help those up and coming, so that younger guys and the future of the game can grow.”

On playing Brazil again after losing 3-0:
“I think the first time around we probably gave them a bit too much respect, we sat back and came out pretty tentative. I think we’re going to have to throw everything we’ve got at them, and come out aggressive and come out the way we have the past two games, which I know we’re capable of. I think it’s going to take a team effort once again, and I really hope for a good result and we all feel like we can get the job done.”

U.S. Men's National Team Captain CARLOS BOCANEGRA
On the defense of the team, particularly how the personnel has changed:
“There have been a few changes, but I thought even in the first game against Italy, even though three goals got scored on us I thought they did well. Obviously, we went down a man with a red card which made it a little bit more difficult. But for the whole tournament I’ve thought we’ve been pretty solid, and especially against Egypt and Spain it was a whole team effort. Obviously, the defense will get more credit for shutouts and keeping other teams at bay, but we don’t have a very good chance of doing that if we don’t have a lot of help in front of us and a really good group effort.”

On what it means for the U.S. to be playing in the final of a tournament like this:
“It’s special, you know. It’s starting to come upon us, and right after the Spain game we were just so pumped that we beat them, trying to enjoy the moment. And now that it has sunk in, we’re starting to realize we’re playing in the final of a major FIFA tournament for the first time ever for a U.S. team. There’re a lot of factors that go into it, throughout your professional career you only get a certain amount of chances to play in finals or championship games, so this is something that’s really special. I know I’m cherishing it, I know we’re not taking it for granted.”

On the red cards that we’ve had to overcome:
“Yes, it’s been difficult. Other guys have to come in to step up and do big jobs. For the final it’s a tough loss right down the middle for us in Michael [Bradley] because he runs and brings so much energy, covers so much ground and breaks up a lot of plays. So whoever comes in for him, whether it’s Benny [Feilhaber], Sacha [Kljestan], Jose [Torres] or whoever plays alongside Ricardo [Clark] is going to have to step the game up and help the team out. But saying that, that’s why we have all these guys who are more than capable of doing that, so we’re confident they can step up and do a great job.”

U.S. Men's National Team Defender JONATHAN BORNSTEIN
On the group effort of the team to overcome red cards and get this far:
“Yeah, it has definitely been an overall group effort. Ever since before the tournament, when we were in camp for the qualifiers, we knew it would take a large number of people to get through this tournament just because the games are so close together. You never expect to get red cards in games, but three red cards in four games obviously means you’re going to need to supplement other players. I think everyone stepped up to the challenge when they’ve been called upon, especially in the Egypt and Spain game it was an overall group effort. “

What it means for the U.S. to play in the final of a tournament like this:
“It’s huge. All the guys are extremely excited. The only real final we’ve ever played in is the CONCACAF Gold Cup final, and ultimately that’s what got us here, but obviously it’s nowhere near as big a stage as the FIFA Confederations Cup. I’m excited for sure, and I know a lot of the guys are really looking forward to it, and we’re really proud of what we’ve accomplished over the past four games. You don’t want to get overexcited, because it is a final that you need to be prepared for, but at the same time be proud of where you’re at and get excited for the game.”

What it says about U.S. Soccer that the team has made an impact in a tournament this strong:
“I think it says a lot about us growing as a team. Obviously this is the first final of a big tournament, so that must mean that our team is getting better in some respects and that the effort that we’re putting out there is beyond what we’ve been able to put out there before. I think if we can play the way we did against Spain and Egypt that we can compete with anybody in the world. That says leaps and bounds about how far we’ve come since U.S. Soccer started.”

On his personal feelings about the chance to potentially be playing in a FIFA tournament final:
“Growing up, I never would have imagined being a part of the U.S. Soccer National Team. I talk with Benny [Feilhaber] sometimes because we played club soccer together, and we room together on these trips, and we always look at each other and say ‘could you ever imagine when we were playing youth soccer that we would have been part of something this big?’ and we never would have imagined it. It truly is a dream that came true, and hopefully we get to be a part of something bigger when we win the whole thing, so I’m looking forward to that.”

U.S. Men's National Team Midfielder BENNY FEILHABER:
On the aggressive style of play the U.S. has shown in the past two matches:
"Obviously the game against Egypt and against Spain we came out in force. In the Egypt game we knew we had to win and probably win by a lot, and when we were able to get that first goal and we came out in the second half, going for the second, going for the third, it gave us that bit of confidence that we needed going into the semifinals and we knew we could compete against the better teams in any game."

On the confidence the team gained from their victory over Spain:
"It’s great, just the win against Spain was something that we really wanted to do, and you could see in the first twenty minutes that the guys were out there to win the game. We didn’t just want to pack it in and play for the 0-0 result. It was nice to see and I think when we do play like that, tight defensively but also willing to go forward, we can be a dangerous team. Making it to the final is a huge step for us. I think we’re going to go into the Brazil game expecting to compete and we’re going to make it a tough game for them. It’s going to be something real special for us, and we hope we can come away with the victory."

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