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U.S. Men to Face Grenada or Guyana in Preliminary World Cup Qualifying in June; El Salvador, Jamaica, Panama Await as Potential Semifinal Opponents

CHICAGO (Friday, December 5, 2003) - At the FIFA Preliminary Draw for the 2006 World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany, it was determined that the U.S. Men’s National Team will open their quest to qualify for a fifth consecutive World Cup on June 12 or 13 in Group 1 with a home match versus the winner of an opening-round series between the nations of Guyana and Grenada. The U.S. will play the away leg of their preliminary round series the following weekend, June 19 or 20.

The U.S. also learned their three potential opponents in one of the three Semifinal Round groups, where they could face El Salvador, Jamaica, and Panama should each country advance out of their early-round mini-groups. El Salvador awaits the winner of Bermuda-Montserrat in Group 2, Jamaica faces the winner of Haiti  and Turks & Caicos Islands in Group 3, while Panama meets the winner of the British Virgin Islands and St. Lucia in Group 4.

As qualifiers for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the United States, Mexico and Costa Rica cannot face one another until the third and final stage of the qualifying competition.

"We know that it's a long and difficult process, but we'll be prepared to play the winner, whoever it may be," said U.S. MNT manager Bruce Arena, who guided the USA to a best-ever eighth place finish at the 2002 World Cup. "I'm certain our team will be prepared to play, and hopefully we'll move forward into the next round."

The U.S. has never played Guyana or Grenada in the Men's National Team's 87-year history.

In qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan, Grenada narrowly lost to Barbados in the Caribbean Zone Preliminary Round. The teams tied, 2-2, in the first leg in Bridgetown, Barbados. In the second leg, the match was again 2-2 at the end of regulation, forcing an overtime period during which Barbados scored to advance 5-4 on aggregate. Barbados then faced the United States in the semifinal round of the competition, falling 7-0 on August 16, 2000, in Foxboro, Mass. and holding the U.S. scoreless for the first 60 minutes of the return leg, before the U.S. pulled away for a 4-0 win.

The three islands of Grenada are located in the Eastern Caribbean at the southern extremity of the Windward islands, only 100 miles north of Venezuela. To the north lies St. Vincent and the Grenadines; to the south Trinidad and Tobago.

Guyana was slated to play Antigua and Barbuda in the preliminary round, but withdrew [was suspended] from the competition.

Guyana (full name is Co-operative Republic of Guyana) is a tropical country situated on the northern coast of South America. It is the only country in South America where English is the official language. It is bordered by Venezuela on the west, Surinam on the east, Brazil on the south and the Atlantic Ocean on the north.

The U.S. does have a history against the three teams it might face in its Semifinal Round group.  The U.S. owns a 10-1-4 all-time record (33 Goals For, 10 Goals Against) versus El Salvador, including a 7-0-1 record in the last eight meetings. The U.S. has a 2-0-2 record versus the Central American side in past CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, posting a win and a draw in home-and-home series in 1989 and 1997.

The U.S. has a similar history with Jamaica, holding an undefeated 8-0-5 mark (23 GF, 6 GA) all-time against the king of the Caribbean. After tying in the first meeting in 1988, the U.S. won five straight before drawing in the next four contests. The U.S. has won the last three meetings, including a huge 2-1 result in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying on Oct. 7, 2001 that clinched a berth to Korea/Japan. The USA’s overall qualifying record versus Jamaica is 3-0-3 across a trio of two-game series in 1988, 1997 and 2001.

The U.S. has met Panama just once, with the home team pulling out a 2-1 win on July 14, 1993, at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas.

CONCACAF Draw for FIFA World Cup Germany 2006

1st Stage Groups
Preliminary Round
2nd Stage
Group 1
Semifinal Round
Group 1Winner Group 1
GrenadaWinner E v F
United States
Group 2Winner Group 2
BermudaWinner E v F
El Salvador
Group 3Winner Group 3
HaitiWinner E v F
Turks and Caicos Islands
Group 4Winner Group 4
British Virgin IslandsWinner E v F
St. Lucia
1st Stage Groups
Preliminary Round
2nd Stage
Group 2
Semifinal Round
Group 5Winner Group 5
Cayman IslandsWinner E v F
Costa Rica
Group 6Winner Group 6
ArubaWinner E v F
Group 7Winner Group 7
Antigua and BarbudaWinner E v F
Netherlands Antilles
Group 8Winner Group 8
1st Stage Groups
Preliminary Round
2nd Stage
Group 3
Semifinal Round
Group 9Winner Group 9
DominicaWinner E v F
Group 10Winner Group 10
U.S. Virgin IslandsWinner E v F
St. Kitts and Nevis
Group 11Winner Group 11
Dominican RepublicWinner E v F
Trinidad and Tobago
Group 12Winner Group 12
St. Vincent / Grenadines
Winners and Runners-Up in 2nd Stage Groups advance to 3rd Stage Final Round Group.


3rd Stage Group
Final Round
Winner of 2nd Stage Group 1
Winner of 2nd Stage Group 2
Winner of 2nd Stage Group 3
Runner-Up of 2nd Stage Group 1
Runner-Up of 2nd Stage Group 2
Runner-Up of 2nd Stage Group 3