U.S. U-17s Open FIFA World Championship Against New Zealand Tomorrow, Nov. 10
AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Tuesday, November 9, 1999) - The U.S. Men's Under-17 National Team concluded their final preparations for the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship with a walk-around at North Harbour Stadium, the site of the USA's opening match against host nation New Zealand, earlier today.
The U.S. team arrived in New Zealand on Thursday, Nov. 4, and have set camp in Auckland where the team has held daily practice sessions at Bill McKinley Park. Temperatures have ranged in the 50s and 60s with continues cloud cover, occasional down pours and gusty winds. The players have shown minimal signs of problems dealing with the weather.
The USA goes into the match against New Zealand with a 20-match unbeaten streak, that began in Aug. 1998. The streak, spanning 15 months and 1,800 minutes, is the longest unbeaten streak in the history of U.S. Soccer's National Teams program with a record of 16-0-4.
The USA-New Zealand match will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. local time (1:30 a.m. ET) and will be televised back in the States live on pay-per-view via the DISH Network. The match will also be shown on tape-delay on Fox Sports World on Nov. 15 at 11:00 p.m. ET.
USA-NEW ZEALAND MATCH-UP: When the USA takes the field tomorrow night against New Zealand it will mark the third time that these two countries have met. In the first match the U.S. U-17s beat the Kiwi's 3-2 on April 9, 1998, in France. In the second match the U.S. managed only a 1-1 draw against the "Junior All-Whites" on Dec. 12, 1998 in New Zealand.
REFEREES TO BE APPOINTED LATER TODAY: FIFA will announce the referee crews for the first 24 games of the tournament later today.
(NON) INJURY REPORT: The U.S. U-17s go into its opening match against New Zealand in good health and fitness. Bryan Jackson (La Canada, CA) has made remarkable progress in recovering from a strained MCL in his left knee which saw him see limited action the last month and Bobby Convey (Philadelphia) who has been fighting a cold since the team arrived in New Zealand should be ready by game time.
JOHN ELLINGER (U.S. U-17 Head Coach)
On New Zealand:
"They play a three-four-three system with a sweeper. They play very direct with their defenders just pumping long balls to their front-runners. New Zealand is a very fit and fast team and they will try and use that as their weapons judging by the wind that has been blowing this week. With their style of play I can see why they are hoping for this wind."
On What It Will Take To Succeed:
"We have to match their work-rate, take care of the ball, have quality possession and finish our chances. The team is ready. They have been waiting for this for a long time and they are anxious to play. We need to play with passion but to keep our emotions under control."
NELSON AKWARI (U.S. U-17 defender & co-captain)
On the Mood of the Team:
"We are very confident going in to the match against New Zealand. We feel we can get the result that we need to start the tournament on the right foot."
On What To Expect From New Zealand:
"New Zealand will be very tough and will have the home crowd behind them. We are expecting a physical game and are up to the challenge of playing the host nation on their field and in-front of their fans."