CHICAGO (December 19, 2005) – Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. PT on Tuesday, Dec. 20 for the U.S. vs. Japan preparation match for the 2006 FIFA World Cup at SBC Park in San Francisco on Feb. 10, 2006 at 8 p.m. PT.
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Tickets start at $22 and are available online at ussoccer.com, at all San Francisco area Tickets.Com outlets (including Giants Dugout Stores, Raley’s, and Sportsmart) and by phone at 800-225-2277. Groups of 20 or more can purchase tickets through SBC Park by calling 415-972-2000 (Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.). A limited number of Ultimate Fan Tickets, which include a VIP experience and a personalized U.S. MNT jersey, will be available for this match.
The Japan match will be the third of 2006 for the U.S., with a pair of friendlies scheduled in Southern California vs. Canada (Jan. 22 in San Diego) and Norway (Jan. 29 in Carson). Tomorrow (Tuesday, Dec. 20), U.S. manager Bruce Arena will name an approximately 30 player roster on ussoccer.com for a month-long training camp to start the World Cup preparations beginning Jan. 4 at The Home Depot Center.
“This will be a great opportunity for our domestic players to show what they can do against a team that is headed to the World Cup,” said Arena. “We believe Japan will field a number of first team players, so it will be a great game to evaluate players and continue to formulate the roster that we will take to Germany.”
At the World Cup draw on Dec. 9, the U.S. and Japan, who finished eight and ninth respectively at the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, learned that the road out of group play in Germany will be challenging. The U.S., ranked eighth in the FIFA rankings, drew into a difficult Group E that includes three of the top 12 teams. The U.S. will open the World Cup vs. the No. 2 Czech Republic, and then face No. 12 Italy before closing out vs. No. 50 Ghana. The USA has chosen the northern port city of Hamburg as its base of operations in Germany.
Japan drew into Group F with defending champion and top-ranked Brazil, Croatia and Australia. In the Round of 16, Group E is matched up with Group F setting up the potential for the U.S. to face Japan this summer in Germany.
The USA-Japan match mark’s the team’s first appearance in San Francisco in 26 years and will feature two teams that qualified for the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 from their respective regions. Both the U.S. and Japan won their respective qualifying groups in both the final and semifinal rounds of qualifying, with Japan dropping just one game with an 11-1-0 record, allowing just five goals. The U.S. finished 2006 World Cup qualifying with a 12-2-4 record, allowing only 11 goals in 18 games. Likewise, the matchup pits two regional champions, as the USA captured the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July and Japan has won each of the last two Asian Nations Cup titles (2004 and 2000).
The match will be just the second meeting between the nations, and the first in the U.S. The only previous meeting came in 1993 when the U.S. fell 3-1 in Tokyo. The U.S. has a 1-2-0 all-time record in San Francisco, with the last appearance there coming in a 4-1 loss to the Soviet Union on February 11, 1979. The team has played in the Bay Area 14 times since then in Oakland, San Jose and Palo Alto. Overall, the U.S. has posted an 8-6-3 record in the Bay Area.
The match will be televised live on ESPN2 and available online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
ussoccer.com is the official website of U.S. Soccer, the governing body of soccer in the United States.