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U.S. Opens World Cup Qualifying with Back-to-Back Road Matches in July


CHICAGO (Thursday, June 22, 2000) - The United States' long road to the 2002 World Cup will begin with away matches against Guatemala and Costa Rica in July before the team returns to home soil for three consecutive games in the USA. The United States will first meet Guatemala at Estadio Nacional Mateo Flores in Guatemala City on Saturday, July 15, before squaring off against Costa Rica at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa in San Jose, Costa Rica, on Sunday, July 23.

After returning to the United States, the National Team will face Barbados at Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro Mass., on August 16; Guatemala at Washington D.C.'s RFK Stadium on September 3; and Costa Rica at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, on October 11. The United States will play its final Group "E" semifinal qualifying match in Barbados, at either the National Stadium or the Kensington Oval in St. Michael, on November 15.

The top two teams in each of the three qualifying groups will advance to the next stage of qualifying, where six teams will battle for the three CONCACAF spots in the 2002 World Cup in Japan/Korea. Trinidad & Tobago, Canada, Panama, and Mexico comprise Group "C", while Honduras, Jamaica, St. Vincent & Grenadines, and El Salvador make up Group "D".

The first World Cup qualifying match against Guatemala will be the USA's first visit to a Central American country under head coach Bruce Arena, who has guided the United States to a 12-5-7 record since assuming control of the team in October 1998. Arena is expected to name a roster of 18 players and five alternates for the qualifying games, drawing heavily from the squad that captured the recent Nike U.S. Cup.

Guatemala advanced to the semifinal round of qualifying after easily defeating Antigua & Barbuda, 8-1, in Guatemala City last Sunday. After losing the first four games played against Guatemala beginning in 1977, the U.S. has gone unbeaten in eight consecutive head-to-head meetings with the Central American nation. The two countries have met four times in World Cup qualifying action (1989, 1996), where the United States has compiled a 2-0-2 record.

Costa Rica and the United States have met 17 times in international competition, and eight times in World Cup qualifying matches. In the series, which has been dominated by the home team, the United States and Costa Rica each have 7-7-3 records, with Costa Rica holding a slight 4-3-1 edge in qualifying matches.

Barbados, who upset Cuba in preliminary qualifying to earn the berth in Group "E", and the United States will meet for the first time when the two square off at Foxboro Stadium on August 16.

DateOpponentLocationKickoff / TVTickets
CONCACAF Semifinal Round Qualifying for 2002 FIFA World Cup * Group E
July 15Guatemala vs. United StatesEstadio National Mateo Flores
(Guatemala City, Guat.)
4 p.m. (CT) / TBA--
July 23Costa Rica vs. United StatesRicardo Saprissa Stadium
(San Jose, Costa Rica)
11 a.m. (CT) / ESPN2 (1:30 p.m. ET delay)--
Aug. 16United States vs. BarbadosFoxboro Stadium
(Foxboro, Mass.)
8 p.m. (ET) / ESPN2 (11:30 p.m. ET delay)877-GET-REVS
Sept. 3United States vs. GuatemalaRFK Stadium
(Washington, D.C.)
2 p.m. ET / ABC (live)On Sale in Late July
Oct. 11United States vs. Costa RicaColumbus Crew Stadium
(Columbus, Ohio)
8 p.m. ET / ESPN (live)On Sale in Late July
Nov. 15Barbados vs. United StatesNational Stadium or Kensington Oval
(St. Michael, Barbados)
TBD / TBD--


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