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U.S. Soccer Wire -- June 21, 2004


U.S. MEN ADVANCE TO SEMIFINAL ROUND WITH 3-2 WIN OVER GRENADA,
WILL MEET EL SALVADOR, JAMAICA & PANAMA IN QUALIFYING GROUP A

BEASLEY SCORES FOURTH GOAL OF YEAR, STEWART EARNS 100th CAP IN ROAD WIN: The U.S. Men's National Team defeated Grenada 3-2 in rainy conditions on June 20 in St. George's, Grenada, to glide into the semifinal round of FIFA World Cup qualifying with a 6-2 aggregate series victory over the Caribbean nation. Landon Donovan paved the way for the U.S. in the second leg with a goal and an assist in front of 15,267 fans at Grenada's National Cricket Stadium. The game got off to a quick pace, despite the rain-soaked field playing havoc with the ball and the player's footing. In the sixth minute, Donovan scored from the center of the penalty area on a perfect pass from Claudio Reyna, who dropped the ball back to the forward from the end line after being played into the area from Josh Wolff. Donovan calmly slotted the ball past two defenders and Grenada goalkeeper Kellon Baptiste to register his first career World Cup qualifying goal. Just six minutes after Donovan's opening tally, Grenada snapped the USA's shutout streak at 393 minutes across the last six games with a penalty kick goal from Jason Roberts. Roberts slammed his shot home after defender Pablo Mastroeni was whistled for a foul moments earlier on a ball sent into the area from midfield. The U.S. regained the lead for good in the 19th minute, with Josh Wolff scoring from close range on an assist from Donovan, who had collected Brian McBride's headed shot off the crossbar seconds earlier. The teams exchanged goals in the second half just 60 seconds apart with Beasley tallying his team-leading fourth goal of the year through the legs of Baptiste on an assist from Earnie Stewart. That goal was followed by a close finish from Grenada's Ricky Charles after Grenada captain Anthony Modeste had fired in a low cross from the right flank. For Stewart, who came into the match in the 63rd minute, the appearance marked his 100th international appearance for the U.S., making him the eighth player in U.S. Men's National Team history to reach that plateau.

U.S. KICKS OFF SEMIFINAL ROUND WITH ROAD MATCH IN JAMAICA IN AUGUST 18: The U.S. Men's National Team learned their Group A opponents for their semifinal round of FIFA World Cup qualifying, as all four seeded teams in their bracket advanced with positive results on June 20. Joining the United States in their four-team, six-game CONCACAF qualifying group, which will be played from Aug. 18 to Nov. 17, 2004, are Jamaica, Panama and El Salvador, who eliminated Haiti, St. Lucia and Bermuda, respectively. The USA will open the semifinal round of FIFA World Cup qualifying in Jamaica on Aug. 18. The six-game, round-robin group continues with the U.S. at home on Sept. 4 in Foxboro, Mass. (against El Salvador), and on the road on Sept. 8 in Panama. The four-team group concludes with a road game on Oct. 10 in El Salvador and then consecutive home games on Oct. 13 (against Panama) and Nov. 17 in Columbus, Ohio (against Jamaica).


U.S. MNT FIFA World Cup Qualifying Schedule – Semifinal Round
Date Opponent Venue; City Kickoff / TV
Aug. 18 Jamaica TBD (away)  TBD / TBD
Sept. 4 El Salvador Gillette Stadium; Foxboro, Mass. TBD / TBD, Telemundo
Sept. 8 Panama TBD (away)  TBD / TBD, Telemundo
Oct. 10 El Salvador TBD (away)  TBD / TBD
Oct. 13 Panama RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C. TBD / ESPN (delay at 9 p.m. ET)
Nov. 17 Jamaica Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio  TBD / ESPN2 & Telemundo

CONCACAF RESULTS GO AS PLANNED AS MOST FAVORED TEAMS ADVANCE: With the preliminary round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying all but complete, the results from the last two weekends have almost all of the higher-seeded teams advancing. Group A and Group B were both completed with the top seeds winning each match-up, while Group C had a mild upset in St. Kitts & Nevis eliminating 2002 semifinal round qualifiers Barbados. The only spot not yet finalized is Mexico's, but they are all but assured of advancing with a 10-0 victory in their first leg over Dominica. The semifinal round will consist of three four-team groups playing a six-game round robin competition, with the top two finishers from each group moving onto the final round of qualifying in 2005. Below are the semifinal round groups and updated second round qualifying results:


Semifinal Round Groups
Group A: El Salvador, Jamaica, Panama, USA
Group B: Canada, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras
Group C: Mexico or Dominica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago
Group A Results
Date         Result                              Venue; City
June 13   USA 3, Grenada 0         Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio
June 20   USA 3, Grenada 2         National Stadium; St. George's, Grenada
USA advances 6-2 on aggregate
Date         Result                               Venue; City
June 12   Haiti 1, Jamaica 1          Orange Bowl; Miami, Fla.
June 20   Jamaica 3, Haiti 0          National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica
Jamaica advances 4-1 on aggregate
Date            Result                                     Venue; City
June 13      Panama 4, St. Lucia 0         Estadio Rommel Fernández; Panama City, Panama
June 20      Panama 3, St. Lucia 0         National Stadium; Vieux Fort, St. Lucia
Panama advances 7-0 on aggregate
Date            Result                                         Venue; City
June 13      El Salvador 2, Bermuda 1       Estadio Cuscatlan; San Salvador, El Salvador
June 20      El Salvador 2, Bermuda 2       National Sports Centre; Hamilton, Bermuda
El Salvador advances 4-3 on aggregate


Group B Results
Date           Result                                          Venue; City
June 12       Cuba 2, Costa Rica 2             Estadio Pedro Marrero; Havana, Cuba
June 20       Costa Rica 1, Cuba 1             Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto; Alajuela, Costa Rica
Costa Rica advances 3-3 on aggregate (with two away goals)
Date           Result                                          Venue; City
June 13       Canada 4, Belize 0                 Richardson Stadium; Kingston, Ontario
June 16       Canada 4, Belize 0                 Richardson Stadium; Kingston, Ontario
Canada advances 8-0 on aggregate
Date           Result                                          Venue; City
June 12       Surinam 1, Guatemala 1       Andre Kamperveen Stadium; Paramaribo, Surinam
June 20       Guatemala 2, Surinam 1       Estadio Mateo Flores; Guatemala City, Guatemala
Guatemala advances 3-2 on aggregate
Date           Result                                               Venue; City
June 12     Honduras 2, Netherlands Ant. 1   Ergilio Hato Stadium; Willemstad, Netherlands Antilles
June 19     Honduras 4, Netherlands Ant. 0   Estadio Olimpico; San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Honduras advances 6-1 on aggregate


Group C Results / Schedule
Date           Result / Match-up                  Venue; City
June 19       Mexico 10, Dominca 0         Alamodome; San Antonia, Texas
June 27       Dominica @ Mexico             Estadio Victoria; Aguascaliente, Mexico
Mexico leads 10-0 on aggregate
Date           Result                                        Venue; City
June 13       St. Kitts & Nevis 2, Barbados 0     National Stadium; Waterford, Barbados
June 19       St. Kitts & Nevis 3, Barbados 2     Warner Park; Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis
St. Kitts & Nevis advances 5-2 on aggregate
Date          Result                                                                            Venue; City
June 13      Nicaragua 2, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 2     Estadio El Cacique Diriangen; Diramba, Nicaragua
June 20      St. Vincent & The Grenadines 4, Nicaragua 1     Arnos Vale Playing Field; Kingstown, St. Vincent & The Grenadines
St. Vincent & The Grenadines advances 6-3 on aggregate
Date           Result                                       Venue; City
June 13       T&T 2, Dominican Republic 0       Estadio Olimpico; Santo Domingo, Dominica Republic
June 20       T&T 4, Dominican Republic 0       Hasely Crawford Stadium; Marabella, Trinidad
Trinidad & Tobago advances 6-0 on aggregate

-- U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE --

ADJUSTMENTS MADE TO U.S. WOMEN’S OLYMPIC SCHEDULE: The schedule for the 2004 Olympic Women’s Soccer Tournament in Greece has been confirmed with several adjustments to the quarterfinal pairings originally announced on June 9. Please note that if the USA advances out of Group G to the quarterfinals in first place, the match would be in Thessaloniki. If the USA advances in second place, the quarterfinal match will be played in Heraklio and if the USA advances out of Group G in third place, the quarterfinal will be in Volos. Below is the final schedule for the 2004 Olympic Women’s Soccer Tournament taking place at five venues throughout Greece – Heraklio, Patra, Thessaloniki, Volos and at Karaiskaki Stadium in Athens. No games in the women’s soccer competition will be played at the Olympic Stadium in Athens.  Karaiskaki Stadium, which will host the women’s gold medal match, is a completely re-built venue located a little over six miles from downtown Athens that seats 30,000.  Karaiskaki Stadium was originally built as a velodrome for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. The Olympics begin with four women’s soccer matches on Aug. 11, including USA vs. host Greece in Heraklio, a match that will be preceded by a Football Opening Gala celebration.
2004 Women’s Olympic Football Schedule
Opening Round
Date        Match    Group     Match-up                   City                  Kickoff (local / ET) 
Aug. 11       1          G         Greece vs. USA           Heraklio           6 p.m. / 11 a.m.
                    2          F          Germany vs. China     Patra                 6 p.m. / 11 a.m.
                    3          G          Brazil vs. Australia      Thessaloniki   6 p.m. / 11 a.m.
                    4          E          Sweden vs. Japan      Volos                6 p.m. / 11 a.m.    
Aug. 13          OPENING CEREMONIES           Athens              9 p.m. / 2 p.m.       
Aug. 14       5          E         Japan vs. Nigeria       Athens               6 p.m. / 11 a.m.
                    6          G         Greece vs. Australia   Heraklio            6 p.m. / 11 a.m.
                    7          F          China vs. Mexico         Patra                 6 p.m. / 11 a.m.
                    8          G         USA vs. Brazil               Thessaloniki   6 p.m. / 11 a.m.   
Aug. 17       9          F         Germany vs. Mexico    Athens              6 p.m. / 11 a.m.
                  10          G         Greece vs. Brazil          Patra                6 p.m. / 11 a.m.
                  11          G         USA vs. Australia        Thessaloniki    6 p.m. / 11 a.m.
                  12          E          Sweden vs. Nigeria     Volos               6 p.m. / 11 a.m.   
Single Elimination
Date        Match Match-up                   City                  Kickoff (local / ET)
Aug. 20    13    1st F vs. 2nd E        Patra                      6 p.m. / 11 a.m.
                 14     1st G vs. 3rd E/F     Thessaloniki        6 p.m. / 11 a.m.
                 15     2nd F vs. 2nd G      Heraklio                6 p.m. / 11 a.m.
                 16     1st E vs. 3rd G        Volos                     6 p.m. / 11 a.m.     
Aug. 23    17     Winner 14 vs. Winner 13     Heraklio     6 p.m. / 11 a.m.   
Aug. 23    18     Winner 16 vs. Winner 15     Patra          9 p.m. / 2 p.m.   
Aug. 26    19     Semifinal Losers          Athens           6 p.m. / 11 a.m.
Aug. 26    20     Semifinal Winners        Athens           9 p.m. / 2 p.m.

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

PETRUCELLI NAMES ROSTER FOR FINAL U-21 CAMP BEFORE NORDIC CUP IN JULY: U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team head coach Chris Petrucelli has named a 22-player squad for a training camp to be held from June 21-30 at the U.S. National Team Training Center in Carson, Calif.  It will be the last training camp before Petrucelli names the 18-player team that will travel to Iceland in late July for the 14th Annual Nordic Cup. The U.S. team will reassemble to train in New Jersey from July 16-18, then depart for Iceland, which will be hosting its second Nordic Cup.  The USA won its second of six Nordic Cup titles in Iceland in 1999.  Held in Northern Europe every summer, the Nordic Cup is the top competition in the world for U-21 women and the focus of the USA’s oldest youth national team during its seven-month run-up to the prestigious competition.  The USA was drawn into a tough Group B and will face Finland, Norway and Germany in first-round play.  Group A features Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and England.  The top two finishers in each group will cross over to play for the championship, while the two second place finishers will play for third, the third place finishers for fifth and the last place finishers in the groups will vie for seventh place. The USA opens the tournament against the Finland on Friday, July 23, in Akureyrarvolluer, and then faces Norway on Sunday, July 25, in Olafsfjordur.  The U.S. will finish first-round play against Germany on Tuesday, July 27, in Dalvik.  All four placement matches are set for Thursday, July 29.  All the matches will be played at nine different small venues in the northern part of Iceland up around the Arctic Circle.
U-21 WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (Stanford), Erika Bohn (Notre Dame), Kati Jo Spisak (Texas A&M); DEFENDERS (6): Keeley Dowling (Tennesse), Haley Hunt (Stanford), Kristen Moore (Portland), Esmeralda Negron (Princeton), Kate Seibert (Duke), Carmen Watley (UNC); MIDFIELDERS (8): Sarah Huffman (Virginia), Lindsey Huie (Portland), Carli Lloyd (Rutgers), Joanna Lohman (Penn State), Jill Oakes (UCLA), Julianne Sitch (DePaul), Nikki Thaden (Texas), Kacey White (UNC); FORWARDS (5): Jenny Farenbaugh (Stanford), Tara Hurless (Illinois), Natasha Kai (Hawaii), Manya Makoski (Arizona State), Kelly Wilson (Texas).

U-20s FALL 2-0 TO BRAZIL, OPEN BUSAN TOURNAMENT TUESDAY IN SOUTH KOREA:  Two days after falling to Brazil 2-0 at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on June 16 in an even match that saw limited chances on goal for either team, the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team arrived in Busan, South Korea to participate in the Busan Four Nations International Tournament. The U.S. has done their best to overcome the jet lag from the trek across the globe and held a few days of practice as they prepare to face host South Korea in the opening match of the tournament tomorrow (June 22) at Busan Asiad Main Stadium at 7 p.m. local (6 a.m. ET). Two days later, the U.S. will try and get revenge against Brazil as they will face off for the second time in eight days at 4:30 p.m. local (3:30 a.m. ET). The Under-20s will finish the round-robin tournament against Poland on Saturday (June 26) at 12:30 p.m. local (11:30 p.m. ET). Check out ussoccer.com to find out how the team is doing in Korea as Julian Valentin will provide updates via his popular “Valentin Chronicles” during the 10-day trip. Head coach Thomas Rongen brought an 18-man roster with him to Korea as four players – Freddy Adu, Eddie Gaven, Craig Capano and Arturo Alvarez – returned to their respective MLS clubs after the Brazil match. Patrick Phelan was on the original roster for the tournament, but didn’t make the trip to Korea as an ankle injury was deemed to severe for him to play. The U.S. goes into the tournament on a high note despite falling to Brazil, as the U.S. was able to provide the festive crowd at Lockhart with a entertaining match, controlling possession for stretches during the match and putting the Brazil backline under pressure for 90 minutes. The U.S. actually outshot Brazil 10-7, but the reigning Under-20 World Champions were more efficient, finishing two of their three scoring opportunities.
U-20 MNT Results
Date           Opponent                 Result U.S. Goal Scorers
June 16      Brazil                       0-2 L ---
U-20 MNT Schedule – Busan International Tournament
Date             Opponent          Kickoff (local / ET)
June 22        South Korea      7 p.m. / 6 a.m.
June 24       Brazil                 4:30 p.m. / 3:30 a.m.
June 26        Poland              12:30 p.m. / 11:30 p.m. (June 25)
U-20 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Andrew Kartunen (Stanford), Quentin Westberg (ESTAC Troyes); DEFENDERS (5): Kiel McClung (UCLA), Steve Purdy (UC-Berkeley), Nathan Sturgis (St. Augustine, Fla.), Julian Valentin (Lancaster, Pa.), Tim Ward (Waukesha, Wis); MIDFIELDERS (7): Nico Colaluca (Coventry, R.I.), Steve Curfman (Wake Forest), John DiRaimondo (St. Louis University), Guillermo Gonzalez (L.A. Galaxy), Will Hall (Virginia), Stuart Holden (Clemson), Danny Szetela (Clifton, N.J.); FORWARDS (4): Charlie Davies (Manchester, N.H.), Kamani Hill (Berkley, Calif.), Will John (St. Louis University), Jamie Watson (UNC).

U-19s TO FACE SOUTH KOREA, TWO EUROPEAN TEAMS AT THAILAND 2004 IN NOVEMBER: The U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team was drawn into Group C at the Final Draw for the 2004 FIFA U-19 World Championship on June 11 at the Imperial Queen Park Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.  The USA will face Asian champion South Korea and two undetermined European teams during the 2nd FIFA Women’s Youth World Championship to be held Nov. 10-27 in Thailand. The draw was held with only seven of the 12 nations having qualified, with four European teams and one African team still to be determined. The USA will be paying particular attention to the European Final Round qualification tournament in Finland from July 28-August 8, as the young U.S. team will face the winner and the third-place team from that competition in Group C.  The USA will open the tournament on Thursday, Nov. 11, the second day of the competition, facing South Korea at 5 p.m. local (5 a.m. ET).  The USA then faces the third-place finisher in Europe on Sunday, Nov. 14 (Kickoff TDB) and finishes Group C play on Thursday, Nov. 18 against the European champion (7:45 p.m. local / 7:45 a.m. ET). All three of the USA’s first-round matches will be played in Phuket, an island in the southern part of the country. The 12-team competition features three groups of four teams with the two teams in each group and top two third-place teams advancing to the quarterfinals. Group A features host Thailand, the second place finisher in Europe, Australia and Canada, while Group B, features the African champion, China, the fourth place team in Europe and Brazil.
U-19 Women’s Youth World Championship Schedule
Date           Opponent                 Kickoff (local / ET)
Nov. 11     South Korea           5 p.m. / 5 a.m.
Nov. 14     Europe #3               7:45 p.m. / 7:45 a.m.
Nov. 18     Europe #1               7:45 p.m. / 7:45 a.m.

LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP UPDATE –

FOUR PDL TEAMS UPSTATE PSL BIG BROTHERS; REPLAY SET FOR TONIGHT: The surprise team of the 2003 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the Wilmington Hammerheads (PSL), continued their winning ways from last year with a 3-0 win over the Cocoa Expos (PDL) as the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup continued last week. The result was never in question as William Ukah scored the game winner in the fourth minute. Four PDL teams had better luck then the Expos, as the Boulder Rapids Reserves, Chicago Fire Reserves, Carolina Dynamo and Cape Cod Crusaders all topped teams in the Pro Soccer League on June 15. Chicago had two early goals from striker Julian Nash in a 5-1 win over the New Hampshire Phantoms. After two games, Nash has recorded four goals and two assists to lead all scorers. Other winners included the Virginia Beach Mariners (A-League) and the Utah Blitzz (PSL). The Syracuse Salty Dogs and South Jersey Barons had their match suspended due to lightning in the 75th minute with the score deadlocked at 1-1. The replay of the Syracuse-South Jersey second round match will be tonight at 5:30 p.m. ET at Winslow High School in Tansboro, N.J.  Eight MLS teams will learn their possible opponents for the fourth round when pairings are announced this week. For more on the U.S. Open Cup, visit the ussoccer.com Competitions page.
Second Round Results
#    Date      Result
9     June 15   San Diego Gauchos 0, Boulder Rapids Reserve 0 (Boulder Advances 5-4 on PKs)
10   June 15    Sacramento Knights 0, Utah Blitzz 3    
11    June 15    Syracuse Salty Dogs 1, South Jersey Barons 1 [Match Abandoned, Replay on June 21]
12    June 15    DFW Tornadoes 0, Virginia Beach Mariners 2
13    June 15   Chicago Fire Reserves 5, New Hampshire Phantoms 1    
14    June 15   Cape Cod Crusaders 3, Western Mass Pioneers 2    
15    June 15   Cocoa Expos 0, Wilmington Hammerheads 3    
16    June 15   Charlotte Eagles 2, Carolina Dynamo 4    
Third Round Schedule
#     Date      Match-up   Venue;City Kickoff
17    June 30      Portland Timbers at Utah Blitzz       Rice-Eccles Stadium; Salt Lake City, Utah       7:30 p.m. MT
18    June 30      Boulder Rapids Reserve at Minnesota Thunder       James Griffin Stadium; St. Paul, Minn.      7 p.m. CT
19    June 30      Wilmington Hammerheads at Charleston Battery       Blackbaud Stadium; Charleston, S.C.      7:30 p.m. ET
20    June 30      Atlanta Silverbacks at Carolina Dynamo       MacPherson Stadium; Browns Summit, N.C.      7:30 p.m. ET
21    June 30      Virginia Beach Mariners at Dallas Burn       Old Panther Stadium; Duncanville, Texas      7:30 p.m. CT
22    June 30      Cape Cod Crusaders at Richmond Kickers       Sports Backers Stadium; Richmond, Va.      7 p.m. ET
23    June 30      Game 11 Replay Winner at Columbus Crew       Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio      7:30 p.m. ET
24    June 30      Chicago Fire Reserves at Rochester Raging Rhinos      Frontier Field; Rochester, N.Y.      7:35 p.m. ET

– AROUND THE SOCCER WORLD –

TWO EXCITING DRAWS AT WUSA FESTIVAL IN BLAINE; CARSON EVENT THIS WEEKEND: Charmaine Hooper's penalty kick goal with less than a minute remaining pulled the Atlanta Beat even with the New York Power, as the two clubs played to a 2-2 draw on June 18 at the National Sports Center in the first game back for the WUSA following the league's suspension of operations on September 15, 2003.  U.S. Women’s National Team standout Shannon Boxx scored both New York goals, while Mexico’s Maribel Dominguez tallied the Beat's other goal. In the June 19 match, Mia Hamm's two goals led the Washington Freedom to a 3-3 draw with the Boston Breakers on June 19.  Washington's Abby Wambach also scored for the Freedom, while guest players Marinette Pichon and Kelly Smith, along with Boston regular Sarah Popper, scored for the Breakers. The second WUSA Festival will be played as a doubleheader at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., on Sunday (June 27), with both matches to be broadcast on Fox Sport World.
Blaine, Minn. – Results
Date             Match-up
June 18       Atlanta Beat 2, New York Power 2
June 19       Washington Freedom 3, Boston Breakers 3
Carson, Calif. – The Home Depot Center
Date         Match-up                                                                    Kickoff (PT) / TV
June 27  San Diego Spirit vs. Carolina Courage               12 p.m. / Fox Sports World
June 27  San Jose CyberRays vs. Philadelphia Charge  2:30 p.m. / Fox Sports World
1999 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP TEAM FEATURED ON "ESPN25: THE HEADLINES": As part of the ESPN25 coverage celebrating the last 25 years of sports, the historic 1999 U.S. Women's World Cup Team will be featured on "ESPN: The Headlines", airing Tuesday (June 22) at 8 p.m. ET.  "ESPN: The Headlines", celebrating the biggest sports stories of the last 25 years, will feature the U.S. women along with other notable happenings, including tennis' Williams sisters, the first Olympic basketball Dream Team and the figure skating saga of Tonya and Nancy.

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER:  Greece has been the surprise performer of the 16-team Euro 2004 field, doing a pretty faithful impersonation of the U.S. at Korea/Japan 2002. Think about it: shocking Portugal in the opener, being in the same group as host, earning tie in their second game, falling behind quickly 2-0 in third game against a Euro side already eliminated with 0 points, watching the result from the other game (involving Portugal) to see if they get through, and eventually losing the third game to finish second in their group. The only difference? This time Nuno Gomes scored to keep Portugal and Greece in. In 2002, he missed a sitter to keep Korea and the USA in.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP: With a handful of upcoming games that will make or break perennial world powers, it’s impossible to pick just one must-see match from the last round of Euro 2004 group play. With one game left to play, tournament favorites England, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands all need three points and some help to advance to the quarterfinals and avoid Spain’s surprising fate.

SOCCER SHOCKER:  Out of the six countries that advanced to the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying last time around, only Costa Rica had to sweat things out in their preliminary round, do-or-die series over the past two weekends. After opening with a tough 2-2 draw with Cuba in a difficult environment down in Havana, most in the region expected Steve Sampson and his troops to pull out a clear-cut victory at home in Alajuense. Instead, they eeked out a 1-1 tie and were lucky to advance on the away goals tiebreaker. It only gets worse for the “Ticos,” as they must meet contenders Canada, Guatemala and Honduras in the difficult Group B.

QUOTABLE:  "I thought I was too far off and I was getting older. I felt pretty much that after the World Cup it would be over, but I got closer again. And once you get closer it becomes something you would like to accomplish. We don’t have much say in it because the coach has the final say, but in the end it is a fantastic honor for me.”
MNT midfielder Earnie Stewart, on if he thought reaching 100 caps would be possible after the 2002 FIFA World Cup


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