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Quote Sheet: U.S. Prepares to Face Spain


U.S. Men’s National Team head coach BOB BRADLEY
On the biggest challenges of playing Spain:
“They pose many types of problems. I mentioned technically, their ability to play the ball, to keep possession. In every game they play, the advantage of possession is always clearly on their side. Finally, you have just some very, very special players."

On whether the U.S. will play defensively, or try to impart their own style of football on the game:
“We have to play our own football. When you play a team like that, and they’re good with the ball, then when we have it, we’re challenged to also be good with the ball. We have to have the ability to put their defenders under pressure. We have to have the ability to, in the right moments, be aggressive and create chances. It takes a good game plan, but more than that, it takes complete efforts by the players. We know that these games really take all the qualities, and that’s what happens when you play against the best.”

On the role of the two central midfielders and the challenge they face in shutting down Spain’s talented midfield:
“The way Spain plays, in its simplest form, is that as they move the ball around they always rotate and there are always triangles. So if you’re playing in central midfield, there are people in front of you, people behind you, people to your left and people to your right. So your ability to stay together requires the midfield as a unit being alert, moving together, reacting very quickly. In some cases you make a decision that you’re close enough to close down and put a player under pressure, in other moments their numbers are great and you need to hold the zone a bit and not get frustrated that they have the ball. It’s a job that involves certain tactical understanding and thinking and also, in the right moments, pure heart to close it down and make it hard on somebody.”

On Tim Howard returning to goal for the game against Spain:
“Tim Howard will return to goal. He’s been our No.1 ‘keeper; he’s experienced, and he's had a great season. Having said that, Brad Guzan came in and did a great job in the game against Egypt. So for us going forward, it’s important that Brad had that game and certainly he was excited to get that opportunity. What I was most pleased about was that his excitement also came through in the form of readiness and confidence and stepping on the field in a way that all the other players felt very confident in having him with us. He proves himself in training everyday, and so that was important.”

On the status of captain Carlos Bocanegra:
“Carlos is back into full training. Obviously we still have to test him a little bit more and see what that means, but he certainly becomes an option in this game.”

U.S. Midfielder LANDON DONOVAN
On what it would mean for soccer in the U.S., should they reach the final:
“Our full national team has never been to a final of a tournament of this caliber, so it’s a big accomplishment to get to this point, and it would be massive for us to get to the final. From what I understand there’s pretty good coverage back home of what happened the other night, and people are pretty excited about it, so it’d be nice to keep that momentum going.”

On what he thinks the team’s chances are against Spain:
“The challenge is very difficult. However, we believe in ourselves, and we believe that if we play well that we have a chance to win this game. That’s our intention, and we’ll go out with a good game plan and try to get it done.”

On how the U.S. camp is feeling after the victory over Egypt:
“I think there are different parts to it. One is that we’re very excited that we’re still around. The other part is that at this point in the tournament, physically you start getting tired, and so at this time, that’s the key right now, making sure that we keep ourselves going physically. Mentally, we’re excited and happy to still be playing when a lot of good teams have gone home. So that part of it is there, but now physically we have to keep ourselves going.”

U.S. Men's National Team defender CARLOS BOCANEGRA:
On the team's victory against Egypt:
“It was good, it was a good team effort. We stuck with it and even though it was a little bit of a weird situation going into the last game, we fought through and it worked out for us. We caught a bit of a break and now we're in the second round.”

On the mood within the team:
“Our spirits are high. Obviously we weren't happy with the first two results and then to beat a good team like Egypt 3-0 lifts the spirits back up and gives us confidence going into a game with the top team in the world.”

On facing Spain in the FIFA Confederations Cup semifinals tomorrow:
“Obviously we know they're a good team with loads of good players. We have to bring our best tomorrow. They will probably have a little bit more of the ball than us but hopefully we can catch them on a few counters. It'll be a difficult game.”

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