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Quote Sheet: Arena, Mastroeni, Sanneh


BRUCE ARENA - U.S. Head Coach

On whether the team has adjusted to Korea since their arrival:
“I think so.  I believe it is going to take us a couple more days to get fully adjusted to the time zone and the travel.  We believe that certainly by the end of the week we’ll be feeling very comfortable here.  And certainly by June 5 will be prepared to play hard for 90 minutes.”

On whether CONCACAF players are ready to compete against the stars of Europe and the rest of the world:
“I believe so.  Mexico was very successful in the 1998 World Cup and was perhaps a little unlucky to not advance further, because they played very well against the Germans. I think the CONCACAF teams are good teams. All of them have a chance to advance to the second round.”

After the Korea-England game in Seogwipo, both coaches commented on the field saying it was too dry and the ball was very slow compared to other fields, and that it affected the game. In reference to those comments, Bruce Arena was asked his opinion on the Korean field conditions:
“Most European players are used to playing on fields that are watered before the match.  And our European players have the same comments and prefer the fields to be watered before the game, and I guess that was the situation in that particular game.  I have been in all the venues, and Suwon, where we are playing our opening game, has an excellent field.  I don’t know what the protocol will be for FIFA in terms of dealing with the fields on game day. Everywhere else in the world the preference is not to water down the field before a match. And it will be interesting to see (the FIFA reaction) to the European coaches who have commented to FIFA on that particular requirement. The other part of it, is that we expect to see a lot of rain, so maybe that won’t be a problem.”

A member of the Korean press corps asked about the perceived age of the U.S. defense and the perception that they might lose concentration or lack speed throughout a game:
“Hopefully that is not the case.  We believe our team will be ready to play 90 minutes and that includes the defense. I realize some of the comments regarding our backline, but we are confident that they will be ready come June 5.”

On whether the U.S. will devise any special plans to prevent Korea attacking with speed from the flanks:
“No particular plans. We have very experienced players. We have played a number of games together over the last three or four years. We have played against players of similar qualities and know how to adjust as both individuals and as a team to try and neutralize players with those types of skills.”

On the changes the team has made in the midfield from game to game:
“If you have followed our team across the last four years, we have frequently changed the shape of our midfield in accordance with who is available and our opponents. We don’t anticipate our midfield shape to look the same in each game during the World Cup.”

On his thoughts on preparing for Poland:
“We realize they are an outstanding team and they were the first team to qualify out of Europe.  They obviously have a very dangerous striker (Olisadebe) and one of the best goalkeepers in the world (Dudek) and they have a very experienced back four, a good midfield, they have a good group of players.  They are going to be a very difficult team to play against. But we are just focusing right now on Portugal. Our players have not been given any information on any team at this point. We will start with Portugal in the next couple of days. We won’t discuss Korea until after the Portugal game, and we won’t discuss Poland until after the Korea game. That is our approach and how we are dealing with our opponents.”

PABLO MASTROENI - U.S. Defender

On his role within the U.S. team after the loss of Chris Armas:
“Right now I am in a position where I know I am in a back-up role for a few positions.”

On how he spent his free time on his first day in Korea:
“For me it has been pretty much catching up on sleep. I spent the afternoon trying to catch up with the time and resting. I ate dinner and worked out a little bit and continued to sleep throughout the night. I think that is the gist of all the players just trying to acclimate themselves to the big time change.”

TONY SANNEH - U.S. Defender

On the difference between the 1998 team and the 2002 U.S. team:
“I think we are a pretty athletic team and we are strong.  We are also an experienced team now.  We’re a little bit older, and we have some young guys that are bringing in some positive energy. The main reason I think we will do better is that we are more of a team. We all believe in each other and we all accept our roles, whatever they are, and we all have the same goal, which is to get out of the group.”

On his thoughts on Emmanuel Olisadebe and his experience with racism in Europe:
“As a player he is a great athlete and is incredibly strong and fast, and is obviously very dangerous. I don’t know what he has encountered as far as racism goes, but that seems to be universal nowadays. I’m sure that I get subjected to the same types of things in America as I do in Europe.  Maybe it is a little different in certain towns, but I think in any country you go to there can be more so or less so. Even when you go to Africa you can have the really dark people not like the lighter-skinned dark people. It is just part of life nowadays and you don’t like to see it and just hope that everyone has respect for each other.”

On how he deals with racism (as a follow up to the previous question):
“I don’t really deal with it anymore. I may have had some problems with it when I was younger. But I am okay with myself, and that is the most important thing. Not everyone is going to like you - what somebody likes or dislikes is not my problem.”


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