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June 1 Game Previews

Day two of the World Cup features three entertaining match-ups.  Uruguay and Denmark, two teams that figure to fight for a spot in the next round alongside France, meet in a Group A match crucial to both team's second round hopes.  Ireland and Cameroon kick off the first ball in Japan, when they meet in Niigata on Saturday.  Ireland will play without former captain Roy Keane, and how the team adjusts to his absence will be one of the stories of the first round.  Cameroon have become the top team in Africa, winning back-to-back African Nations Cups and the 2000 Olympic gold medal.  Cameroon is the only African nation to advance to the tournament quarterfinals, doing so in a magical run in Italy '90.  Another run deep into the tournament is possible for a team made up of many of the 2000 Olympic gold medalists.  The other two teams in Group E face off in Sapporo, where Saudi Arabia will meet Germany.  Germany has faced a rash of injuries in the run up to the Cup, but still have a talented core of players.  Leading the way for the three-time World Cup champs is goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.  Germany also has one of the top up-and-coming players in the world, striker Michael Ballack, whose recent white-hot play led Bayer Leverkusen to the UEFA Champions League final.  Few give the Saudi Arabian side a chance to advance to the Round of 16.  The Saudis do possess one of the top attacking teams in Japan - they knocked in 43 goals in qualifying, the most among any qualified team. 

Uruguay v Denmark
Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium, Korea  (capacity:  43,003)
U.S. Television Info:  Live on ESPN2 at 4:55 a.m. ET

FIFA Ranking: 20th (tied)
2002 World Cup qualifying: Won UEFA “Group 3” (6-0-4; 22 GF, 6 GA)
World Cup final appearances: 3 – 1986 (9th), 1998 (8th), 2002
Overall Record in WC:  5-3-1
Manager: Morten Olsen (DEN)
Championship Honors: 1992 European Cup champions; 1995 Confederations Cup champions
Fast Facts: A surprise team in 1998, they advanced to the quarterfinals (where they lost to Brazil). … Were led in qualifying by Ebbe Sand’s nine goals (second in Europe). … Their campaign was made all the more special as the team adjusts to the international retirements of Peter Schmeichel and the Laudrup brothers ... Went undefeated in 10 qualifying matches to win a group that included the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

FIFA Ranking: Tied 20th    
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished fifth in CONMEBOL Final Group (7-5-6; 19 GF, 13 GA); defeated Australia in home-and-home playoff 3-1 on aggregate
World Cup final appearances: 10 – 1930 (1st), 1950 (1st), 1954 (4th), 1962 (12th), 1966 (7th), 1970 (4th), 1974 (13th), 1986 (16th), 1990 (16th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 15-14-8
Manager: Victor Pua (URU)
Championship Honors: 1930 & 1950 World Cup champions; 1916, 1917, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1935, 1942, 1956, 1959, 1967, 1987, & 1995 Copa America champions (13 times)
Fast Facts: Successfully qualified for their 10th overall World Cup, but their first in 12 years. …  To qualify they came from behind to earn a 3-1 aggregate playoff series victory over Australia (winning 3-0 at home, after losing 1-0 on the road) … Won the first two World Cups they entered (in 1930 and 1950).

Germany v Saudi Arabia
Sapporo Dome, Japan  (capacity: 42,122)
U.S. Television Info:  Live on ESPN at 7:25 a.m. ET

FIFA Ranking: 12th
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished second in UEFA “Group 9” (5-1-2; 14 GF, 10 GA); defeated Ukraine in home-and-home playoff 5-2 on aggregate score.
World Cup final appearances: 15 – 1934 (3rd), 1938 (10th), 1954 (1st), 1958 (4th), 1962 (7th), 1966 (2nd), 1970 (3rd), 1974 (1st), 1978 (6th), 1982 (2nd), 1986 (2nd), 1990 (1st), 1994 (5th), 1998 (7th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 45-16-17
Manager: Rudi Voller (GER)
Championship Honors: 1954, 1974 & 1990 World Cup champions; 1972, 1980 & 1996 European Cup champions

Fast Facts: Continued their perfect qualification record in 2002, qualifying for their 15th overall World Cup finals (second to Brazil’s 17 appearances). … Won three World Cups as West Germany, which is second to Brazil’s four titles. … Only country to make it to the championship game in three consecutive World Cups (doing so from 1982 to 1990).

Roster (first name, LAST NAME)
1-Oliver KAHN, 2-Thomas LINKE, 3-Marko REHMER, 4-Frank BAUMANN, 5-Carsten RAMELOW, 6-Christian ZIEGE, 7-Oliver NEUVILLE, 8-Dietmar HAMANN, 9-Carsten JANCKER, 10-Lars RICKEN, 11-Miroslav KLOSE, 12-Jens LEHMANN, 13-Michael BALLACK, 14-Gerald ASAMOAH, 15-Sebastian KEHL, 16-Jens JEREMIES, 17-Marco BODE, 18-Joerg BOEHME, 19-Bernd SCHNEIDER, 20-Oliver BIERHOFF, 21-Christoph METZELDER, 22-Torsten FRINGS, 23-Hans-Joerg BUTT

Saudi Arabia
FIFA Ranking: 34th
2002 World Cup qualifying: Won Asia “Group 1” (5-1-2; 17 GF, 8 GA)
World Cup final appearances: 3 – 1994 (12th), 1998 (28th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 2-4-1
Manager: Nasser Al-Johar
Championship Honors: 1984, 1988 & 1996 Asian Cup champions

Fast Facts: One of the surprises of the 1994 World Cup in the U.S., they came in 12th place (the best finish for an Asian team in World Cup play since North Korea advanced to the quarterfinals in 1966). … Saudi Arabia scored 43 goals in their qualifying effort, the most of any qualifying nation.

Roster (first name, LAST NAME)
1-Mohammed AL DEAYEA, 2-Mohammed AL JAHANI, 3-Redha TUKAR, 4-Abdullah Sulaiman ZUBROMAWI, 5-Mohsin HARTHI, 6-Fouzi ALSHEHRI, 7-Ibrahim AL SHAHRANI, 8-Mohammed NOOR, 9-Sami AL JABER, 10-Mohammad AL SHLHOUB, 11-Obeid AL DOSSARY, 12-Ahmed Dukhi AL DOSSARY, 13-Hussein SULIMANI, 14-Abdulaziz AL KHATHRAN, 15-Abdullah Jumaan AL DOSARY, 16-Khamis Alowairan AL DOSARI, 17-Abdullah Alwaked AL SHAHRANI, 18-Nawaf AL TEMYAT, 19-Omar AL GHAMDI, 20-Al Hassan AL YAMI, 21-Mabrouk ZAID, 22-Mohammed Khojali BABKR, 23-Mansour ALTHAGAFI


Ireland vs. Cameroon
Big Swan Stadium, Niigata (capacity:  42,700)
U.S. Televisoin Info:  Delayed on ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET

FIFA Ranking: 18th (tied)
2002 World Cup qualifying: Won Africa “Group 1” (6-1-1; 14 GF, 4 GA)
World Cup final appearances: 5 – 1982 (17th), 1990 (7th), 1994 (22nd), 1998 (25th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 3-5-6
Manager: Robert Corfu (FRA)
Championship Honors: 2000 Olympic champions; 1984, 1988 & 2000 African Nations Cup champions

Fast Facts: Making their fourth consecutive appearance in a World Cup and the most overall by any African nation (five). … Are the only African nation to advance to the tournament quarterfinals, doing so in Italy in 1990. … Roster includes many of the U-23 stars that won the 2000 Olympic Soccer Tournament in Australia.

Roster (first name, LAST NAME)
1-Boukar ALIOUM, 2-Bill TCHATO, 3-Pierre WOME, 4-Rigobert SONG, 5-Raymond KALLA, 6-Pierre NJANKA, 7-Joseph NDO, 8-Geremi NJITAP, 9-Samuel ETOO, 10-Patrick MBOMA, 11-Pius NDIEFI, 12-Lauren ETAME MAYER, 13-Lucien METTOMO, 14-Joel EPALLE, 15-Nicolas  ALNOUDJI, 16-Jacques SONGOO, 17-Marc-Vivien FOE, 18-Patrick SUFFO, 19-Eric DJEMBA DJEMBA, 20-Salomon OLEMBE, 21-Joseph-Desire JOB, 22-Idriss KAMENI, 23-Daniel NGOM KOME

FIFA Ranking: 18th (tied)
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished second in UEFA “Group 2” (7-0-3; 23 GF, 5 GA); defeated Iran in UEFA/Asian home-and-home playoff 2-1 on aggregate score.
World Cup final appearances: 3 – 1990 (9th), 1994 (16th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 1-3-5
Manager: Mick McCarthy (IRE)

Fast Facts: Went undefeated in Group 2 qualifying play, including two draws against Portugal and a 1-0 home win against Holland … Surprisingly, are making just their third World Cup appearance.

Roster (first name, LAST NAME)
1-Shay GIVEN, 2-Steve FINNAN, 3-Ian HARTE, 4-Kenny CUNNINGHAM, 5-Steve STAUNTON, 6-Roy KEANE, 7-Jason MCATEER, 8-Matt HOLLAND, 9-Damien DUFF, 10-Robbie KEANE, 11-Kevin KILBANE, 12-Mark KINSELLA, 13-David CONNOLLY, 14-Gary BREEN, 15-Richard DUNNE, 16-Dean KIELY, 17-Niall QUINN, 18-Gary KELLY, 19-Clinton MORRISON, 20-Andy O'BRIEN, 21-Steven REID, 22- Lee CARSLEY, 23-Alan KELLY