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U.S. to Face Third-Ranked Netherlands on March 3 in Amsterdam


CHICAGO (Dec. 16, 2009) — The United States will play third-ranked Netherlands on March 3 in Amsterdam, allowing the U.S. to face one of the top teams in the world prior to the start of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Kickoff at the Amsterdam ArenA is set for 8:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Galavision. Fans can also follow along on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

With the match falling on the only FIFA international fixture date in 2010 before training camp begins for the World Cup, this game provides the one chance to have the full team together before U.S. head coach Bob Bradley selects the group that will gather prior to the USA’s departure for South Africa.

“We are very excited about the chance to play a team with the quality of the Netherlands,” said Bradley. “During the past three years we have tried to challenge ourselves against the best opponents in different environments, and having the chance to play in Holland prior to the World Cup is a great opportunity for our group as we continue the preparations for South Africa.”

The Netherlands will be the eighth team that the U.S. has played in 12 months that has qualified for the World Cup, including the teams currently ranked as the top four in the world – Spain, Brazil, Holland and Italy.

The U.S. will be facing the Netherlands for the fourth time in history, the hosts holding a 3-0-0 record. The teams last met Feb. 18, 2004, at the same venue, with Holland walking out 1-0 winners. The U.S. has previously met Holland in a World Cup year, falling 2-0 on May 29, 2002, in Foxboro in the final Send Off match before the USA went on the historic run to the quarterfinals of Korea/Japan.

Entering their ninth World Cup finals tournament, the Netherlands have twice finished as runners up (1974, 1978) and once in fourth place (1998). In reaching South Africa, they cruised through UEFA qualifying with an unblemished 8-0-0 record in Group 9, pouring in 17 goals while surrendering only two. Led by Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt, the Dutch boast a roster that includes Bayern Munich captain Mark van Bommel, Arsenal midfielder Robin van Persie, and team captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

The U.S. Men's National Team has been drawn into Group C with England, Slovenia and Algeria for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The U.S. will open its sixth consecutive World Cup finals tournament against England on June 12 in Rustenburg, and will follow that game with matches against Slovenia on June 18 in Johannesburg and Algeria on June 23 in Tshwane/Pretoria.

The Netherlands had their lot cast in Group E, along with Denmark, Japan and Cameroon. Holland opens play in Johannesburg on June 14 against Denmark, and then faces Japan on June 19 in Durban before finishing group play on June 24 in Cape Town against Cameroon.

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