Romario, Ronaldinho to Lead #1 Brazil vs. USA on March 3 at the Rose Bowl Live on ABC
CHICAGO (Friday, February 16, 2001) - Brazil Men's National Team head coach Emerson Leao announced today a strong 18-player roster for the team's two-game trip to North America. Leao, who replaced Wanderley Luxemburgo last fall, picked a roster with mostly European-based players including forwards Romario, Ronaldinho, Christian, Euller, Luizao and Edilson.
The four-time world champions will face the United States on Saturday, March 3 in Los Angeles at the Rose Bowl, making it the country's first match there since defeating Italy in penalty kicks to win the 1994 World Cup. The match will be broadcast live on ABC at 1 p.m. PT.
Brazil, long ranked as the top team in the world in the monthly FIFA rankings, will then take on Mexico on Wednesday, March 7.
The two international friendlies serve as Brazil's final preparation before for the resumption of the final round of South American World Cup qualifying on March 28. Brazil has been in fine form of late, taking their last three CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers by a combined score of 12-0.
Romario, who received the Gold Ball signifying the most outstanding player of the hugely successful USA ?94, has made a resurgence with the national team over the last six months after the team had trouble scoring in the semi-final round of CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying. The diminutive striker has tallied seven goals in the team's last three qualifiers, including a hat-trick against Bolivia and a four-goal performance against Venezuela.
Romario (Vasco de Gama - Brazil) and Christian (Paris-St. Germain - France) are the likely starters on the forward-laden squad. World Cup '98 veterans Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid - Spain) and 1999 FIFA Player of the Year Rivaldo (Barcelona - Spain) were left off the roster because of club commitments.
Brazil will arrive in Los Angeles on Thursday, March 1, where they will train for two days prior to the March 3 match against the U.S. The historic match will culminate a busy week for the Americans, who play their first final-round World Cup qualifier against Mexico three days earlier on Feb. 28 in Columbus.
The United States has had past success against FIFA's top-ranked team, including an historic 1-0 win in the semifinals of the 1998 Gold Cup, the team's only victory against Brazil. U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller turned in what is widely regarded as one of the finest goalkeeping performances in U.S. history in the match, making 10 saves and eliciting Romario to say that it was "the greatest performance I've ever seen by a goalkeeper ... It was an honor to be on the field with him."
In their last meeting, the Brazilians topped the U.S. 1-0 in the 1999 Confederations Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico. The teams also met on Brazil's march to the 1994 World Cup crown, when the Americans put together an inspired performance in losing 1-0 in the round of 16. Despite having won just once in nine matches against Brazil, the last five contests between the two nations have all been decided by just a single goal.
Tickets for the March 3 match are available through the Los Angeles Galaxy ticket office at 877-3GALAXY. The match, which is being sponsored by Budweiser, is being staged in cooperation with the Anschutz Entertainment Group.
Goalkeepers: Bosco (Cruzeiro), Rogerio Ceni (Sao Paulo);
Defenders: Cafu (AS Roma, Italy), Chris (Cruzeiro), Edmilson (Lyon, France), Lucio (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany), Silvinho (Arsenal, England), Roque Junior (AC Milan, Italy);
Midfielders: Emerson (AS Roma, Italy), Juninho Paulista (Vasco da Gama), Ricardinho (Cruzeiro), Vampeta (Paris-St. Germain, France);
Forwards: Christian (Paris-St. Germain, France), Edilson (Flamengo), Euller (Vasco da Gama), Luizao (Corinthians), Romario (Vasco da Gama), Ronaldinho (Gremio).