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Quote Sheet: U.S. MNT Arrives in Hamburg

U.S. Manager Bruce Arena

On the trip from the United States and arriving in Hamburg:
“It’s great to be here. I know our team has looked forward to this day ever since the draw in December. We look forward to a great World Cup, a challenging World Cup. We realize that we are in a group with three very good teams but we look forward to that challenge. We’re confident in our abilities and look forward to a successful World Cup. Hamburg is a great city. We think it’s an ideal situation for us to prepare properly. Again, we look forward to these 10 days of preparation and the opening game against the Czech Republic.”

On the change in expectations of the U.S. National Team over the years:
“We never concern ourselves with expectations outside our group. We set them inside the group. Obviously, our stock has risen over the years, however, we’re still on the outside looking in. To continue to earn respect at the international level it will require that we have successful World Cups. That’s what we look forward to doing. 2002 was a good World Cup for the U.S. team, 1998 was not. We want to continue to show that we’re improving and we’re becoming a player in the World’s game. We’ll let our playing do the talking.”

On being based in the city:
“I think it suits our lifestyle, our mentality. I want our players to enjoy the World Cup and the way Americans enjoy living everyday is to get out into the culture, doing things, and not be locked up out in the country on their own. The time away from the team is important for players, the ability to soak in the World Cup is important. I think it’s invaluable in terms of having them in the right frame of mind. I think being in the city, and a city like Hamburg, which I think is a setting that is very comfortable for Americans, is a great situation for us.”

On the first match setting the tone for the U.S.:
“It can. I think it’s probably a coincidence (in the past four World Cups) because, in a group like ours, I really believe it’s going to go down to game three for the entire group. I don’t believe that after the first two games the group is going to be decided. I think the teams are even in a lot of ways and there could be some upsets or games in which three points are not earned. I think every game is going to be important. Obviously, any team in the first game in group play would like to walk off the field with three points. However, I believe, in this group, that’s not really going to be the end of it all. I think it’s really going to be stretched out through the three games.”

On whether he learned anything new about the team in the last few friendlies:
“Not really. I think we have a lot of choices that we can go with in terms of lineups, variation. I’m very comfortable where we are at this point in preparation. I think the next 10 days is going to fine tune what we’re trying to do in terms of getting our team ready to play the Czech Republic.”

U.S. captain Claudio Reyna

On how training camp is going heading into the final days:
“We’re happy to finally get here. I think all the players have been anxiously waiting to get to Germany and really feeling out the World Cup fever. We had a very good two weeks and we’ve worked very hard. Yeah, we have a lot of players who have been in World Cups before and, I think, 11 players in their first World Cup and everyone together is excited because it’s the greatest experience and the most important achievement of any player in their career. So we’re excited to be here and to start our World Cup campaign.

On the change in expectations of the U.S. National Team over the years:
“As a group, we feel that we have a lot to prove and I think we accept that. I think that at the World Cup, all 32 teams have something to prove. Again, the last World Cup was fantastic for us as a team, for our country as a sport. Now we want to do the same thing again. We want to play three very good games in our group and give ourselves a chance to get out of our group. We’re looking forward to that. We have a lot of good players. Our sport has grown a lot and that’s something that is nice, to have expectations at a World Cup and not just to come up here, make the numbers and kind of have a good time. We’re here and it’s different. We’re serious about being here and doing well.”

On whether there is a greater comfort level playing the World Cup in Europe than there was in Korea and Japan:
“I think the magnitude of the World Cup, playing here or not, is nothing that you can prepare or compare to and it’s the same for everyone, even the guys who have played in Germany or guys who play in Europe. This is special. There’s nothing like this. There’s really nobody, not even the best players in the world, who can really say they’re prepared for this. It’s a unique situation and that’s what makes it something so great.”

U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo

On whether there is a greater comfort level playing the World Cup in Europe than there was in Korea and Japan:
“I don’t think it’s a greater comfort level. For me personally, these stadiums, I’ve been to all of them before, so I know what’s coming at me, as opposed to 2002. I think it’s easier to prepare yourself but it’s still a World Cup and it’s still going to be very difficult. I think it’s the same for everybody.”

On the challenges the Czech Republic offense presents to the U.S. defense:
“It’s, offensively, a very strong team. They like to create a lot of chances. They’re very busy on the field. They have a strong midfield and, like I said, they just create a lot of chances and the more of those chances that we can deny and break up, the better we’ll do. I don’t see them as a team that’s unbeatable. We’ll find a way to break them down.”

On Jan Koller:
“He’s a very big forward. He holds up a lot of balls and is, obviously, very good in the air. He’s a key player for them and I think when you play against a guy like that you need somebody on him all the time, probably not somebody of my size, probably somebody a little bigger. You just have to be around him and not let him get too involved in the game.”