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Quote Sheet: U.S. MNT vs. Korea


BRUCE ARENA - U.S. head coach

On Portugal’s dominating 4-0 win over Poland today:
"Clearly an outstanding performance by Portugal.   I've said from the beginning they are a dangerous team who has the potential to go far in this tournament. Right now our team is focused on getting prepared for the critical match on Friday.  Poland are a quality team, and we expect a difficult match.  We will spend the next few days getting physically and mentally prepared.  We will approach this match the way we have all the others, which means we walk out on the field with the intention of trying to win."

On the 1-1 draw with Korea:
“We expected a tough game like that.  We were playing against a nation.  That was a difficult … not a simple … task for us today.  It was very challenging, but in the end the result it was it is all about and it puts us in a good position to try and advance into the next round.”

“It was a difficult game but I am happy with the point.  Korea's fitness is outstanding. Most people, a month ago, would not have believed the United States would get four points in our first two matches.  One hundred percent of the people would have said no.  It was a very difficult opener with Portugal and a draw with Korea.  It's a good feeling to get four points.”

On the difference between Portugal and Korea:
“They are completely different teams. Portugal is a creative, attacking team while Korea is a power team. Their (Korea's) fitness becomes a factor for 90 minutes. Today, they used their physical prowess to serve a lot of balls into the box. In the second half they put us under a lot of pressure. It will be an interesting game between Portugal and Korea.”

On the atmosphere in Daegu for the USA-Korea match:
“It was a big day for Korea and for us to play in front of a 60,000-odd crowd, to play in these conditions was difficult. For us to come away with a point is very satisfying. I want to get us (USA) ready for the next match against Poland. I am satisfied that we came out with no real injuries and hopefully the players will recover for the third match.”

On what was important technically in the match:
“Clearly, (Brad) Friedel was the man of the match, saving a penalty kick. He came up with a couple of other saves as well. Also, Eddie Pope played fantastic for us today, dealing with crosses. I have to give credit to Korea. They were athletic and strong and they used their qualities to their advantage.”

On his expectations on the next match against Poland:
“Our aspiration is to advance into the second round.  We have to use lot more strategy (against Poland).  Today's match was a tough match for us, it will help us prepare for the next match.”

On the play of Jeff Agoos and the penalty-kick call against him in the 39th minute:
"He can make some better but overall he played a pretty solid game today.  He was unfortunate on the penalty kick, which wasn’t a penalty kick.  He was dragged down by number nine (Seol Ki Hyeon). I don't know how that is a penalty kick.  The goal at the end, obviously that is his mark, but he had a pretty solid game.” 

BRAD FRIEDEL - U.S. goalkeeper

On the team’s current position in Group D:
“If someone had said you can have four points going into the third game, I would have taken it.”

On the penalty:
“I didn't think it was a penalty. I saw it on the replay. I don't want to have a go at the referee or anything, I thought he did a very good job today. I think he saw a lot of legs kind of tangled, four bodies right there, but I think it was the other way around. The Korean player had a hold of Jeff's jersey, not the other way around. But saying that, justice was done.”

On whether he expected the penalty kick by Lee Eul Yong to go to his right:
“I guessed right. I knew it would go that way for some reason.”

On penalty kicks in general:
“With some penalty kicks, I mean, Ruud van Nistelrooy took one against me this year for Man. United and he hit it so well in the corner that there is no way I could have gotten to it.  I could have been on a motorcycle and not stopped it.  Certain people can take penalty kicks better than other people, that is just the way it is.  The people that aren’t as confident, might give you some clues as the step up.  The ones that are really good at it, just say screw it and smack it by you.  If someone has the mentality you are not going to save to many of them, that is just the way it is.  That is why penalties are such an advantageous thing for the forwards.”

“I’m in a good patch right now in stopping penalties, but I don’t want to see any more against me.”

“A lot of it is luck.  A huge amount of it is luck.”

On the crowd and atmosphere:
“It was a great atmosphere. Ever since we got here, the South Koreans have been very friendly, always waving to us and not hostile at all. It was a good atmosphere, not a hostile one.”

On the goal by Korea:
“It was a ball played in between the defense and myself, and I think we were put under a lot of pressure. Both teams were very tired at the end, we lost concentration for a split second and they put it away.  I think you have to give them (Korea) some credit. They put us under a lot of pressure, in the second half. It was difficult to withstand that much pressure.” 

CLAUDIO REYNA - U.S. midfielder & captain

On the team's current standing:
“We have to be happy with what we have so far.  These World Cup games are not easy games.  Portugal is a pre-tournament favorite and we go out and win.  Korea is a very strong host team, and we get a 1-1 draw.  We went out and got a lead against both teams, and naturally you are going to fall back and protect a lead, which is just the way the game goes.  We did that for the most part and held firm.  Brad was great today.  The one thing we will talk about a little bit from these two games is to keep possession a little bit more.  The less you have the ball, the more tired you will be.  That is something that will be a little different against Poland, who probably won’t pressure us much.”

“I think going into that game, we are still going to have to be really focused.  In France, after two games, we went into that last game really wanting something even though we were out.  So from that experience maybe we can learn that they will really be wanting to give the Polish people something to be proud of.  We have to go into that game and be prepared and respect them.”

CLINT MATHIS - U.S. forward

On his goal:
“Somebody on the U.S. team had to do it.  Luckily I got through, and didn’t even know if I was offside. John (O’Brien) played a great ball over and I got the one-touch and was able to finish.  I didn't even see it go in. I was turning away. To score in my first World Cup game ... I can't describe it in words. I didn't know there was a defender behind me I just wanted to finish the play off.”

“This is a team concept here.  That is the name of the game.  If I didn’t play the first game, so be it.  I was on the bench and was ready to play.  Anytime you come into an event like this, it is going to be long and hard on the body, and when your name is called you have to be ready.  Fortunately my name was called today and I was able to produce and help us get a tie.”

On his goal ceremony:
“I put up two peace signs and the kiss was to the U.S. fans. There was a small section of them (U.S. fans) but they were supporting us 100 percent.  They came all this way to see us play well and to see us win, so I had to show my gratitude to them.”

On the team’s current position in Group D:
“For us and South Korea, it's great.  It's four more points than anyone thought we would have at this point.  It's good to get out with a point.  Right now, we're sitting good.”
 

EDDIE POPE - U.S. defender

On the match and the mood of the team following the draw:
“We are happy.  Who would have thought we would have this many points after two games?  We have four points and we are in position to advance.  We have to do well against Poland, but it is better than last time (1998).”

“We came into this tournament with the attitude of anything can happen.  We can either go home or we can stay.  Anything can happen.  We are going to be positive and try and move forward.  We are in great spirits.”

GUUS HIDDINK - Korea head coach

On the game results:
“I think a draw tastes a little bit less for us because I think we deserved to win. We created beautiful chances. We were unlucky not to have made 100 percent chances. After all, a draw is not enough. But it's a tournament, so we have to stick with that. I am happy with the way the players performed, the attitudes and their performance always going into attack.”

On the next match against Portugal:
“This is a group in which the teams are rather equal. I think it's a big effort from the Korea team. From where they came from three or four months ago, they compete, they control and they dominate every now and then to recognize their opponents.”

On why he did not smile:
“Yeah, it's curious why I'm not smiling, because when you see the Korean team coming from three or four months of hard work ... dominating and good power ... but because our national team had five or six open chances and we didn't make that a guaranteed goal. We had five or six open chances and so that's why I was not smiling.”

On comparisons between Poland and the United States:
“We had to beat Poland as we did well against the strong European teams. The American team also had strong strikers and were strong in the air, but I thought we neutralized them very well. The only thing I regret is that we should have had a bit more luck and a little bit more sharpness with our chances (finishing).”

On the selection of who would take the penalty kick:
“We have a sequence of penalty kickers and he (Lee Eul Yong) was the second one ... and he failed, but that's part of the game.  Park Ji Sung would normally take the first, and then he (Lee). That's part of the game and I fully cover him. What's important also is the many, many chances we had and that's where we failed, in having open chances and not scoring. I also want to give credit to goalie (Brad) Friedel ... for making 100% saves on 100% chances.”


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