U.S. Men Set for Spring Matches in Europe Against Poland and Fourth-Ranked Spain
CHICAGO (Feb. 11, 2008) – The U.S. Men’s National Team will play a pair of friendlies in Europe this spring, traveling to face Poland and Spain in preparation for the start of 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying. The United States will first meet Poland on March 26 in Krakow, the match falling on the final international fixture date before the start of qualifying. On June 4, the U.S. travels to face fourth-ranked Spain just six days before the Spaniards open group play in the 2008 European Championship against Russia. Full details regarding kickoff times and broadcast information will be available in the near future.
"We are excited about the opportunity to play two high-caliber teams like Poland and Spain in such an important time in our preparations for World Cup qualifying,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, who will face his fourth Top 10 opponent in a year after games in 2007 against Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. “In order to progress, we continue to seek out quality opponents and environments that will challenge our players, and U.S. Soccer has done a great job in arranging these games.”
Against Poland, the United States has an all-time record of 6-7-2 in 15 meetings. The teams have met six times previously on Polish soil, the U.S. holding a 3-2-1 advantage. Their most recent encounter in Poland came March 31, 2004, in Plock, where DaMarcus Beasley scored the lone goal to hand the USA its first victory on European soil in six years. The teams last met in 2006 during the “Blizzard of Kaiserslautern,” this time Clint Dempsey netting the solo strike in the 1-0 win at the Fritz-Walter-Stadion, site of the USA’s 1-1 draw against eventual World Champions Italy in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Poland is the midst of preparations for the 2008 European Championships that will take place from June 7-29 in eight venues across Switzerland and Austria. Poland are grouped with 2006 World Cup third place finishers Germany, co-host Austria and 10th ranked Croatia. The Poles advanced to the tournament by finishing in first place of their qualifying group ahead of eighth-ranked Portugal.
In June, the U.S. will head to Spain for the second time in the team’s history and the first since 1992. The fourth-ranked Spaniards have won both previous meetings, including a 3-1 win in the 1950 World Cup and a 2-0 win on March 11, 1992 in Sevilla. Spain boasts some of the most accomplished talents in world football, including their all-time leading scorer and current Real Madrid captain Raul (44 goals). Finishing in first place of their qualifying group, Spain has been drawn with Russia, Sweden and Greece for the first phase of Euro 2008. After defeating France on Feb. 6 in Malaga, the Spaniards next host defending World Champion Italy on March 26 in Elche, Spain.
The U.S. will begin the attempt to qualify for their sixth-consecutive World Cup finals when they take on the winner of the first round qualifying series between Barbados and Dominica, who drew 1-1 in the first leg of their series on Feb. 6 in Dominica. The U.S. will host their first qualifier on June 15 at The Home Depot Center, with the second leg to be played between June 18-21 on the road. Should the U.S. advance, the semifinal phase will take place from Aug. 20-Nov.19 with four teams participating in round-robin group play.