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U.S. Trains in Daejeon; Ready for Group D Finale Against Poland

U.S. World Cup Update
June 13, 2002
Daejeon, Korea

HELLO DAEJEON:  After a morning press conference and lunch, the U.S. team bused to Daejeon Thursday afternoon.  With a police escort leading the way, the journey took less than 90 minutes from hotel to hotel.  Upon arrival at the team hotel in Daejeon, the U.S. was greeted by more than 150 fans waving the U.S. flag and chanting for the American team.  When the team left for training two hours later, there were still 50-plus fans clamoring outside for autographs.  When the mohawked-Clint Mathis obliged and began signing flags and t-shirts, he almost set off a mini riot among a group of young girls all clamoring for “Mathis-san”.

TWENTY AND COUNTING:  When the U.S. Men’s National Team kicks off against Poland tomorrow night it will be the USA’s 20th match in a FIFA World Cup.  The U.S. has played in seven World Cups, recording a 5-12-2 record.  In the USA’s first World Cup match (July 13, 1930) they topped Belgium 3-0.

U.S. TEAM TRIES OUT DAEJEON WORLD CUP STADIUM:  The U.S. team got their first taste of Daejeon Stadium on Thursday evening, spending an hour training on the new stadium field that hosted the Spain-South Africa match last night.  The stadium is 2,000 seats larger than Suwon World Cup Stadium, where the U.S. opened the tournament against Portugal, but almost 20,000 seats smaller than Daegu World Cup Stadium.  The seats are much closer to the field and are built on a steep pitch, creating an intense atmosphere much different from the large, cavernous Daegu World Cup Stadium.  The team went through their usual day-before-game training, warming up for an extended period of time, before breaking up into a light 11 v 11 possession game and eventually a light full-field scrimmage.

DAEJEON WORLD CUP STADIUM:  The Daejeon World Cup Stadium is a football-only arena and features a semi-closed roof, the first of its kind to be constructed in Korea.  The stadium was designed to reflect the image of a traditional Korean farmhouse.  After the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the field will be reserved exclusively for use by the Daejeon Citizen, the city’s professional soccer team.  The Daejeon World Cup Stadium hosted Spain and South Africa on June 12 in an entertaining 3-2 win by the Spaniards.  The stadium holds 42,176 spectators, and curiously, is the only Korean venue with Korean grass.

DAEJEON:  Situated in Central Korea, Daejeon is a transportation hub, sitting at the intersection of Kyungbu and Honam railways and expressways.  It is also a center of science and technology in Korea, and it home to the Daedok Research Complex and the Secretariat of World Technopolis Association (an association of 23 cities of science and technology around the world).  In 1993, the Daejeon International Expo drew some 14 million visitors from all over the world.  Daejeon is located 94 miles south of Seoul and has a population of more than 1.3 million people.

WIN THE GROUP, RETURN TO DAEJEON:   If the U.S. team finishes at the top of Group D (they are currently tied at the top of the group with Korea with four points, but are in second place because of an inferior goal differential) they will return to Daejeon for their Round of 16 match.  The Group D winner faces the second-place team from Group G (either Croatia, Mexico or Italy) at Daejeon World Cup Stadium on June 18 at 8:30 p.m. local time (7:30 a.m. ET).  Regardless of where the U.S. finishes in Group D, the team will return to their base in Seoul prior to a potential Round of 16 match.

U.S. EARNS HARD-FOUGHT 1-1 DRAW WITH KOREA:  Just five days after posting one of the biggest upsets in U.S. Soccer history by shocking Portugal in a 3-2 win, the U.S. Men’s National Team battled valiantly to a 1-1 draw with co-host Korea Republic today in Daegu, Korea.  Playing in stifling heat and humidity and in front of a noisy crowd of over 60,000, the U.S. was under attack from the outset, but the stellar play of goalkeeper and Chevy Man of the Match Brad Friedel and an early strike from forward Clint Mathis helped the Americans a valuable point in an extremely difficult atmosphere.  “It was a difficult game for us. Korea’s fitness is outstanding,” said Bruce Arena, who helped the U.S. improve their all-time World Cup record to 5-12-2. “But to be standing here with four points after our first two games is a good feeling.”
Scoring Summary:
USA – Clint Mathis (John O’Brien) ….. 24th minute.
KOR – Jung Hwan Ahn (Eul Yong Lee) ….. 78.
1-Brad Friedel; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 12-Jeff Agoos, 23-Eddie Pope, 22-Tony  Sanneh; 10-Claudio Reyna (Capt.), 17-DaMarcus Beasley (7-Eddie Lewis, 75), 5-John O’Brien, 21-Landon Donovan; 11-Clint Mathis (15-Josh Wolff, 83), 20-Brian McBride.
Subs Not Used: 3-Gregg Berhalter, 4-Pablo Mastroeni, 6-David Regis, 8-Earnie Stewart, 9-Joe-Max Moore, 13-Cobi Jones, 14-Steve Cherundolo, 16-Carlos Llamosa, 18-Kasey Keller, 19-Tony Meola.

U.S. SHOCKS PORTUGAL 3-2 TO OPEN 2002 WORLD CUP:  The U.S. Men’s National Team opened the 2002 World Cup by posting perhaps the tournament's biggest upset so far, scoring three first-half goals and holding on for a 3-2 win over popular pre-tournament favorite Portugal in Suwon, Korea, today. U.S. forward Brian McBride earned Chevy Man of the Match honors after providing the assist on the first goal and knocking home a header in the 36th minute to provide the game winner, making him the only U.S. player to score a goal in two different World Cups (McBride had the USA's only goal at France '98 in a 2-1 loss to Iran on June 21). “We beat a great team today,” said Bruce Arena, who helped the U.S. improve their all-time World Cup record to 5-12-1 and became just the fourth U.S. coach to record a win in the World Cup.  “We came into this game believing we could win this game, and our guys played a great 30-40 minutes in the first half that really won the game for us.”
USA – John O’Brien (Brian McBride) 4th minute.
USA – Own Goal (Jorge Costa) 30.
USA – Brian McBride (Tony Sanneh) 36.
POR – Beto (Unassisted) 39.
POR – Own Goal (Jeff Agoos) 71.
USA: 1-Brad Friedel; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 12-Jeff Agoos, 23-Eddie Pope (16-Carlos Llamosa, 80), 22-Tony Sanneh; 4-Pablo Mastroeni, 17-DaMarcus Beasley, 5-John O’Brien, 8-Earnie Stewart (Capt.; 13-Cobi Jones, 46); 21-Landon Donovan (9-Joe-Max Moore, 75), 20-Brian McBride.
Subs Not Used: 3-Gregg Berhalter, 6-David Regis, 7-Eddie Lewis, 10-Claudio Reyna, 11-Clint Mathis, 14-Steve Cherundolo, 15-Josh Wolff, 18-Kasey Keller, 19-Tony Meola.

DESPITE TIME DIFFERENCE, ESPN2 GRABBING HIGHER RATINGS THAN IN FRANCE ’98: The first 25 World Cup broadcasts on ESPN2 are averaging a 0.64 cable rating and 540,000 households – six and a half times more than watched during the same time periods last year.  ESPN has broadcasted five matches, averaging 547,000 homes, slightly more than double the average viewership during that time period last year.  That number is expected to take a turn upward on Friday, when ESPN shows the U.S. – Poland game live at 7:30 a.m. ET.  At France ’98, games were shown in morning and afternoons on the East Coast, and ESPN2 averaged 292,000 and ESPN averaged 670,000.

JONES, STEWART ONE APPEARANCE AWAY FROM U.S. SOCCER RECORD: After playing one half in the USA’s 3-2 win over Portugal and then missing the draw with Korea, Earnie Stewart and Cobi Jones are each one World Cup appearance away from tying the U.S. Soccer World Cup appearance record (nine) held by Tab Ramos.  Ramos played nine World Cup matches for the U.S. across Italy ’90, USA ’94 and France ’98.  Both Stewart and Jones played in USA ’94 and France ’98, before appearing on June 5.  When the two players did not appear against Korea on June 10, it ended eight-game World Cup game playing streaks for the two players.  The two tied Eric Wynalda, whose eight World Cup appearances rank second all-time.  Cobi Jones is the all-time U.S. leader in caps with 156, and Earnie Stewart is the all-time U.S. leader with 27 World Cup qualifying appearances.

APPROACHING THE CENTURY CLUB:  With their next appearance with the U.S. MNT, Joe-Max Moore and Tony Meola will both enter the exclusive century club.  Only five previous players have made 100 or more appearances with the U.S. squad.  Meola would be the first U.S. goalkeeper to earn 100 caps.  The U.S. has a 4-1 mark in matches when players make their 100th appearance.  A breakdown of those matches when players have entered the century club:

Player; Date; Opponent, Result; Venue
1) Marcelo Balboa; Nike U.S. Cup 1995; June 11, 1995; vs. Nigeria , 3:2 Win; Foxboro, Mass.
2) Paul Caligiuri; Copa America 1995; July 14, 1995; vs. Argentina, 3:0 Win; Paysandu, Uruguay 

3) Cobi Jones; CONCACAF Gold Cup 1998; February 10, 1998; vs. Brazil, 1:0 Win; Los Angeles
4) Eric Wynalda; World Cup 1998; June 15, 1998; vs. Germany, 0:2 Loss; Paris, France
5) Jeff Agoos; Nike U.S. Cup 2000; June 3, 2000; vs. South Africa, 4:0 Win; Washington, D.C.

CONCACAF SUFFERS FIRST LOSS OF 2002 WORLD CUP:  Four-time World Cup champs Brazil rested some of their regulars and still beat Costa Rica 5-2, knocking the Ticos out of the World Cup in one of the more entertaining games of the first round.  Brazil jumped on top of the CONCACAF qualifying champions for three goals in the first 38 minutes, before Costa Rica rebounded to score one on both sides of halftime and cut the lead to 3-2.  Brazil scored two unanswered goals in the second half to give CONCACAF their first loss of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.  Prior to the loss, the U.S., Mexico and Costa Rica combined for a 4-0-2 record.

CHINESE REFEREE TO CALL USA–POLAND MATCH:  Jun Lu of China will referee tomorrow’s clash between the U.S. and Poland.  Previously, Jun Lu was the fourth official in the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team’s 3-1 victory over Kuwait, as that team advanced to the medal round of the tournament to finish in fourth place.  Coincidentally, the game against Kuwait was the final group game for the U.S. in the Olympics, and a late goal from Landon Donovan helped the U.S. win the group on goal difference over Cameroon.  Bomer Fierro (Ecuador) and Jaap Pool (Netherlands) will be the two assistant referees.  In this World Cup, Jun Lu refereed the Mexico-Croatia match on June 3 that Mexico won 1-0.

POLAND’S PAST WORLD CUP SUCCESSES:  Although Poland has missed three straight World Cups, the Poles do have an amazing tournament history.  Poland is one of just four countries to post top-five finishes at three consecutive World Cups (along with Brazil, Germany and Italy).  In 1974 Poland finished in third place, took fifth place in 1978 and then took third place again in 1982.

MENDIETA, ACIMOVIC SHARE TOURNAMENT’S 100th GOAL:  The 100th goal of the 2002 FIFA World Cup will go down as being shared by two players, as both goals were scored in the 46+ minute of matches last night.  Slovenia’s Milenko Acimovic and Spain’s Gaizka Mendieta each scored in injury time of the first half in games that ran concurrently last night.  Slovenia fell 3-1 to Paraguay and Spain topped South Africa 3-2.