ARENA TO ANNOUNCE MNT ROSTER AT www.ussoccer.com TOMORROW AT 1 P.M. ET: U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bruce Arena will announce the roster for the team's upcoming training camp, which begins Sunday (Nov. 25) and runs through Dec. 3 at the ARCO Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., tomorrow on the U.S. Soccer website at www.ussoccer.com. The U.S. team travels overseas on Dec. 3 to finish preparations for the Dec. 9 friendly versus South Korea at Jeju Stadium in Seogwipo, Korea. The match against the 2002 World Cup co-hosts will air tape-delay on ESPN on Monday, December 10 at 1 p.m. ET.
BRAZIL CLAIMS FOURTH CONMEBOL SPOT WITH 3-0 WIN OVER VENEZUELA: It came down to the last match of the team's 18-game CONMEBOL final qualifying round, but four-time World Cup champion Brazil finally qualified for Korea/Japan 2002 last weekend, beating Venezuela 3-0. Brazil, who had only lost one qualifier before the current campaign, finished the South American group in third place with a disappointing 9-6-3 record. Coming into the match, Venezuela had surprisingly won their last four games, increasing the pressure on Brazil, who had produced a dismal performance last week in losing 3-1 to Bolivia. Needing a win to guarantee a top four place and avoid a play-off, Brazil striker Luizao put the crowd at ease with two goals in the first 20 minutes. Rivaldo added the third, his eighth in qualifying, in the 35th minute to seal the result. Brazil joins Argentina, Ecuador and Paraguay as the four automatic qualifiers from the South American continent. In other CONMEBOL action last week, Colombia beat Paraguay 4-0, but it wasn't enough to overtake Uruguay for the fifth-place playoff spot. Uruguay drew 1-1 with Argentina to finish with a 7-5-6 record and 27 points like Colombia, but Uruguay's goal differential was superior by just one goal (+6 to +5).
GERMANY, TURKEY LEAD LIST OF FINAL FIVE EUROPE/ASIA WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS: Five more spots in the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan were settled last week, as the second leg of four European playoffs and one Europe/Asia playoff series took place. Turkey was most impressive in its playoff series, hammering Austria 5-0 and winning 6-0 on aggregate. Three-time champs Germany made it to yet another World Cup with a convincing 4-1 win over Ukraine, taking the playoff 5-2 on aggregate. Belgium needed a penalty kick goal in the 86th minute to down the Czech Republic 1-0 and win 2-0 on aggregate. Slovenia held off Romania with a 1-1 draw, winning 3-2 on aggregate. Lastly, Ireland became the 31st of 32 teams to qualify, edging Iran 2-1 on aggregate despite losing 1-0 in Tehran last Thursday. The following are the results of the five playoff series:
Wednesday, Nov. 14
Belgium 1, Czech Republic 0 (Belgium wins 2-0 on aggregate)
Slovenia 1, Romania 1 (Slovenia wins 3-2 on aggregate)
Turkey 5, Austria 0 (Turkey wins 6-0 on aggregate)
Germany 4, Ukraine 1 (Germany wins 5-2 on aggregate)
Thursday, Nov. 15
Iran 1, Ireland 0 (Ireland wins 2-1 on aggregate)
AUSTRALIA, URUGUAY TO FIGHT FOR FINAL WORLD CUP BERTH THIS WEEK: The final berth in the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan will be settled this week with a two-leg playoff between Oceania winner Australia and Uruguay, the fifth-place finisher in South American qualifying. The series will open tomorrow (Nov. 20) in Australia, before moving to Uruguay for the finale on Sunday (Nov. 25), just six days ahead of the Final Draw in Busan, Korea.
U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE
U.S. TO MEET S. KOREA, CUBA IN 2002 GOLD CUP IN JANUARY ON PAY-PER-VIEW: The U.S. Men's National Team's two group matches of the 2002 Gold Cup on Jan. 19 and Jan. 21 against South Korea and Cuba, respectively, will be televised live on pay-per-view, after the rights to the matches were acquired by Innovative Sports Marketing. The games will be available on the following pay-per-view cable and satellite systems: DirecTV, Dish Network, InDemand 2 and TVN. Other matches from the tournament will be televised on the Spanish-language networks Univision and Galavision.
UPDATE ON MNT PLAYERS IN EUROPE: U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel held his former club Liverpool to a 1-1 draw on Saturday. Friedel played all 90 minutes in the draw with Liverpool, who now sits atop of the English table. Blackburn is in ninth place after 13 matches, six of which have ended in draws. Friedel has allowed just 16 goals in 13 league games. Friedel and Blackburn have pulled off an impressive trifecta of draws this season against three of England's top teams: Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool. Claudio Reyna played all 90 minutes as Rangers put on a dominating performance, winning 4-0 against Dunfermline. Rangers have lost just once this year and sit seven points behind undefeated Celtic. Rangers have scored 35 goals in 14 matches, the most in the League. Reyna has started the last eight matches for Rangers, seven of which have been wins. Earnie Stewart shocked John O'Brien in the Battle of American internationals in Amsterdam. Stewart pushed NAC Breda to a surprising 3-1 road win against O'Brien's Ajax team as both Americans went all 90 minutes. Stewart assisted on the first goal with a free kick into the box that was headed home, and then the U.S. midfielder hammered home the game winner with a bomb from more than 30 yards out. Ajax, who sit at the top of the Dutch Eredivisie, fell for just the second time all season. O'Brien has started each of the last nine matches for Ajax, playing 90 minutes on all but one occasion. David Regis did not play for the third straight match after a red card in his last outing with the club on Oct. 20. FC Metz lost 0-2 to Sochaux in the left back's absence. A minor hamstring strain forced John Thorrington to miss what would have been his first appearance in the FA Cup, as the California native did not play in Huddersfield Town's 2-1 win on Saturday against Gravesend in the First Round of the FA Cup. It marks just the second time this season that Thorrington has missed a match for Huddersfield. Jovan Kirovski scored his fourth goal of the 2001-02 campaign to help Crystal Palace top Crewe Alexandria 4-1 on Saturday. Kirovski, who tallied in the 34th minute to make the game 3-0, played all 90 minutes. Kirvoski has started the last 15 games for Palace, who sits third in the English First Division. Gregg Berhalter did not make the bench for Palace. In Germany, Steve Cherundolo and Conor Casey both saw time for Hannover 96 on Friday in a scoreless draw with FC Saarbrucken. Cherundolo played all 90 minutes for the eighth consecutive game, and the U.S. defender has now played in 12 league matches for the undefeated Hannover side. Casey saw action off the bench for the third straight match since moving to Hannover from Borussia Dortmund on loan. Casey got his longest outing of the year, playing the entire second half. Tony Sanneh played all 90 minutes and contributed an assist on the game winner as Nurnberg ended a four-game skid with a 2-0 win against Hansa Rostock. The win moved Nurnberg up to 16th place. Sanneh has played in 12 league games and one cup game this year for the newly-promoted Nurnberg side. Frankie Hejduk has been added to Bayer Leverkusen's squad list for the midweek Champions League match against Juventus. Hejduk has yet to make an appearance for the German club's full team this season. Cory Gibbs went 90 minutes in his eighth straight match, as St. Pauli continued to find the Bundesliga difficult, suffering a 5-1 defeat at third-place Kaiserslautern. St. Pauli, who was promoted following the 2000-01 season, currently sit at the bottom of the Bundesliga. Joe Enochs played all 90 minutes in FC Osnabruck's 2-0 loss to Fortuna Koln.
AROUND THE SOCCER NATION
MILBRETT, HAMM NAMED FINALISTS FOR FIRST-EVER FIFA WOMEN'S PLAYER OF YEAR: Two of the brightest and most decorated stars in the U.S. Women's National Team program have received an historic honor as Tiffeny Milbrett and Mia Hamm were named by FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, as finalists for the first-ever "World Female Player of the Year." The winner will be announced on Dec. 17 at the FIFA World Player Gala 2001 in Zurich, Switzerland. FIFA has named a men's "World Player of the Year" since 1991, but this will be the first year that a woman will be so honored. Chinese superstar Sun Wen joins Hamm and Milbrett as the three finalists who were nominated in voting by 72 women's national team coaches from around the world.
CHASTAIN TO APPEAR AT FIFA, UNICEF "SAY YES FOR CHILDREN" PRESS EVENT: U.S. Women's National Team star and 1999 Women's World Cup hero Brandi Chastain will appear with FIFA President Sepp Blatter and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan as FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, and UNICEF, announce a global alliance for children, at a press event on the North Lawn of the United Nations in New York City tomorrow (Nov. 20) at 3 p.m. ET. Also attending the event, in which FIFA and UNICEF will make a major announcement about the World Cup 2002 Korea/Japan, will be UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Roger Moore and the legendary Pele. The "Say Yes for Children" campaign urges people everywhere to pledge their commitment to 10 essential actions needed to improve and protect children's lives. For more information on "Say Yes for Children," log onto www.gmfc.org.
FANS VOTE MOORE'S PK ON OCT. 7 "KEY MOMENT" OF QUALIFYING FOR MNT: U.S. Soccer fans cast their votes online this week to answer the question "What was the key moment of World Cup Qualifying for the U.S. MNT this year?" Joe-Max Moore's game-winning penalty kick vs. Jamaica on October 7 captured over one third of the votes in the poll (35.8%) to post a comfortable margin of victory over the second and third-place options. Josh Wolff's game-winning goal vs. Mexico in the first match of the final qualifying round (February 28 in Columbus, Ohio) finished second with 25.4% of the vote, edging out the game-winning free kick goal by Clint Mathis on March 28 in Honduras, which came in third at 23.0 percent. Moore's game-winning penalty kick goal vs. Jamaica was his second goal of the match as the United States posted a 2-1 victory on a day that would see them secure qualification for their fourth consecutive World Cup, while clinching on U.S. soil for the first time in history. The U.S. earned the penalty kick when Landon Donovan was tripped in the box by Jamaican defender Tyrone Marshall after the young forward received a pass from Claudio Reyna on the right side of the penalty area and cut towards the middle of the box. This week fans can go to ussoccer.com and vote their prediction of "Which first-time participant will do the best at the World Cup next summer?" Full results of last week's poll follow:
1) Moore's PK to defeat Jamaica - 35.8%
2) Wolff's goal against Mexico - 25.4%
3) Mathis's free kick goal at Honduras - 23.0%
4) Wolff's goal against Costa Rica in K.C. - 8.0%
5) Keller's key save of Lowe late in 0-0 draw - 4.8%
6) Razov's quick strike vs. T&T - 3.0%
CINCINNATI SHOCKS NOTRE DAME AS WOMEN'S COLLEGE CUP FIELD IS DOWN TO 16: Cincinnati's Rachel Lieberman scored twice in the first 20 minutes and senior forward Amy Simonson scored her second game-winning goal of the weekend to help the Lady Bearcats upset #6-ranked Notre Dame, 3-2, in the second round of the NCAA Women's College Cup this weekend. In other second round action, #1-ranked and undefeated North Carolina bested ACC rivals Duke 2-0 and the rest of the Top 5 - Santa Clara, Portland, UCLA and Stanford - all posted wins to advance to the Sweet 16. Third round action begins this weekend, with the Final Four and championship set for Dallas, Texas on Dec. 7 and 9.
U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT
PEAK PERFORMANCE: Brazil striker Luizao put a whole country at ease with two goals in the first 20 minutes of Brazil's tense 3-0 win over Venezuela this weekend. His strikes in the 12th and 19th minutes not only elated a crowd of 65,000, but all but ensured that the most decorated country in World Cup history would make it to the sports' grandest stage in 2002.
MARQUEE MATCH-UP: 31 down, one to go. With the FIFA World Cup Final Draw less than two weeks away, the last spot in the 2002 World Cup will be determined this week, with Australia and Uruguay battling it out in a two-game playoff series tomorrow (Nov. 20) and Sunday (Nov. 25). It's shaping up to be the most competitive of all the playoff series, as Australia and Uruguay are coming off impressive home draws with the two early favorites to win the 2002 title in France and Argentina, respectively.
SOCCER SHOCKER: Not even the league's third all-time leading scorer Raul Diaz Arce was selected in the MLS Waiver Draft today, as all 12 MLS teams elected to pass on the opportunity to select from a pool of 26 available players. The El Salvadoran international, who has a whopping 81 goals and 28 assists in his six-year MLS career to go along with two championship rings, was waived by the Colorado Rapids last week as clubs made roster moves in preparation for the 2002 season.
"Abby (Wambach) is one of those players where she's good for at least one goal a game. You just expect it no matter what."
- Georgia head coach Sue Patberg, after the U.S. WNT and Florida forward scored the 10th hat trick of her college career and third this season in the Gators' 3-0 win in the second round of the NCAA Women's College Cup.