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World Cup Update: June 7, 2010

NOTE: U.S. MNT World Cup Update will be a regular e-mail that includes news, notes, quotes and more from the U.S. Men’s National Team in South Africa.

U.S. MNT World Cup Update
June 7, 2010
Irene, South Africa

After almost a week of training in South Africa, the U.S. Men got a well-deserved day off on Monday to give them a chance to recover, relax and recharge before beginning the final preparations for the team’s opening match of the FIFA World Cup against England on Saturday, June 12 in Rustenburg. While some players stayed at the comfy confines of the Irene Country Lodge, others went for a short round of golf (nine holes) or checked out a nearby animal park to interact with some lions and giraffes. The lion cubs, anway…

U.S. Soccer’s popular web show Studio 90 will feature one to two shows a day during the FIFA World Cup. Here’s a look at the rundown for the June 7 show.

Studio 90: Today on Studio 90, host Aaron Heifetz and the crew were at Pildtich Stadium, the U.S. team’s official training base here at the 2010 World Cup, for the USA’s public training session. The U.S. Embassy arranged for more than 350 under-privileged children to watch training, meet the players and get autographs. We also have a World Cup memory from former U.S. striker Joe-Max Moore and an interview with the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, Donald H. Gips.

Studio 90 Extra Time: Today on Extra Time, Aaron Heifets sits down with U.S. forward Herculez Gomez, who made an amazing run to make the final World Cup squad. We chat about his time in Mexico, his most recent goal-scoring exploits and why his dad named him Herculez, with a z. Also on the show, the always ebullient U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden takes us inside the USA’s game room and players’ lounge at the Irene Country Lodge base camp.

Sounds from South Africa: Sounds from South Africa for June 7 brings listeners an interview with Herculez Gomez. The U.S. Men's National Team forward discusses his inclusion on the World Cup team, his circuitous path to South Africa and how he resurrected his career in Mexico. He also answers questions from fans who submitted their queries at

A collection of notes, anecdotes and links:

• USA on the NBC Nightly News
• The driver who can barely count his languages on two hands 

QUOTABLE: On England
A few of the comments about facing England from the last few days from the U.S. camp:

U.S. MNT Goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
On what the team needs to improve on before facing England:
“We can always get better at everything. I can’t pinpoint just one thing, but things are starting to click. We’re feeling good about our last two results, coming behind against Turkey and in this one we kind of controlled things. Training has been good, and like I said we’re very excited and have a very positive spirit.”

On Rio Ferdinand getting hurt and not playing for England:
“I’m devastated for him as well as I’m sure most of his friends and his teammates are. How will it affect the team? I don’t know. I think they’re all very strong characters, and as the week goes on they’ll be fully prepared. We’ve had a good teammate of ours go down and not make the World Cup. That was a little while ago, but it still hurts.”

On how familiarity with English players will help him:
“Well, I think it helps me because it’s one of the best leagues in the world, and for three years I’ve been consistently good. So I’m taking that confidence with me to the World Cup, and that’s how it helps me. When you get to international play, it’s different from club and all you can take with you is your confidence in your form and those are the positives that I’m going to take from that league and take into this game. But we’re going to watch tapes, like we do for any opponent, to know what their strengths and weaknesses are and know what we have to do to get a result.”

On the ability of this team to make history like the 1950 U.S. National Team did:
“If we didn’t believe that we could, why would we be here? It wouldn’t be right. I shouldn’t be part of this team if I didn’t feel we can do something special. Every time you put on the U.S. jersey, you should think you can do a good job. If you don’t, you shouldn’t be here. We’re trying to do something special. Hopefully we can do something special like we did in the Confederations Cup here.”

• England’s 3.4 goals per game during qualifying was the best in the world, while the 42 qualifying goals scored by the USA were the most in the world (not including playoffs).
• The United States is both the largest participant nation in population (307 million) and area, while Slovenia is the smallest in population (2 million) and area.