Final U.S. Players Arrive in Camp for Wednesday Match vs. Italy
FINAL U.S. PLAYERS ARRIVE INTO CAMP: With one day remaining before the USA's first match in Italy since the 1990 World Cup, the U.S. side is now at full strength, with John O'Brien, Tony Sanneh and Joe-Max Moore late arrivals in Sicily on Monday due to club commitments. Yesterday, the team trained at the stadium of Serie C1 club Pedara, a winding one-hour drive from the hotel. Under the shadow of Mount Etna, an active volcano from which steam is constantly rising, coach Bruce Arena led the team through a 90-minute session of possession and finishing. Arena will conduct the team's final training session this afternoon at 4 p.m. local time at the Stadio Cibali, with over 100 journalists expected to attend.
NEAR FULL-STRENGTH ITALY TEAM TRAVELS TO CATANIA: Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni has called upon the full strength of available players for the friendly, led by the magic triangle of Francesco Totti, Alessandro Del Piero and Christian Vieri. Playing for Inter Milan, Vieri is tied as the "capocannonieri" in Serie A with 14 goals. "Il Trap", as head coach Giovanni Trapattoni is known, has the luxury of selecting from the top two goalkeepers in Italy, Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus and Inter's Francesco Toldo. Missing from the side are captain Paolo Maldini and forward Filippo Inzaghi, who have both been sidelined with knee injuries. The Italians typically employ a 3-5-2 formation, with Totti playing as the attacking midfielder behind two frontrunners. Trapattoni has called upon a few newcomers to the side who are likely to see action, most notably Cristiano Doni, who is viewed as the next great striker of Italy, and Alberto Asta, a right-sided midfielder playing in Torino who has received his first national team call-up at the age of 30. The Italians trained in Coverciano outside Florence for two days before arriving in Catania this afternoon.
U.S. vs. ITALY HISTORY: The United States and Italy have met just four times in their history, with the Italians holding a 2-0-2 record against the U.S. The first meeting between the sides took place in 1934 at the second World Cup, and the Italians cruised to a 7-1 win in Rome. The capital city also hosted the teams’ second meeting in a World Cup, when Italy topped a young U.S. team 1-0 on June 14, 1990. The teams’ most recent match took place on June 6, 1992 in Chicago, a come-from-behind 1-1 draw for the U.S.
ETC: Over 1,000 U.S. military servicemen from the Naval Base in Sicily are attending the match ... Should the U.S. advance out of the first round in 2002 Korea/Japan, Italy is a possible opponent in the round of 16, as the qualifiers from the USA's Group D face off against Italy's Group G qualifiers ... Members of the Nike staff flew from the United States and Holland to present the team with the first look at the new uniforms to be worn for the 2002 World Cup ... Trapattoni, who for played for Italy from 1960-1966, made his debut for the Azzurri at the Stadio Cibali ... The USA-Italy match will air live on ESPN at 2:30 p.m. ET, and is also available on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.