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U.S. Falls to Czech Republic, 3-0, in World Cup Opener

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (June 12, 2006) – The U.S. fell 3-0 to the Czech Republic in the opening match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup on June 12 at FIFA World Cup Stadium in Gelsekirchen, Germany.

The Czech Republic struck early when 6-foot, 7-inch forward Jan Koller scored on a fifth-minute header. Tomas Rosicky added a 35-yard rocket before the end of the half and later added a second on a breakaway late in the game.

With the win, the Czech Republic sits atop Group E with three points. Italy topped Ghana 2-0 in the second match of Group E and is second place. The U.S. faces Italy next on Saturday, June 17 at 3 p.m. ET live on ABC, Univision and's MatchTracker. 

The Czech Republic struck in the fifth minute as Koller headed in the first goal. Right back Zdenek Grygera found space on the right wing when U.S. left back Eddie Lewis was forward. Pablo Mastroeni gave chase, but couldn’t catch the speedy Czech before his pinpoint cross cleared Oguchi Onyewu and Eddie Pope and was headed in with authority by Koller.

"Obviously, the first goal was big," said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena. "To give that up in the first five minutes of the match really put us behind and allowed the Czech team to sit back and really counter at us. And they did a good job, to their credit." [Full Quote Sheet]

The U.S. almost leveled the score in the 28th minute when captain Claudio Reyna hit the post. On a counter attack, Bobby Convey played the ball into the center to Landon Donovan, who quickly played the ball square to Reyna. After taking a settling touch, Reyna hit a drive past a diving Petr Cech and off the inside of the left post.

"Overall, in the first half, I thought we played well," said the U.S. captain. "They got their two chances and scored. We hit the post."

In the 36th minute, Pavel Nedved made a run to the left corner and received the ball before sending a low, driven cross into the area that was headed out by Onyewu right to Rosicky. Rosicky took a touch and drove a 35-yard rocket past the on-rushing Reyna that curled between an oustretched Keller and the right post.

In the 42nd minute, Koller went down grabbing his right hamstring after going shoulder to shoulder with Onyewu chasing a ball into the area. He was replaced before the end of the half by Vratislav Lokvenc.

Rosicky tried to match his earlier effort in the 68th minute, again taking a shot at goal from distance but ringing the cross bar over Keller. He would be heard from again, however, as Nedved played him through behind the U.S. defense in the 76th minute. Rosicky then finished over Keller before a retreating Lewis could catch up from behind.

The best U.S. chances of the second half came when a left-footed drive by Eddie Johnson went wide left, and a low Convey cross for Johnson was corralled by Cech at the top of the six-yard box.

Arena made two changes at the half, bringing Johnson in for Steve Cherundolo and John O’Brien for Mastroeni, changing the U.S. formation to a 3-5-2. After the third Czech goal, Josh Wolff came on in favor of Brian McBride.

For the U.S., Claudio Reyna and Oguchi Onyewu picked up yellow cards. If they pick up another yellow card during group play they will miss the subsequent match … Four U.S. players made their World Cup debuts, with Cherundolo, Convey and Onyewu in the starting lineup and Johnson coming off the bench … The U.S. has an overall 6-15-2 record in World Cup play, 2-3-1 under Bruce Arena … The U.S. is 0-7 vs. European opponents in the World Cup in Europe.

- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --

Match-up: USA vs. Czech Republic
Date: June 12, 2006
Competition: 2006 FIFA World Cup – Group E
Venue: FIFA World Cup Stadium Gelsenkirchen
Kickoff: 6 p.m.
Attendance: 52,000
Weather: 82 degrees, fair skies

Scoring Summary:  1  2   F
USA                            0  0  0
Czech Republic       2  1  3

CZE – Jan Koller (Zdenek Grygera)     5th minute
CZE – Tomas Rosicky (unassisted)   36.
CZE – Rosicky (Pavel Nedved)             76.

USA: 18-Kasey Keller; 6-Steve Cherundolo (9-Eddie Johnson, 46), 23-Eddie Pope, 22-Oguchi Onyewu, 7-Eddie Lewis; 17-DaMarcus Beasley, 10-Claudio Reyna, 4-Pablo Mastroeni (5-John O’Brien, 46), 15-Bobby Convey; 21-Landon Donovan, 20-Brian McBride (16-Josh Wolff, 77)
Subs not used: 1-Tim Howard, 19-Marcus Hahnemann, 2-Chris Albright, 3-Carlos Bocanegra, 8-Clint Dempsey, 11-Brian Ching, 12-Gregg Berhalter, 13-Jimmy Conrad, 14-Ben Olsen
Manager: Bruce Arena

CZE: 1-Petr Cech; 2-Zdenek Grygera, 21-Tomas Ujfalusi, 22-David Rozehnal, 6-Marek Jankulovski; 8-Karel Poborksi (19-Jan Polak, 82), 10-Tomas Rosicky (17-Jiri Stajner, 86), 4-Tomas Galasek, 11-Pavel Nedved, 20-Jaroslav Plasil; 9-Jan Koller (12-Vratislav Lokvenc, 45)
Subs not used: 16-Jaromir Blazek, 23-Antonin Kinsky, 3-Pavel Mares, 5-Radoslav Kovac, 7-Libor Sionko, 12-Vratislav Lokvenc, 13-Martin Jiranek, 14-David Jarolim, 15-Milan Baros, 18-Marek Heinz,
Head Coach: Karel Bruckner

Stats Summary: USA / CZE
Shots                          6 / 10
Corner Kicks             2 / 5
Fouls                        15 / 19
Offside                        0 / 9

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Oguchi Onyewu (caution) 5th minute
CZE – David Rozehal (caution) 16.
CZE – Vratislav Lokvenc (caution) 59.
USA – Claudio Reyna (caution) 60.
CZE – Tomas Rosicky (caution) 81.
CZE – Zdenek Grygera (caution) 88.

Referee: Carlos Amarilla (PAR)
1st Asst.: Amelia Andino (PAR)
2nd Asst.: Manuel Berlan (PAR)
Fourth Official: Carlos Chandia (CHI)

Group E Standings
CZE     1   1  0  0  3    0    3   3
ITA       1   1  0  0  2    0    2   3
GHA    1    0  1  0  0   2   -2   0
USA    1    0  1  0  0    3  -3   0

June 12
USA 0, Czech Republic 3
Italy 2, Ghana 0

June 17
Italy vs. USA                             9 p.m. local / 3 p.m. ET
Czech Republic vs. Ghana   6 p.m. local / noon ET

June 22
Czech Republic vs. Italy        4 p.m. local / 10 a.m. ET
Ghana vs. USA                       4 p.m. local / 10 a.m. ET