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USA Drawn into Group E with Italy, Czech Republic and Ghana for 2006 World Cup

U.S. Will Open World Cup Against Czech Republic on June 12 in Gelsenkirchen
Also Face Italy on June 17 in Kaiserslautern and Ghana on June 22 in Nuremberg

LEIPZIG, Germany (December 9, 2005) – The U.S. Men’s National Team has been drawn into Group E with Italy, Ghana and the Czech Republic in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The Final Draw took place today at 3 p.m. ET (8 p.m. local) at the Congress Center Leipzig in Leipzig, Germany.

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The U.S. will open Group E play against Czech Republic on June 12 in Gelsenkirchen, and will follow that game with matches against three-time World Cup Champions Italy (1934, ’38, ‘82) on June 17 in Kaiserslautern and against Ghana on June 22 in Nuremberg.

“I'm pleased now that we know our opponents and now we can prepare,” said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena. “Obviously, it's a group with some very good teams including the second best team in the world (Czech Republic). Italy, in everyone's opinion, is a top 10 team in the world, and Ghana is an excellent newcomer to the World Cup. We have our hands full, but we really look forward to the competition.”

The U.S. was drawn into one of the toughest groups of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Group E is the only group with three teams in the top 12 in the World FIFA Rankings, with the Czech Republic (ranked second), the U.S. (eighth), Italy (12) and Ghana (50). The U.S. has never beaten any of the three teams it will face in group play (having never faced Ghana), holding a combined lifetime record of 0-4-2.

This will be the second time the U.S. will face the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia) and Italy in group play of a World Cup as the three teams, along with Austria, were drawn into Group A of the 1990 World Cup in Italy. The match order in the group is the same as well, with the U.S. facing the Czech Republic first and Italy second. The U.S. qualified for the 1990 World Cup after a 40-year absence and lost all three matches, but has since made five straight World Cup appearances.

"I went to the tournament in Italy in 1990,” said Arena. “It will be interesting to see how far we've progressed in 16 years."

In their opening match, the U.S. will have to contend with one of the best teams in the world in the Czech Republic, which played their first game as a new nation in 1998. The only meeting between the two countries came in the 1990 World Cup, a 5-1 victory for Czechoslovakia on June 10 in Florence, Italy. Despite their high ranking, the Czech Republic had to win a playoff against Norway (2-0) to advance to the World Cup after coming in second in their UEFA qualifying group behind the Netherlands.

This will be the third time the U.S. will face Italy in the World Cup as the two countries met in 1934 and 1990. Both matches were played in Rome, Italy, with the U.S. falling 7-1 in 1934 and 1-0 in 1990. In Germany, the matchup will take place in Kaiserslautern which, despite being by far the smallest of the 12 German venues, holds the largest U.S. military base outside the United States, housing some 40,000 American troops.  In their history, the U.S. holds a 0-3-2 record against the Italians, who advanced to the 2006 World Cup by winning Group 5 in UEFA qualifying.

The USA’s final group match against Ghana will be their first meeting against the African nation. Ghana qualified for their first-ever World Cup when they finished atop Group 2 in CAF, but have been considered a team on the rise, twice finishing second at the FIFA World Youth Championships (1993 & 2001), and winning two U-17 World Youth Championships (1991 & 1995).

Should the U.S. advance to the second round, the U.S. would meet a team from Group F (Brazil, Croatia, Australia and Japan) in either Kaiserslautern (June 26) or Dortmund (June 27).

The rest of the USA’s quarterfinal bracket includes Group G (France, Switzerland, Korea Republic and Togo) and Group H (Spain, Ukraine, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia).

The remaining World Cup groupings are as follows: Group A (Germany, Costa Rica, Poland, Ecuador), Group B (England, Paraguay, Trinidad & Tobago and Sweden), Group C (Argentina, Ivory Coast, Serbia & Montenegro and Netherlands) and Group D (Mexico, Iran, Angola and Portugal). Group A features the tournament’s opening game (Germany vs. Costa Rica on June 9 in Munich).

The U.S. will use the city of Hamburg as their home base throughout the 2006 FIFA World Cup, which is the northern most venue in Germany, traveling to its three match venues.

For a complete recap of today’s Final Draw, which includes more interesting facts on some of the other group pairings, media and fans can log on to’s DrawTracker. The DrawTracker includes up-to-date and detailed information on each of the 32 tournament finalists, and a complete 2006 World Cup schedule.

Group A    
Match Date Teams Venue Kickoff (ET)
1 June 9 GER vs. CRC Munich 12 p.m.
2 June 9 POL vs. ECU Gelsenkirchen 5 p.m.
17 June 14 GER vs. POL Dortmund 5 p.m.
18 June 15 ECU vs. CRC Hamburg 9 a.m.
33 June 20 ECU vs. GER Berlin 10 a.m.
34 June 20 CRC vs. POL Hanover 10 a.m.
Group B        
Match Date Teams Venue  Kickoff (ET)
3 June 10 ENG vs. PAR Frankfurt 9 a.m.
4 June 10 TRI vs. SWE Dortmund 12 p.m.
19 June 15 ENG vs. TRI Nuremberg 12 p.m.
20 June 15 SWE vs. PAR Berlin 3 p.m.
35 June 20 SWE vs. ENG Cologne 3 p.m.
36 June 20 PAR vs. TRI Kaiserslautern 3 p.m.
Group C        
Match Date Teams Venue Kickoff (ET)
5 June 10 ARG vs. CIV Hamburg 3 p.m.
6 June 11 SCG vs. NED Leipzig 9 a.m.
21 June 16 ARG vs. SCG Gelsenkirchen 9 a.m.
22 June 16 NED vs. CIV Stuttgart 12 p.m.
37 June 21 NED vs. ARG Frankfurt 3 p.m.
38 June 21 CIV vs. SCG Munich 3 p.m.
Group D        
Match Date Teams Venue Kickoff (ET)
7 June 11 MEX vs. IRN Nuremberg 12 p.m.
8 June 11 ANG vs. POR Cologne 3 p.m.
23 June 16 MEX vs. ANG Hanover 3 p.m.
24 June 17 POR vs. IRN Frankfurt 9 a.m.
39 June 21 POR vs. MEX Gelsenkirchen 10 a.m.
40 June 21 IRN vs. ANG Leipzig 10 a.m.
Group E        
Match Date Teams Venue  Kickoff (ET)
9 June 12 ITA vs. GHA Hanover 3 p.m.
10 June 12 USA vs. CZE Gelsenkirchen 12 p.m.
25 June 17 ITA vs.USA Kaiserslautern 3 p.m.
26 June 17 CZE vs. GHA Cologne 12 p.m.
41 June 22 CZE vs. ITA Hamburg 10 a.m.
42 June 22 GHA vs. USA Nuremberg 10 a.m.
Group F        
Match Date Teams Venue Kickoff (ET)
11 June 13 BRA vs. CRO Berlin 3 p.m.
12 June 12 AUS vs. JPN Kaiserslautern 9 a.m.
27 June 18 BRA vs. AUS Munich 12 p.m.
28 June 18 JPN vs. CRO Nuremberg 9 a.m.
43 June 22 JPN vs. BRA Dortmund 3 p.m.
44 June 22 CRO vs. AUS Stuttgart 3 p.m.
Group G        
Match Date Teams Venue Kickoff (ET)
13 June 13 FRA vs. SUI Stuttgart 12 p.m.
14 June 13 PRK vs. TOG Frankfurt 9 a.m.
29 June 18 FRA vs. PRK Leipzig 3 p.m.
30 June 19 TOG vs. SUI Dortmund 9 a.m.
45 June 23 TOG vs. FRA Cologne 3 p.m.
46 June 23 SUI vs. PRK Hanover 3 p.m.
Group H    
Match Date Teams Venue Kickoff (ET)
15 June 14 ESP vs. UKR Leipzig 9 a.m.
16 June 14 TUN vs. KSA Munich 12 p.m.
31 June 19 ESP vs. TUN Stuttgart 3 p.m.
32 June 19 KSA vs. UKR Hamburg 12 p.m.
47 June 23 KSA vs. ESP Kaiserslautern 10 a.m.
48 June 23 UKR vs. TUN Berlin 10 a.m.
Round of 16        
Match Date Teams Venue Kickoff (ET)
49 June 24 1st A vs. 2nd B Munich 11 a.m.
50 June 24 1st C vs. 2nd D Leipzig 3 p.m.
51 June 25 1st B vs. 2nd A Stuttgart 11 a.m.
52 June 25 1st D vs. 2nd C Nuremberg 3 p.m.
53 June 26 1st E vs. 2nd F Kaiserslautern 11 a.m.
54 June 26 1st G vs. 2nd H Cologne 3 p.m.
55 June 27 1st F vs. 2nd E Dortmund 11 a.m.
56 June 27 1st H vs. 2nd G Hanover 3 p.m.
Match Date Teams Venue Kickoff (ET)
57 June 30 Winner 49 vs. Winner 50 Berlin 11 a.m.
58 June 30 Winner 53 vs. Winner 54 Hamburg 3 p.m.
59 July 1 Winner 51 vs. Winner 52 Gelsenkirchen 11 a.m.
60 July 1 Winner 55 vs. Winner 56 Frankfurt 3 p.m.
Match Date Teams Venue Kickoff (ET)
61 July 4 Winner 57 vs. Winner 58 Dortmund 3 p.m.
62 July 5 Winner 59 vs. Winner 60 Munich 3 p.m.
Third Place        
Match Date Teams Venue Kickoff (ET)
63 July 8 Loser 61 vs. Loser 62 Stuttgart 3 p.m.
Match Date Teams Venue Kickoff (ET)
64 July 9 Winner 61 vs. Winner 62 Berlin 2 p.m. is the official site of U.S. Soccer, the governing body of soccer in the United States.