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June 18, 2010: U.S. Men vs. Slovenia

U.S. Looking for Win Against Algeria to Advance Through Group C at FIFA World Cup


U.S. Men's National Team vs. Algeria
Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa
2010 FIFA World Cup
June 22, 2010

WIN AND WE’RE IN: After a stunning two-goal comeback against Slovenia that held their position in second place in Group C, the U.S. heads into the third group game with the knowledge that a victory guarantees a spot in the knockout phase. They face an Algerian team still with everything to play for following their 0-0 draw with England, the Desert Foxes knowing that a victory could still be enough to see them through. Kickoff at Loftus Versfeld Stadium is set for 4 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN and Univision, with radio coverage on ESPN Radio and Futbol de Primera. Fans can also follow along on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and twitter.com/ussoccer.

SCENARIOS: Here is a quick breakdown on the USA’s scenarios for advancing:

The U.S. advances with:
• A U.S. win
• A U.S. tie and England loss
• A Tie and England-Slovenia tie, and the U.S. maintains its +2 goals scored advantage (USA 3 GF, England 1 GF)

The U.S. advances and wins group with:
• A Win by a greater goal difference than England wins by
• A Win and England win by same goal differential while the U.S. maintains its +2 goals scored advantage
• A Win by two or more goals and England / Slovenia tie
• A Win by one goal and England / Slovenia tie while scoring more goals than Slovenia

The U.S. is eliminated with:
• A U.S. tie and England win.
• A U.S. Loss

QUICK HITS
• Tournament rules provide that all 23 players will dress for FIFA World Cup matches. Drawn as Team ‘A’ for the game, the U.S. will wear the all-white Nike home strip for the first time in this World Cup, while Algeria will sport all green. The maximum number of substitutions will be three.
• U.S. forward Robbie Findley will be serving a one-match suspension after picking up his second caution of the tournament. Algeria enters with all players available for selection.
• Steve Cherundolo and Jay DeMerit are carrying cautions into the match. Another yellow card would trigger a one-game ban.
• The 2-2 draw against Slovenia marked the first time the United States has come back from a two-goal deficit at the World Cup.
• The U.S. now has five ties all time in World Cup play, with four of the draws coming against European opponents. The lone exception came in the 2002 World Cup, when the U.S. tied 1-1 with hosts Korea Republic in Daegu.
• The U.S. and Algeria have never met at the international level. The Algerians are appearing in their third World Cup finals and their first since 1986.
• The meeting with Algeria marks only the second match for the U.S. against an African team in the World Cup, which have now come in successive tournaments. The U.S. faced Ghana in 2006 in Germany.
• This will be the USA’s third visit to Loftus Versfeld, having played there for the first two matches of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup against Italy and Brazil.
• Against Slovenia, ussoccer.com Man of the Match Michael Bradley scored his first World Cup goal and the eighth of his career. It’s also his second on South African soil, having tallied the second goal in the USA’s 3-0 win against Egypt on June 21, 2009, in the FIFA Confederations Cup.
• He becomes the third player on the current roster have scored in a World Cup, adding to Dempsey’s pair and Donovan’s trio.
• Donovan’s strike against Slovenia marked his third career goal in the World Cup, tied for second on the USA’s all-time list with Brian McBride and one behind Bert Patenaude.
• He’s also the third U.S. player to score in multiple World Cups, joining Clint Dempsey (who reached that feat with the tying goal on June 12 against England) and former U.S. forward Brian McBride.
• Donovan collected his 10th World Cup cap, tied for second on the USA’s all-time list with Claudio Reyna and one shy of the U.S. record shared by Cobi Jones and Earnie Stewart.
• He has started in every World Cup match for the U.S. since 2002. Steve Cherundolo and Oguchi Onyewu have started all five of the USA’s previous World Cup matches dating back to 2006.
• Altidore’s assist on Michael Bradley’s game-tying goal was his first for the full team.
• Head coach Bob Bradley made one change to the starting team that drew 1-1 with England in the team’s World Cup opener, inserting Jose Torres in place of Ricardo Clark
• With his start against Slovenia, Jose Torres became the seventh U.S. player to make his debut start in the World Cup here in South Africa, joining Altidore, Bradley, Clark, DeMerit, Findley, and Tim Howard.
• Herculez Gomez became the 10th player to get his first World Cup cap during this tournament, entering as a reserve against Slovenia after Edson Buddle and Stuart Holden came on against England.
• Dempsey is the third player to score in back-to-back games in the World Cup for the United States, having also tallied the team’s lone goal against Ghana in the final group game in 2006 in Germany. Bert Patenaude scored four goals in two games during the 1930 tournament and Landon Donovan scored in back-to-back games in 2002 against Poland and Mexico.
• Findley became the first U.S. player to start a World Cup game for the U.S. after not participating in the qualifying cycle since Pablo Mastroeni started against Portugal to open the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
• Nineteen of the 23 players on the U.S. World Cup Team appeared in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying for the U.S., although only eight appeared in at least half of the USA’s qualifiers (Altidore, DaMarcus Beasley, Carlos Bocanegra, Bradley, Dempsey, Donovan, Howard and Onyewu).
• The U.S. squad carries a variety of World Cup experience into South Africa, as 15 players have been named to their first World Cup roster. Meantime, six players had played in a World Cup game prior to South Africa. Cherundolo, Donovan, and Beasley have earned a place in their third World Cup.
• Sixteen players on the roster have scored at least one international goal, and seven have scored in 2010: Altidore, Bocanegra, Buddle, Dempsey, Maurice Edu, Herculez Gomez, and Clarence Goodson.
• Buddle became the most recent debutante on a U.S. scoresheet, netting a pair in the USA’s 3-1 win against Australia on June 5 in Roodepoort. He is the first player to score his first two goals in the same game since Sacha Kljestan posted a hat trick on Jan. 20, 2008, against Sweden.
• Donovan’s assist against Australia increased his record-setting total to 45 for his career.
• Howard finished the 2010 qualifying cycle with six clean sheets in 13 appearances and a 0.92 goals against average.
• Howard hit his silver anniversary in caps after starting on May 29 against Turkey, completing his first 50 caps with 30 victories and 19 shutouts. José Torres also hit a milestone, reaching double-digit caps in perhaps his finest performance for the national team.
• By earning 45 minutes against Australia, Marcus Hahnemann made his first appearance for the U.S. since Oct. 17, 2007, a 1-0 win in Switzerland. Hahnemann holds the record for the longest layoff between caps for the United States, with an eight-year, five-month, 28-day break between games from Nov. 19, 1994 to June 8, 2003.
• With their goals on May 25 against the Czech Republic, Edu and Gomez became the first pair of U.S. players to get their first goal in the same game since Holden and Robbie Rogers tallied in the 4-1 win against Grenada on July 4, 2009, to open the 2009 Gold Cup.
• Gomez made the World Cup team after appearing in just two matches before coming on at halftime against the Czech Republic to earn his third cap.
• Five of the seven defenders on the roster have at least one goal for the national team: Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein, Cherundolo, Goodson, and Onyewu. Three of those tallied in 2009, and all of them memorable. Bocanegra’s game-winning header against Honduras in Chicago; Goodson performing the same feat against the same team in the same stadium in the Gold Cup; and Bornstein capping off qualifying with a last-second header against Costa Rica.
• With his goal against the Netherlands on March 3 in Amsterdam, Bocanegra upped his career tally to 12, just one shy of the mark set by Marcelo Balboa for U.S. defenders.
• Only two players on the U.S. World Cup team made their first U.S. appearance for Bradley within the last year. Holden debuted on July 4, 2009, with an Independence Day goal in the Gold Cup, and Buddle in the match against the Czechs.


ROSTER BREAKDOWN
Average Age: 26.9                           Average Caps: 34.2
Most Caps: 125 (Landon Donovan)    Fewest Caps: 4 (Edson Buddle)
Oldest: 37 (Marcus Hahnemann)       Youngest: 20 (Jozy Altidore)

Play professionally in: England (7), USA (4), Germany (3), Mexico (2), Scotland (2), Denmark (1), France (1), Italy (1), Norway (1), Spain (1)

Hometown in: California (7), Texas (3), Illinois (2), Arizona (1), Florida (1), Georgia (1), Indiana (1), Maryland (1), Nevada (1), New Jersey (1), New York (1), Virginia (1), Washington (1), Wisconsin (1)

USA IN THE WORLD CUP: The U.S. is competing in their ninth World Cup finals tournament since participating in the inaugural event in 1930 where they finished as semifinalists, defeating Belgium in their first match. Some other facts:

Matches played: 27
Record: 6-16-5
GF/GA: 30/54
Best finish: Semifinals (1930)
Highest margin in win: 3-0 (vs.Belgium, Paraguay in 1930)
Biggest defeat: 1-7 (vs. Italy in 1934)
Most matches, player: 11 (Earnie Stewart, Cobi Jones)
Most goals, career: 4 (Bert Patenaude)

USA’s MARKS ON WORLD CUP HISTORY:

• The United States are only the fifth team in World Cup history to come back from down two goals at half time to draw a match.
• The first hat trick in World Cup history was recorded by Bert Patenaude, who scored three times in the
3-0 victory against Paraguay on July 17, 1930.
• Brad Friedel is only one of two goalkeepers – joining Poland’s Jan Tomaszewski – to save two penalties in one tournament.
• The U.S. are the only CONCACAF team to reach the semifinals of the tournament, achieving that feat in the 1930 event before losing to Argentina.

2010 FIFA WORLD CUP STANDINGS & RESULTS
Group C

Group C Standings

Team GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
SVN 2 1 0 1 3 2 +1 4
USA 2 0 0 2 3 3 0 2
ENG 2 0 0 2 1 1 0 2
ALG 2 0 1 1 0 1 -1 1


June 12                     Venue                     Goal Scorer(s)
England 1, USA 1       Rustenburg         Gerrard (ENG) 4, Dempsey (USA) 40

June 13
Algeria 0, Slovenia 1   Polokwane               Koren (SVN) 79

June 18
Slovenia 2, USA 2       Johannesburg     Birsa (SVN) 13, Ljubijankic (SVN) 42, 
                                                               Donovan (USA) 48, Bradley (USA) 82
England 0, Algeria 0      Capetown

June 23
USA v. Algeria Tshawne/Pretoria
Slovenia v. England Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth

KEEPING TRACK OF ENGLAND-SLOVENIA: Since the 1986 tournament, FIFA rules have required that the third games in each group be played simultaneously so that no team can gain an advantage before kickoff by knowing what result may be required in order for them to advance. As a result, teams must follow the other group match carefully. FIFA does not allow the use of electronic communication between the technical area and anywhere outside, so the coaching staff must devise means of getting in-game updates.

MOTM: In both of their first two matches, players from the United States have been awarded the Budweiser Man of the Match award as voted on by fans around the world. In the 1-1 draw against England, goalkeeper Tim Howard took home the trophy after his six-save performance. For the comeback against Slovenia, the honor went to Landon Donovan after his 48th minute goal ignited the U.S. comeback.

CLUB MATES: There are three pairs of club teammates who will be on opposite sides in Pretoria tomorrow. Michael Bradley and Karim Matmour are midfield mates at Borussia Moenchengladbach, while Damarcus Beasley, Mo Edu and Madjid Bougherra lifted the trophy together at Rangers in Scotland. Lastly, goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann and Adlane Guedioura share the training pitch at Wolverhampton.

REFEREE FRANK DE BLEECKERE: The referee for USA-Algeria match is Frank De Bleeckere. The Belgian already has one game under his belt in South Africa, centering for Argentina’s 4-0 victory against Korea Republic. The 43-year-old speaks four languages – Dutch, French, English and German. A veteran of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, he has called three tournament finals in his career including two youth World Cups and the 2009 UEFA Super Cup. De Bleeckere served as the referee for the USA’s 1-0 victory against Switzerland on Oct. 17, 2007, in Basel. The U.S. lineup that day in which Michael Bradley scored the game-winner:

24-Marcus Hahnemann (18-Brad Guzan, 46); 6-Steve Cherundolo, 22-Oguchi Onyewu (2-Dan Califf, 46), 3-Carlos Bocanegra (Capt.), 7-Eddie Lewis (9-Danny Szetela, 84); 5-Benny Feilhaber, 13-Maurice Edu, 4-Michael Bradley,17-DaMarcus Beasley (11-Heath Pearce, 31); 20-Taylor Twellman (25-Freddy Adu, 77), 8-Clint Dempsey (29-Robbie Findley, 90)

AFTER TWO TIES: The United States has played 102 matches since collecting consecutive draws, dating all the way back to 2004 and a pair of 1-1 ties against Poland on July 11, 2004, in Chicago and a matching scoreline in the opening game of semifinal round qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup against Jamaica on Aug. 18 in Kingston. Carlos Bocanegra tallied against Poland, while Brian Ching earned the equalizer against the Reggae Boyz. If you’re wondering, the result in the following game was a 2-0 victory against El Salvador in Foxboro, Mass., with Landon Donovan scoring the insurance goal.

DID YOU KNOW?
• Landon Donovan is the fifth most capped player in the tournament. Rigoberto Song (Cameroon) and Amado Guevara are tied for first with 137 caps.
• Marcus Hahnemann is the third-oldest player in the tournament. England’s David James at 39 years and 314 days is the elder statesman.
• At 217 pounds, Hahnemann is listed as the heaviest player in the tournament.
• Steve Cherundolo and José Torres are tied with six others as the fourth shortest in the tournament.
• Three of the USA’s six all-time victories in the World Cup have come against teams from Europe (Belgium 1930, England 1950, Portugal 2002).

SOUTH AFRICAN EXPERIENCE: Fifteen players on the U.S. roster had played at least one match on South African soil prior to the tournament, having played in the 2007 Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup and the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, several putting their name on the scoresheet. The U.S. faced South Africa on Nov. 17, 2007 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, winning the Cup after a 1-0 victory on the strength of Steve Cherundolo’s second career international goal. That matched also marked the debut of Jozy Altidore for the full team. During the Confederations Cup, Clint Dempsey netted in three consecutive matches, including one against then No. 1-ranked Spain in the semis and the first goal in the final against Brazil. Landon Donovan collected a pair himself, finishing off a beautiful counter against the Brazilians to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead. Michael Bradley also tallied against Egypt, and Altidore scored the game-winner against Spain.

UBUNTU: The U.S. team has adopted the African concept of Ubuntu as their motto for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Ubuntu refers to the interconnectedness of all human beings, that we are all part of a greater community and that we cannot succeed without the help of others, and they cannot succeed without us. Loosely translated, the word Ubuntu means ‘I am because you are.’ Only together can we prosper. This is the essence of what it means to be a team. U.S. Soccer has produced team pins and coins that the players will distribute throughout the tournament symbolizing the spirit of this idea.

DONOVAN, BEASLEY THE MOST VETERAN OF VETERANS… : A pair of 28-year-olds top the experience leader board in camp as fellow U-17 Residency founding fathers Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley are the highest cap-winners present. Donovan holds 125 caps and a record-setting 42 goals and 45 assists, contributing to 12 of the USA’s 19 goals in the final round of World Cup qualifying. Beasley earned his 92nd cap against Australia and is the next active player in line to earn his 100th cap. If he does, he would join an elite group of just 11 men to play 100 times for the United States.

… WHILE BUDDLE AND GOMEZ ARE HAPPY TO BE BACK: Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez are the newcomers to the group, holding just four and five caps, respectively. Their recent goal-scoring form in Major League Soccer and the Mexican First Division certainly played major roles in their selections to the World Cup Team. On a tear for the Los Angeles Galaxy with nine goals in nine games, Buddle made his previous only appearance for the U.S. in 2003, playing the final 11 minutes on March 29 against Venezuela. Meantime south of the border, Gomez struck for 10 goals for Puebla to become the first U.S. player to lead a foreign league in scoring. Gomez has played five times for the U.S., twice in the 2007 Copa America tournament and of course when he came off the bench to score goasl against the Czech Republic and Australia.

PREPPING IN PRETORIA: The U.S. team is training on familiar ground in Pretoria, utilizing the same Pilditch Stadium ground they occupied during the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. About a 25-minute ride from the team hotel, the facility is normally used primarily for athletics. The groundskeepers have done a fantastic job getting the pitch in great condition for the rigors of daily use.

GETTING THE CALL: With the roster having been scheduled to be announced May 26 live on ESPN, there was a quick turnaround to make final decisions following the game against Czech Republic which ended around 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 25. The coaches met for nearly two hours after arriving back at the team hotel, and players were asked to remain available. In what would clearly be the longest couple of hours of their careers, the players chosen for the roster were called to a team meeting at 2 a.m. when they received the official news of their selection for the World Cup roster.

QUITE THE TOUR: The team experienced one of the most memorable 24 hours in national team history between May 26-27, and the MNT blog was right there to record the action. First, the newly minted 2010 U.S. World Cup team traveled to the campus of ESPN for their official unveiling live on the daytime edition of SportsCenter, then jetted to the airport for a charter flight to Washington, D.C. After a private team dinner at the Newseum, the group got geared up for an official visit to the White House. Greeted by President Barack Obama, Vice President Biden, and President Bill Clinton, the team took photos before being led on an impromptu tour of the West Wing that included a stroll through the Rose Garden, a look in the Oval Office, a gathering in the Roosevelt Room, and finally a sit-down in the office of the Vice President. Link: http://www.ussoccer.com/Social/MNT-Blog.aspx

PRINCETON PREP: The U.S. team spent the first week of camp training at Princeton University in New Jersey where U.S. head coach Bob Bradley ran the team through an excellent week that focused mostly on fitness. There was one day of inclement weather, but otherwise the U.S. camp was extremely smooth and productive as several players worked through their final stages of rehabilitation to overcome injuries.

CHAMPIONS AGAIN: The U.S. Men's National Team finished atop the FIFA World Cup qualifying Final Round standings in CONCACAF for the second consecutive cycle, besting Mexico by one point. Jonathan Bornstein's stoppage-time goal with only seconds remaining leveled the score in the final qualifying match with Costa Rica on Oct. 14 in Washington, D.C., the 2-2 draw giving the USA the vital point it needed. The result at RFK Stadium, coupled with Mexico's draw by the same score with Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain, kept the U.S. first with El Tri second. The late drama in the nation's capital served to shake up third and fourth spot in the standings as well, with Honduras the beneficiary. Los Catrachos won on the road in El Salvador (the first time in the final round the visitors won in San Salvador) and leapfrogged Costa Rica to claim the third and final automatic berth to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.



Team GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
United States* 10 6 2 2 19 12 7 20
Mexico* 10 6 3 1 17 11 6 19
Honduras* 10 5 4 1 17 11 6 16
Costa Rica 10 5 4 1 15 15 0 16
El Salvador 10 2 6 2 10 16 -6 8
Trinidad & Tobago 10 1 6 3 10 22 -12 6


* qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup

GOLDEN BOOT WINNERS IN QUALIFYING: The U.S. scored more goals than any other nation in the world in 2010 World Cup qualifying, bagging 42 goals in 18 games.

ON TO THE NEXT CHAPTER: Since January of 2007 it has been the charge of U.S. head coach Bob Bradley to achieve the most important goal of any soccer playing nation: qualification for the FIFA World Cup. With 61 games under his belt, seeing 92 different players at least once and the process of reaching South Africa in 2010 complete, a review of the body of work during the past nearly-three years points to the U.S. clearly heading in the right direction. Bradley’s 31 victories in 50 games outdistanced his predecessor Bruce Arena, who had collected 25 victories at that point in his tenure. Since the start of the four-year cycle, the U.S. has:

• Produced the best finish ever at a FIFA tournament, finishing second at the FIFA Confederations Cup.
• Finished in first place in CONCACAF qualifying, collecting the most road wins of any team in the region during the campaign while going unbeaten at home in nine matches.
• Won six straight FIFA World Cup qualifiers in a row in 2008, a new team record (June 15-Oct. 15).
• Won the CONCACAF Gold Cup title in 2007 to qualify for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.
• Won by the largest margin of victory in U.S. World Cup qualifying history (8-0 vs. Barbados on June 15, 2008).
• Won three straight matches on the road for the first time in team history (Oct. 17, 2007 @ Switzerland, Nov. 17, 2007 @ South Africa and March 26, 2008 @ Poland).
• Played seven matches against four teams ranked in the top five in the world at the time they stepped on the field against them (Argentina, Brazil-3, Italy, Spain-2).
• Played matches on four continents.
• Posted 1-1-1 record against No. 1-ranked teams, including a semifinal upset of Spain at the FIFA Confederations Cup.

THE BRADLEY BREAKDOWN
Record
All-Time: 37-19-8
Qualifying: 13-3-2
Gold Cup: 10-1-1
Goals For: 118
Goals Against: 78
Shutouts: 24

Record vs. …
CONCACAF: 25-5-5, 74 GF, 33 GA
CONMEBOL: 1-6-1, 9 GF, 19 GA
UEFA: 7-8-2, 24 GF, 24 GA
AFC: 2-0-0, 7 GF, 2 GA
CAF: 2-0-0, 4 GF, 0 GA

Record when …
Leading at half: 21-3-2
Losing at half: 3-7-3
Tied at half: 12-9-3

By year …
2007: 12-5-1
2008: 9-3-2
2009: 13-8-3
2010: 3-3-2

ELITE GROUP: Here is a look at the 32 teams from around the world who are in South Africa and the confederations they came from:

Host Country: South Africa
AFC – Asia (43 teams, 4.5 berths): Australia, Japan, Korea DPR, Korea Republic
CAF – Africa (53 teams, 5 berths): Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria
CONCACAF – North America, Central America, Caribbean (35 teams, 3.5 berths): Honduras, Mexico, USA
CONMEBOL – South America (10 teams, 4.5 berths): Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay
OFC (10 teams, .5 berths) – New Zealand
UEFA – Europe (53 teams, 13 berths): Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland

Of these teams, only the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain and Korea Republic have participated in all six World Cups since 1990.


FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: Keep up with all U.S. Men’s National Team news (in short form, of course) by following at www.twitter.com/ussoccer.

SPECIAL OLYMPICS UNITY CUP: The members of the U.S. Men's National Team are not the only athletes representing their country in South Africa this summer as American Matthew Millett is set to participate in the inaugural Special Olympics Unity Cup in Cape Town. Millett, along with 15 other Special Olympics athletes from around the world, will play in a match on July 3 alongside soccer legends and celebrities in Cape Town's fabulous Green Point stadium, site of a quarterfinal match for the 2010 FIA World Cup. Millett visited the team before leaving for South Africa as he was getting ready to represent the USA and 3.5 million Special Olympics athletes worldwide. The Unity Cup will serve as a leading example of the power of Special Olympics Unified Sports, with the goal of the match to support the mission of inclusion and acceptance for people with intellectual disabilities. To learn more about the Special Olympics Unity Cup please visit www.specialolympics.org/unitycup.

BE OFFICIAL WHEN YOU’RE WATCHING: What’s the next best thing to being at a game surrounded by your fellow screaming fans? Watching a game at an Official U.S. Soccer Bar surrounded by your fellow screaming fans! Bars across the U.S. are becoming the destination spots to gather and watch your U.S. teams in an atmosphere that is loud and rowdy. Take the morning off and enjoy breakfast on the town with other U.S. fans and watch the U.S. take on Algeria Wednesday morning! A full list of Official U.S. Soccer Bars is available at ussoccer.com.

U.S. SOCCER ON FACEBOOK: U.S. Soccer is offering a new way to follow its teams with the “Official U.S. Soccer Page” on Facebook. Visit the page to post videos, interact with other fans and follow the latest news from all U.S. Soccer teams. The Official U.S. Soccer Page on Facebook is the best place to keep with your favorite teams and make your voice heard in the U.S. Soccer community.

QUEST TO TOP THE GOAL! LEADERBOARD: Show your support for the USA in our quest to top the Popularity chart on the Facebook Goal! Leaderboard. U.S. Soccer is asking all fans to post the link on your wall and share with your friends to help raise the U.S. flag to the top of the leader board. Show your passion as the Men's National Team heads to South Africa! http://www.facebook.com/Sports

THE GAME IS IN US: Support for United States' bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022 has picked up some serious steam since the launch of http://gousabid.com. Twelve other nations are bidding to host at least one of the tournaments and if we're going to win the honor of hosting the FIFA World Cupâ„¢, it'll be because of the overwhelming grassroots support of soccer fans who believe in our bid's official theme, The Game Is In US. Please take a moment to sign the petition to officially show your support for the US bid to bring the World Cupâ„¢ back to America.

IN FOCUS: ALGERIA
ALGERIA FACT FILE
Fédération Algérienne de Football
Founded: 1962 (Joined FIFA in 1964)
Head Coach: Rabah Saadane
Current FIFA Ranking: 30
Best World Cup Finish: Group Stage (1982, 1986)
Best African Cup of Nations Finish: Champions (1990)
Caps Leader: Mahieddine Meftah (104)
Top Scorer: Abdelhafid Tasfaout (36)
Key Players: Madjid Bougherra, Nadir Belhadj, Yazid Mansouri

DESERT FOXES RETURN TO WORLD CUP: Algeria ends a 24-year absence from the World Cup with their third appearance in the tournament finals, their previous trips coming in 1982 and 1986. Looking to advance out of the group phase for the first time, Les Fennecs (Desert Foxes) made history in 1982 by defeating West Germany and Chile before losing their final group match to Austria. Four years later, led by current coach Rabah Saadane, they drew 1-1 with Northern Ireland before losing 1-0 to Brazil and 3-0 to Spain.

REMARKABLE ROAD TO SOUTH AFRICA: Algeria’s qualification campaign had all the drama of a Hollywood film, coming down to a one-off playoff against fierce rivals Egypt on neutral territory in a winner take all scenario. While winning all six of their home games in the second and third qualifying rounds in Africa, they went 1-3-2 on the road which ultimately found them level with Egypt in all tie-breaking categories, thus forcing the playoff. On Nov. 18 in Khartoum, Sudan, a goal by Antar Yahia proved the difference for Algeria, sending the Desert Foxes into delirium and making their plans to return to the world’s biggest football stage.

MIDFIELD MARKS THE SPOT: Known for their tenacious defense and ability to strike with speed and precision, Algeria’s strength starts in the midfield with team captain Yazid Mansouri doing a lot of the distribution while Karim Ziani and Mourad Meghni press into the attack. They have experience at the back with Yahia Madjid Bougherra and Nadir Belhadj. Much like the U.S., the vast majority of their squad ply their trade in Europe, many making a big impression at their clubs.

RABAH RETURN: Rabah Saadane, nicknamed ‘Cheik’ (the Elder, the Wise or the Master), is taking his second run at leading Algeria in a World Cup. In 1982, he was part of the coaching staff in Spain, and four years later he held the reigns himself. He took up the post again for a short while in 1999, then from 2003 to 2004 and began his current stint in 2007. In the club game, the veteran manager notably lifted the CAF Champions League with Raja Casablanca in 1989 and the Arab Champions League title with ES Setif in 2007.


LAST TIME…
On the field for USA
June 18, 2010 – Ellis Park – Johannesburg, South Africa – 2010 FIFA World Cup
Slovenia 2           Valter Birsa 13, Zlatan Ljubijankic 42
USA 2                  Landon Donovan 48, Michael Bradley 82

SVN: 1-Samir Handanovic; 2-Miso Brecko, 4-Marko Suler, 5-Bostjan Cesar, 13-Bojan Jokic; 8-Robert Koren (capt.), 9-Zlatan Ljubijankic (7-Nejc Pecnik, 74; 20-Andrej Komac, 90+4), 10-Valter Birsa (14-Zlatko Dedic, 87), 17-Andraz Kirm, 18-Aleksandar Radosavljevic; 11-Milivoje Novakovic
Subs not used: 12-Jasmin Handanovic, 16-Aleksander Seliga; 3-Elvedin Dzinic, 6-Branko Ilic, 15-Rene Krhin, 19-Suad Filekovic, 21-Dalibor Stevanovic, 22-Matej Mavric, 23-Tim Matavz
Head Coach: Matjaz Kek


USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-Steve Cherundolo, 15-Jay DeMerit, 5-Oguchi Onyewu (9-Herculez Gomez, 80), 3-Carlos Bocanegra; 8-Clint Dempsey, 4-Michael Bradley, 16-Jose Torres (19-Maurice Edu, 46), 10-Landon Donovan; 20-Robbie Findley (22-Benny Feilhaber, 46), 17-Jozy Altidore
Subs not used: 6-Jonathan Spector, 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 11-Stuart Holden, 12-Jonathan Bornstein, 13 -Ricardo Clark, 14-Edson Buddle, 18-Brad Guzan, 21-Clarence Goodson, 23-Marcus Hahnemann
Head Coach: Bob Bradley


On the field for Algeria
June 18, 2010 – Ellis Park – Johannesburg, South Africa – 2010 FIFA World Cup
England    0
Algeria     0

ENG: 1-David James; 2-Glen Johnson, 18-Jamie Carragher, 6-John Terry, 3-Ashley Cole; 7-Aaron Lennon (17-Shaun Wright-Phillips, 63), 8-Frank Lampard, 14-Gareth Barry (9-Peter Crouch, 84), 4-Steven Gerrard (capt.); 10-Wayne Rooney, 21-Emile Heskey (19-Jermain Defoe, 74)
Subs not used: 5-Michael Dawson, 11-Joe Cole, 12-Robert Green, 13-Stephen Warnock, 15-Matthew Upson, 16-James Milner, 20-Ledley King, 22-Michael Carrick, 23-Joe Hart
Head Coach:Fabio Capello


ALG: 23-Raïs M'Bohli; 2-Madjid Bougherra, 3-Nadir Belhadj, 4-Antar Yahia; 21-Foued Kadir, 19-Hassan Yebda (20-Djamel Mesbah, 89), 8-Mehdi Lacen, 10-Rafik Halliche; 7-Ryad Boudebouz (22-Djamel Abdoun, 74), 15-Karim Ziani (17-Adlène Guedioura, 81), 13-Karim Matmour
Subs not used: 1-Lounes Gaouaoui, 5-Rafik Djebbour, 6-Yazid Mansouri, 9-Abdelkader Ghezzal, 11-Rafik Djebbour, 12-Habib Bellaid, 14-Abdelkader Laifaoui, 16-Faouzi Chaouchi, 18-Carl Medjani,
Head Coach: Rabah Saadane

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