U.S. RETURNS TO TRAINING FIELD ON SATURDAY, KELLER GOES ENTIRE PRACTICE: After a day off on Friday, the U.S. Men’s National Team returned to the practice field on Saturday morning. The team trained in the late morning, going for two hours in humid conditions at Misari Practice Stadium. Kasey Keller participated in the entire training session, and showed no ill effects from the left elbow contusion that kept him out of Thursday’s training. The Tottenham goalkeeper was at his shot-stopping best, and was tested often at the end of training by Josh Wolff, Brian McBride, Landon Donovan and Clint Mathis. The majority of the training session was spent in a large 9 v 9 shortened field match, with flank players playing under certain restrictions. Frankie Hejduk and DaMarcus Beasley impressed in the exercise. Practice concluded with the players given nearly half an hour to work on their own.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TONY: Tony Sanneh celebrated his 31st birthday today. Sanneh, who was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, has earned 32 caps and scored two goals for the Men’s National Team.
PORTUGAL INJURY PROBLEMS: With their World Cup opener against the U.S. rapidly approaching, Portugal has been hit by a minor case of the injury bug. Defender Abel Xavier will likely miss the team’s opening match against the U.S. due to a thigh injury, which he suffered in training on Wednesday. Midfielder Paulo Sousa is listed as doubtful, despite playing 40 minutes in their last friendly.
WORLD CUP ODDS & ENDS: Mexican National Team player Jesus Arellano had his two-game suspension reduced to one match. Arellano will miss the Croatia – Mexico match on June 3 in Ibaraki ... Argentina head coach Marcelo Bielsa named Gabriel Batistuta as a starter, reducing Hernan Crespo to a role off the bench for the opener against Nigeria in Ibaraki. Both have scored goals in bunches for Argentina. Batistuta is the leading World Cup scorer with nine goals across the last two World Cup tournaments, and has scored an amazing 55 goals in 75 internationals. Crespo paced the Argentines through qualifying, finishing as South America’s leading scorer with nine goals in qualifying ... Sweden winger Freddie Ljunberg limped out of practice today ahead of Sunday’s opener against England in Saitama.
SUNDAY PRACTICE OPEN FOR 15 MINUTES AT 10 a.m.; MEDIA AVAILABILITY SCHEDULED FOR 1:30 p.m.: The U.S. Men's National Team will be available to the media at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon (June 2) at the team hotel at the J.W. Marriott. U.S. head coach Bruce Arena and selected players will be available to the media at that time via a press conference and mixed-zone session. Training on Sunday at Misari Practice Stadium, located in the southeast corner of Seoul, will be open for 15 minutes beginning at approximately 10 a.m. Media interested in attending the first 15 minutes of training should arrive at the complex at 9:30 a.m. to be allowed admittance to the training facility. After 15 minutes media will be escorted from the facility. There will be no interview availability at the practice site. At all times, an up-to-date schedule of training sessions and media availability can be found in the media-only section of ussoccer.com.
FRANCE LOSS IS U.S. PLAYERS GAIN: U.S. players got to exact some playful revenge on USMNT Strength and Conditioning Coach Pierre Barrieu following France's 1-0 to Senegal in the opening match of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Barrieu, a native of Bordeaux, France, has been at the center of the USA's stringent fitness regimen for the last 30 days. Watching the match will several U.S. players in the team hotel, Barrieu was subjected to torment throughout the affair. He would later describe the day 'as one of the worst in my life.'
IRELAND-CAMEROON? URUGUAY-DENMARK? GERMANY-SAUDI ARABIA?: For complete information on these and every other match played during World Cup 2002, visit “World Cup Plus” at ussoccer.com.
WORLD CUP PLUS: For up-to-the-minute World Cup updates, feature stories, quotes and more, visit U.S. Soccer's "World Cup Plus" at ussoccer.com. With updates coming to you live from Korea, the site offers exclusive audio and photos from the team's training camp in Seoul. Today on "World Cup Plus" find:
-- Review of today’s three matches
-- Quote Sheet – Bruce Arena, Gregg Berhalter, Jeff Agoos, Claudio Reyna
-- June 2 Game Previews
-- Group-by-Group Breakdowns
-- This Day in History (June 1)
-- Exclusive photos from today's training session and audio clips from the team
-- Breaking Down the Cup with John Ellinger (a candid look at the World Cup)
T-MINUS: There are 4 days until the U.S. Men's National Team opens 2002 FIFA World Cup play against Portugal on June 5 in Suwon, which happens to correspond to the number of goals Bert Patenaude scored in the 1930 World Cup. Patendaude is the all-time leader in U.S. Soccer history with four World Cup goals. Only one other player has scored more than one goal in World Cup history (Gino Pariani, two in 1950).
THEY SAID IT: “You have to give credit to Senegal. They are not a bad team and they have a lot of great players. I was not shocked by the result perhaps the way the media was. If you look at their players, they all play in France and they were extremely motivated to play. All the teams that are not favored to go to the next round or are not favored to win against the big nations, it gives you a little bit of hope, or more hope, to maybe cause a big upset. That’s nice. It was good for the World Cup, maybe not for France, but for the World Cup, that Senegal won the first game, I think.”
Claudio Reyna, on Senegal upsetting France in the tournament’s opening game.