Friday, December 02, 2005

Japan and USA in pre-World Cup test

Japan will match up against the United States on 10 February in San Francisco with the game broadcast live throughout the USA on ESPN2.

“This will be a great opportunity for our domestic players to show what they can do against a team that is headed to the World Cup,” said US Manager Bruce Arena in goal.com.

“We believe Japan will field a number of first team players, so it will be a great game to evaluate players and continue to formulate the roster that we will take to Germany.”

UPDATE

Australia's assistant coach, Graham Arnold, has responded to claims by USA coach Bruce Arena that Australia will be one of the easybeats of next year's World Cup finals in Germany.

Arena did not rate the Socceroos in an interview with Sports Illustrated's website. "The last time around (the 2002 World Cup finals) the easy games were China and Saudi Arabia," Arena said. "This time around you'd probably say Australia and Trinidad and Tobago are the weak ones."

While Arnold said he would not have been surprised if the comments had come from some of the superpowers of the game, he told The Australian (7 Dec) that it was unfair for the Socceroos to be criticised by what he sarcastically called a "footballing giant like the Americans ... The last time I looked they hadn't won the World Cup."

Arnold said the more the Socceroos were looked down upon by likely opponents the better.

"If the other countries want to take us lightly then they do so at their own peril," he said. "But that sort of negativity will work to our advantage.

"Look what happened to Uruguay. When we beat them (last month) to qualify for the World Cup finals, I think we showed the world what we are capable of. Uruguay paid a severe price for their cockiness and, if the other countries react the same way, then it will suit us perfectly."

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