U.S. national men's team coach Bruce Arena watched every minute and every kick of the victory the U.S. women's team enjoyed over China. But not once did he figure it would add any pressure on him or his team as they prepare for the upcoming Confederation Cup.
"I congratulate them for winning, but don't feel any more pressure at all for us to win a world championship," Arena said. "I don't anticipate us winning one, not with the talented teams of the world like Brazil and Mexico, but see us doing well."
The U.S. team will join some of the world's best teams for the July 24-Aug. 4 competition in Mexico. "We need to name a 20-man roster by Wednesday," Arena said, "and I will make that decision."
"In order to be successful in Mexico, we must take a healthy team, an experienced team and one that has depth at every position," Arena said. "We play three matches in seven days and possibly four matches in nine days, so I feel every player will have to contribute."
In its final tuneup before the Confederation Cup, the U.S. beat Derby County of the English Premier League, 2-1, in an exhibition match yesterday at Mile High Stadium in Denver. D.C. United's Ben Olsen scored the game-winning goal, heading home a cross on a pass from San Jose Clash midfielder Eddie Lewis.
Among those on the roster for the match against Derby County were Claudio Reyna, Joe-Max Moore and Jeff Agoos. Olsen and Joey DiGiamarino came from the under-23 national team. Goalkeeper Kasey Keller, midfielders Chris Armas, Jovan Kirovski and Lewis and forward Cobi Jones were essential in a win over Argentina at RFK Stadium on June 13.
COPA AMERICA: Chile blew two penalty kicks, one in regulation and another in the tiebreaker, and Uruguay qualified for the final of the Copa America soccer tournament in the penalty-kick shootout after a 1-1 tie in Asuncion, Paraguay.
Playing with the assurance of a veteran, Uruguay's 20-year-old goalie, Fabian Cabrini, dived to his left to knock away the kick by Mauricio Aros in the shootout. Chile didn't miss again, but Uruguay didn't miss at all.
The victory was virtually a repeat of Uruguay's defeat of Paraguay in the quarterfinals, when Carini also made a big save in the tiebreaker.
Uruguay, which brought a junior team to the Copa America, faces the winner of the Brazil-Mexico matchup in the final. Again Uruguary will be the underdog, but its youngsters already have shown they can play with the best.