US football squad arrive in SA

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pretoria - An enthusiastic United States football squad touched down at OR Tambo last night for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, with high hopes of making the gains they made in this country last year, when they reached the finals of the Confederations Cup.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee welcomed the team, which will not be short of excited supporters at their matches.

Among the foreign based teams, the US will boast the largest number of supporters in South Africa, with over 136 000 tickets having been sold to US fans after the last ticket sales phase.

The US won the hearts of many South Africans when they made it to the final of the FIFA Confederations Cup last year, losing however to Brazil in a bruising final at Ellis Park stadium.

"Obviously for us it's different to other teams. We have been here before and we have played in these conditions. The players know what to expect. It's good to be back in South Africa again," said US coach Bob Bradley in a FIFA statement. .

While admitting his team has been drawn in a tough group that includes England, Bradley said the Americans were ready to surprise many as they did during the Confederation Cup. "We respect everyone in our group, we have some good teams. It's going to be a tough group, but we have to be ready," he said.

The US reached the World Cup by qualifying in first place in the final six-team Hexagonal phase of North, Central America and Caribbean Zone qualifying.

Under the careful guidance of Bradley, they will be keen to finish what they started during the Confederation Cup.

The team will open their 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign against England in Rustenburg on 12 June and then travel to Johannesburg's Ellis Park Stadium to face Slovenia on 18 June. Their final Group Match will be against Algeria at Loftus Stadium on 23 June.

Bradley said his team will be using the next few days to adapt to weather conditions before their first World Cup installment on the African soil next week Saturday.

"We have enough time between now and 12 June to acclimatise. I think it's going to be a great World Cup," he said.