Saturday, June 13, 2009

MNT Quotesheet

U.S. Men's National Team players speak to following a training session at Pilditch Stadium in Pretoria ahead of their 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup opener against Italy. The game from Loftus Versfeld will be broadcast live on EPSN and Telefutura beginning at 2:55 p.m. ET on June 15. Fans can follow along with's MatchTracker and at's Twitter page.


On preparations so far:
“Most of the guys are adjusted and settling in. We're comfortable with our surroundings, the training facility and our hotel. We have our sleep schedule right, and now it's all about getting ready for the games.”

On moving towards the final preparations for the game against Italy:
“Now it's game time. The concentration levels need to go up and there is a lot of excitement leading up to the game. It's finally arrived and that's a lot different from training. We've been preparing for this tournament and now it's finally here.”

On the USA's Group B opponents, Italy:
“Italy is going to be favored and we're a little bit of the underdog. The pressure will be on them and we want to go out there and show that we can play with them and get a good result. We want to get through this group and compete with these good teams.”

On the opportunity the USA has in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup:
“Anytime you get a chance to play Italy or another top team like the ones will be facing is great. This is how you challenge yourself, and it’s what you measure yourself against. These are the best teams in the world and we want to see how we rate against them. It's a good challenge for our team.”

On the USA's goals for this tournament:
“Ultimately we're building towards the World Cup. But winning the Gold Cup a couple years back has given us the opportunity to come down here and test ourselves against the best. We'll get a practice run for the World Cup and for that reason it's an important tournament for us. We want to have good results and a good showing.”

U.S. goalkeeper TIM HOWARD

On getting ready for Monday's tournament opener against Italy:

“Preparations have been going well. We've started to get more and more sleep, and training sessions have gotten increasingly harder. Friday's training session was very, very good. It was intense and I think we're moving in the right direction to be ready for Monday's game."

On how the next few days will be different from the first three days of training in South Africa:

“I think we'll start focusing on how to prepare for the game, how we're going to set ourselves up and how we're going to get after them. We'll have to look at what they'll try to do to us. The next few days will be more focused on the game [against Italy] where as these past three sessions have been about training, getting our legs back and working hard."

On his memories of the 2003 Confederations Cup:

"I have fond memories of the Confederations Cup. We had another very hard group and I remember the tournament being important at that stage of my development [as a player]. I enjoyed it because it was a big occasion. It was in France, the stadiums were packed and it was the highest level of competition possible. Anytime you can do that you take a lot out of it, and I certainly did.”

On Group B and the goals for the USA:

“Any Confederations Cup group is going to be very difficult; it's the tournament of champions, really. We have our work cut out for us. We didn't get out of our group last time and obviously that's the goal. Once you're out of your group you're within touching distance of getting to the final. So the goal is to advance, but it is one step at a time. We have three difficult games and we're going to certainly have to focus on Italy and not look too far forward.”


On the first few days of preparations:

“Anytime you travel for that long it takes a day or two to start to feel like yourself again. It takes a few days to get your legs back, get on the right sleeping pattern and, on top of it, you deal with a little bit of altitude here. The first day or two was about getting our legs underneath us, and now I think everybody starts to feel good as we start to get closer to the game.”

On the final few days before Monday's game against Italy:

“The hard work is done. Now the next day or two we look a little bit closer at Italy and we start to work on some tactics within our team. We will fine tune a few things as we get ready for Monday night.”

On the time spent together as a team:

“Everybody is happy to be here and we all enjoy each others company. We don't leave the hotel too much and it's a good chance for all the guys on the team to spend time with each other. The relationships you build off the field can help on the field as well.”

On beginning the Confederations Cup:

“It's exciting. It's a big tournament. We're in a difficult group and we get everything going with the first game against Italy, the World Champions. We're all looking forward to it and I know that we'll be ready to go.”

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