Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
The 2014 World Cup has yet to be played, but the U.S. Men’s National Team has already begun to line up opponents for after this summer’s showcase competition.T
The U.S. Men’s National Team will face the Czech Republic in a friendly match on Wednesday, Sept. 3 in Prague, U.S. Soccer announced on Monday evening. The time and venue of the match have yet to be determined.
“While we are focused on preparing for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we must always look ahead and therefore we are thrilled to get this match against the Czech Republic,” U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in a statement. “Historically, they have a very good team, and they are going to be preparing for a huge challenge against the Netherlands in their opening game of qualifying for the European Championships, so we expect this to be a tough match and another good benchmark for our team.”
The match will be the first meeting between these two nations since May 25, 2010, in a pre-World Cup friendly match in East Hartford, Conn. The USMNT lost that game, 4-2, with goals scored by Maurice Edu and Herculez Gomez. It will also be the first game for the USMNT in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic is currently ranked No. 30 in FIFA’s World Rankings. They did not qualify for the 2014 World Cup, finishing third in their World Cup qualifying group behind Denmark in second and Italy in first place. Their squad currently features Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, Fenerbahce defender Michal Kadlac, and Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky.
The Czech’s are currently scheduled to face the Netherlands on September 9 and Czech Republic head coach Pavel Vrba said he was looking for a similar opponent for his team to face beforehand.
“The United States has regularly qualified for the World Cup from CONCACAF,” Vrba told the Czech Republic FA’s website. “Pro soccer there for the last twenty years has done perhaps more than in all of Europe. It’s interesting team for our fans, who will see where the U.S. team is headed. And for us, it will also be interesting confrontation. It’s an attacking opponent who wants to play forward. We expect them maybe to be a little similar to the style we will see with our next opponent, the Netherlands.
The 2006 World Cup was the only World Cup that the Czech Republic have qualified for since becoming an independent nation and having their membership accepted by FIFA in 1994. They have however qualified for every European Cup in that same time span, finishing as runners-up in 1996 and a semi-final place in 2004.
The Czech Republic play their home matches at a number of stadiums, but the most used is the nearly 20,000-seat Generali Arena in Prague.
After numerous complaints from club managers around the world, FIFA removed the August and February international friendly dates from the FIFA calendar. FIFA have designated September 1-9, Oct. 6-14, and Nov. 10-18 as dates for “official or friendly matches.”
What do you think of this report? Do you like the USMNT’s chances? Think they can learn a few things in a road match against the Czech Republic?
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