Bruce Arena Not Worried Ahead of Tomorrow's World Cup Draw
LEIPZIG Germany (AP) - United States coach Bruce Arena is not concerned about his team’s opponents in the first round of the World Cup.
"I haven’t spent two minutes worried about it Arena said Thursday. "I haven’t examined the field because it’s a waste of time."
The Americans missed out on being one of the eight seeded teams for Friday’s draw which will divide the field into eight four-nation groups. Chances are high that they will be drawn against a team that’s won the world’s tournament — either host Germany defending champion Brazil Argentina England Italy or France.
The other two seeded teams are Mexico and Spain but the United States can’t play the Mexicans in the first round because they are from the same soccer confederation.
Five of the seven possible opponents are European and the eighth-ranked Americans are 1-7-2 under Arena in games played in Europe.
"Who cares? It doesn’t mean anything Arena said. "We lost to some good teams in Europe. I don’t think the ’in Europe’ is an issue. It’s still neutral (ground) regardless with the exception of Germany."
Playing the host in the first round is something Arena would definitely like to avoid.
His team faced co-host South Korea in the group phase at the last World Cup three years ago and managed to get a tie despite the intense local media scrutiny and huge home crowd support.
The Americans then advanced and went to the quarterfinals where they lost to Germany 1-0 and Arena is hoping that good showing will help the team next year.
"It’s a plus to have a little bit of history of success he said. "Our goal will still be to get out of group play."
When Arena does learn the three opponents he’ll start preparing for the Americans’ opener.
"The roster is not impacted by who we’re playing Arena said. "More important is when we play our first game. I’m hopeful we start later. Gives you a little more time to prepare."
Arena said the focus will be on the team they face in the first match while some scouting will be done on the team they face second.
For the team’s third game Arena thinks the opponent’s performance in its first two games will be enough.
"They show us their personality and what they’re about by game three Arena said.
Before the tournament the Americans will have some warmup matches including an exhibition at Germany on March 22.
After some exhibitions in the days before the team flies to Germany Arena will set up training in Hamburg. He picked that city over Munich and Berlin.
"Hamburg was the kind of hotel we want and the kind of atmosphere we want for the team Arena said.
He’ll know soon enough if it helped the team improve.