Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 9th 2014 Contents A64
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, June 9, 2014
SAO PAULO---The US headed
to Brazil with boosted confi-
dence yesterday after winning
all its warm-up games for the
Playing only its third match
in nine months against a World
Cup team, the US defense
appeared firmer in a 2-1 win
over Nigeria following the deci-
sion to start both Jermaine Jones
and Kyle Beckerman in midfield.
And Jozy Altidore broke a six-
month scoreless streak for club
and country with a pair of goals,
including a flashy effort when
he cut inside Super Eagles cap-
tain Joseph Yobo and slotted in
a right-footed shot from 12
"This game gives us confi-
dence, but the whole send-off
series should give us confi-
dence," defender Matt Besler
said Saturday night. "It's been
a grind but at the end of the
day, we accomplished every-
thing we set out to do, and that's
to get three wins. That's really
all that matters."
The Americans were sched-
uled to travel from Jacksonville,
Florida, to Miami yesterday,
then board a commercial flight
for the roughly nine-hour trip
to Sao Paulo, South America's
largest city. They will be based
at a downtown hotel and train
at Sao Paulo FC, where they
tested the facilities in January.
Logistically, it will be similar
to their downtown stays at Seoul
in 2002 and Hamburg, Ger-
many, in 2006. But after having
the shortest travel at the 2010
World Cup, where they travelled
by bus from their base in Irene,
South Africa, to games in
Rustenburg, Johannesburg and
Pretoria, the Americans have
the most distance to cover in
the first round---a 9,000-mile
odyssey to games in the north-
eastern cities of Natal and Recife
around a trip to the Amazon
rain forest capital of Manaus.
Their opener is June 16
against Ghana, a team similar
in style to African champion
"That's the reason why we
played this game, to kind of
hopefully see maybe some of
the things that Ghana will do,"
Altidore said. "Obviously, it
won't be the same. But we hope
we take the things that we did
well today to the Ghana game
and try to use that to our advan-
Going by FIFA rankings, the
Americans' Group G was the
most difficult to come out of
December's draw. But in the
June rankings issued last week,
it became the second-toughest
with Germany (No 2), Portugal
(No 4), the US (No 13) and
Ghana (No 37) adding to 56.
Group D was slightly lower at
53, with Uruguay (No 7), Italy
(No 8), England (No 10) and
Costa Rica (No 28).
US coach Jurgen Klinsmann
knows defence is a key for an
American team that constantly
went behind during the 2010
tournament, when the Amer-
icans advanced to the knockout
stage despite leading for all of
3 minutes, 15 seconds in the first
round---after Landon Donovan's
injury time goal against Alge-
ria.Based on Saturday, Jones and
Beckerman could start together
"We know Kyle, that is his
specialty to protect his team-
mates, to cover his teammates,
to run endless miles for his
team," Klinsmann said. "Jer-
maine in that kind of half posi-
tion has more freedom to also
go more forward so he kind of
switch back and forth with
Michael Bradley there. He
knows there's somebody behind
run, he's going to clean up for
me. I think it worked out really
Most of Klinsmann's starting
lineup appears set, with Tim
Howard set to become the first
American starting goalkeeper
at consecutive World Cups since
Tony Meola in 1990 and '94.
Besler and Geoff Cameron
form the first US central defen-
sive pairing with no World Cup
experience since 1990. Fabian
Johnson has won the right back
job, and DaMarcus Beasley
appears to have edged out
Timmy Chandler at left back
and moved in position to
become the first American male
to play at four World Cups.
YAOUNDE---Cameroon's World Cup team
refused to board a plane due to take them to
Brazil yesterday because of a long-running
dispute over bonus payments for the tour-
Cameroon team spokesman Raphael Nkoa
said there were a "certain number of issues"
that had to be resolved between the players
and management and they had missed the
flight to Brazil on Sunday morning.
The squad would fly to Brazil later Sunday,
Nkoa insisted. He declined to give details of
the payment dispute.
Cameroon players---which include Chelsea's
Samuel Eto'o and Barcelona's Alex Song ---
have been in dispute with federation officials
for more than a month, when the team threat-
ened to boycott a training session at a pre-
tournament preparation camp in Austria
because the bonuses promised by the federation
for the showpiece weren't enough.
The problems appeared to be partially
resolved by the time the squad returned to
Cameroon for a final World Cup warm-up
game against Moldova on Saturday, but re-
surfaced the morning the party was due to
head to the World Cup.
Local reports in the West African nation
said some players even refused to take part in
a farewell ceremony with officials after beating
Moldova 1-0 in Yaounde.
World body FIFA said they had been given
assurances by Cameroon officials that the
squad would now depart Yaounde on Sunday
night and arrive in Brazil on Monday---just
four days before the four-time African cham-
pion opens its World Cup on Friday against
Mexico in Group A.
FIFA normally requires teams to arrive at
least five days before their first game.
"FIFA has assurances that the Cameroon
team will fly tonight," the world body said on
Sunday. Cameroon also plays Croatia and
Brazil in the group stage.
Cameroon's players have previously had
standoffs with the national federation over
bonus payments, once ahead of the 2002
World Cup and most recently in 2011 when
the team refused to travel from Morocco to
play a game against Algeria.
Following the dispute in Morocco, captain
and lead striker Eto'o was banned for 15 match-
es by the federation for his part in the player
The punishment was later cut to four games.
Around The World Cup camps...
US heads to Brazil with
boosted confidence RIO DE JANEIRO---Arjen Robben reacted angrily
to a tough challenge from Netherlands teammate
Bruno Martins Indi during a World Cup training ses-
sion at their base in Rio.
Robben kicked out at Martins Indi after one tackle
and lay on the ground clutching his back after another
strong challenge by the Feyenoord defender yester-
The Bayern Munich winger briefly left the pitch but
later returned and did not appear hurt.
Martins Indi admitted afterward that the pair had
clashed. Robben did not speak to the media.
"Arjen is a good dribbler. I thought he fell needlessly
once," Martins Indi said. "We had a little head-to-
A reporter said to Martins Indi that he thought he
had seen irritation between the two, to which Martins
Indi replied, "You saw right."
BELO HORIZONTE---Argentina's players appar-
ently aren't ready to proclaim themselves as World
Cup winners just yet, even though that was the
boastful message that was put up at their World Cup
base in Brazil.
Argentine media visiting the "Cidade do Galo"
(Rooster City) sports compound in Belo Horizonte
ahead of the team's arrival found a triumphalist sign
on the gate saying "Welcome future champions."
Juan Carlos Crespi, an Argentine football associa-
tion official, acknowledged late Saturday it was his
idea and that it didn't go down well with captain Li-
onel Messi and coach Alejandro Sabella, both modest
Their concerns appear to have been duly noted.
Photos Sunday by Argentine newspaper Clarin
showed the sign had been taken down and replaced
by a simple "Welcome."
Argentina arrives today and opens against Bosnia
on June 15.
Blatter: Tiredness a factor
in spate of injuries
SAO PAULO---FIFA President Sepp Blatter says
tiredness after a long season is a factor in the World
Cup losing top players to injury.
Blatter tells reporters that it's "too long a season
and always the same players are always in the same
"Now they are tired," the FIFA chief says.
France winger Franck Ribery and midfielder Marco
Reus of Germany dropped out in recent days.
Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has missed
warm-up matches due to persistent left leg injuries,
and Argentina's Lionel Messi has seemed below full
Blatter suggested after the 2010 World Cup that
the long European season was a factor in producing
too few entertaining matches.
Robben, Martins Indi
clash at Dutch training
Cameroon players refuse to travel over bonus pay
Fans cheer on the United States team during the second half of an international friendly soccer match between
the United States and Nigeria in Jacksonville, Florida, Saturday. The United States won 2-1. AP PHOTO
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