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South Africa out of the Gold Cup:(? Who would replace them at the last minute? A small Carribean Island? I would go for Haiti.

If they do come, they will probably have an extremely weak squad. Unlike the CONCACAF teams, there is no way that the South African Association can force the clubs to release their players for another confederation's championship under FIFA rules.

There is a bit of a crisis in South African soccer right now, mainly because of the poor WCQ record. They are tied for Ghana for the lead of their Group (only the first place qualifies), but they lose on the head-to-head, and their last two matches are a lot more difficult than Ghana's, so odds are they will not be in Germany. The related article you can access from this one says that they are concentrating on getting a squad together for a camp in Germany at the end of August to prepare for the September 3 WCQ match in Burkina Faso (from which they return to Germany to play a friendly on September 7 in Bremen).

They are also having problems getting their act together on the World Cup 2010 preparation. My half-prediction is that they fail to meet FIFA's demands on infrastructure and the tournament is given to England or the US two years or so before.


from a South Afreakin news site:


Bafana looking for an exit

24/06/2005 17:25 - (SA)

Bafana to prepare in Germany

Safa and Bafana caught unawares

Johannesburg - The Bafana Bafana technical team have approached Safa with the objective of cancelling South Africa's participation in next month's 12-team Concacaf Gold Cup championship.

However, they have been informed that the country is under a firm commitment to play in the United States and nothing can be done at this stage.

The latest development in the crisis that could critically embarrass South African soccer at the most inopportune moment, with qualifaction for next year's World Cup Finals in Germany hanging in the balance, was revealed on Friday by Bafana general manager Stanley "Screamer" Tshabalala.

"We are due to open our Gold Cup programme against Mexico, the sixth-best rated team in the world on July 8," added Tshabalala, "and clubs like Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs are offering us their reserves because of their Vodacom Challenge commitment - an unofficial, privately-arranged event."

Peace Cup

Mamelodi Sundowns, competing against world-class opposition in the Peace Cup in South Korea next month, are similarly unsympathetic to Bafana's predicament and Ajax Cape Town are committed to African Champions League fixtures and are understandably reluctant to release any of their players.

In addition, South Africa's strong complement of overseas-based players have almost unanimously declared their unavailability for the Gold Cup because of club training commitment for the new season in Europe.

Only Katlego Mphela and Siyabonga Nomvete of the foreign-based players have thus far said they are available.

"It's a farcical situation," said Tshababala. "South Africa's soccer reputation in America will be judged by performances in the Gold Cup - yet we are set to be represented by what now seems certain to be a makeshift squad against a combination of Mexico's calibre - with 80 000 Mexicans urging their team on for the game in Los Angeles."

Danny Jordaan

The invitation for South Africa to play as "a guest nation" in the North and Central American Gold Cup was accepted by then-Safa CEO Danny Jordaan - with little or no thought seemingly given by Safa to the implications.

And the unrealisitic "eat your cake and hope to have it" mentality has left South African soccer in a pickle.

Either PSL clubs need to be told that Bafana games take preference over unofficial tournaments - or Safa must bow down meekly, accept the whims of the clubs in this respect and not arrange international games when they cannot assemble something resembling a full-strength combination.

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Barbados placed forth in the Carribean zone qualifying tournament. Although debatable, Niqaragua finish fifth in the group stages with a better record (3 points) ahead of El Salvador and Belize. The top 4 in this tourney where the central zone qualifyers for the gold cup.

Perhaps a play-off between them would be a fare way to decide the berth if needed.

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quote:"It's a farcical situation," said Tshababala. "South Africa's soccer reputation in America will be judged by performances in the Gold Cup
How ironic that soccer people outside North America (to which I assume Tshababala is really referring) are worried about what we think of them!
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'Keeper aiming to snag a cap: Vancouver's Franks is on Gold Cup squad

Dan Stinson

Vancouver Sun

987 words

29 June 2005

Vancouver Sun


E1 / Front


Copyright © 2005 Vancouver Sun

Rock-solid at the club level with the Vancouver Whitecaps, Mike Franks appears to be on the threshold of earning his first international 'A' cap with Canada's senior national soccer team. But when that honour will come is in the hands of Frank Yallop.

Yallop, the head coach of the national side, said Tuesday that Montreal Impact goalkeeper Greg Sutton will start in Canada's friendly match against Honduras on Saturday at Swangard Stadium as both teams prepare for next month's CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament in the United States.

Canada opens its Group B schedule of Gold Cup games July 7 against Costa Rica at Seattle's Qwest Field.

"I want to get as close as possible on Saturday to the starting unit I'll field against Costa Rica," Yallop said following the national team's first training session for the Gold Cup. "I'll start Greg Sutton against Honduras because he will start against Costa Rica. It's possible that Mike might see some minutes toward the end of the game Saturday, but it's a wait-and-see situation."

The only Whitecap selected to the 19-player Gold Cup roster, Franks has backstopped the Whitecaps to a second-place, 6-3-4 record in the United Soccer League's First Division, posting five shutouts and a 0.916 goals-against average in 12 games.

Sutton has been even more outstanding, however. His six shutouts and 0.250 GAA is one of the reasons the Impact (5-0-4, third place) are the USL's only undefeated team and favoured to repeat as league champions.

The 6-6, 210-pound Sutton was named the A-League MVP last season. He has two international caps -- most recently on Feb. 9 in Canada's 1-0 victory over host Northern Ireland in a friendly.

"Greg's probably a little bit ahead of Mike at this point, but there's no guarantees on our team," Yallop said. "You've got to earn the spot and I know that Mike is capable and ready to play, once he does get that chance."

Franks, 28, has been patient as he pursues his first international cap. The 6-5, 200-pound Richmond native has served as a back-up throughout his international career. In 2001, he was behind Craig Forrest at the Confederations Cup tournament in Japan.

This year marks Franks' first national team selection since that Confederations Cup. He drew into the squad due to the inactivity of Edmonton native Lars Hirschfeld, who has not played since concluding the English League season with Leicester City about six weeks ago.

"It's great to get back into the team, even in a back-up role," said Franks. "I'm just looking to train hard and do my best in practice. It's been a while since I've made a Canadian national team and I want to be ready to play if called on. But I have no problem backing up Sutton. He's done well and probably deserves the start."

Sutton is one of six Impact players named to Canada's Gold Cup roster. Franks and striker Dwayne de Rosario of Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes are the only other North American-based players selected. The balance of the players play with European clubs.

It's been a tough haul for Canadian teams in international tournaments in recent years. Canada's 2003 Gold Cup side was eliminated in the first round and the World Cup team suffered a semi-final loss in 2004 CONCACAF zone qualifying.

"This [Gold Cup] is a competition we want to do well in," said Yallop. "I want to see us perform better as a unit and start to gather some momentum for [2010] World Cup qualifying in a couple of years. That's the main focus of every game we play at this point."

GOAL DUST: Whitecaps striker Jason Jordan, the USL's co-scoring leader with eight goals, was not named to Canada's Gold Cup roster. Yallop said Jordan's fitness and all-round play was an issue, adding that he was beaten for a roster spot by Montreal's Ali Gerba. "Jason was close to selection, but I think Ali is more capable physically at this point," Yallop said. "If Jason can get himself involved more generally in the play, he has a chance to come into the team."


- - -


Players named to Canada's senior national men's team roster for July 6-24 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament in the U.S. (club affiliation in parentheses):

Goalkeepers: Greg Sutton (Montreal Impact, United Soccer League), Mike Franks (Vancouver Whitecaps, USL).

Defenders: Adam Braz (Montreal Impact), Chris Pozniak (Haugesund, Norway), Kevin McKenna (Energie Cottbus, German), Gabriel Gervais (Montreal Impact), Atiba Hutchinson (Helsinborg, Sweden).

Midfielders: Patrice Bernier (Tromso, Norway), Jim Brennan (Norwich City, England), Iain Hume (Tranmere Rovers, England), Sando Grande (Montreal Impact), Adrian Seroux (Millwall, England), Josh Simpson (Millwall, England), Patrick Leduc (Montreal Impact), Jaime Peters (Ipswich Town, England), Rhian Dodds (Kilmarnock, Scotland).

Forwards: Ali Gerba (Montreal Impact), Olivier Occean (Odd Grenland, Norway), Dwayne de Rosario (San Jose Earthquakes, Major League Soccer).

Reserves: GK Josh Wagenaar (Hartwick College), D Nevio Pizzolitto (Montreal Impact), MF Felix Brillant (New England Revolution, MLS), F Will Johnson (Chicago Fire, MLS).

Coaches: Frank Yallop (head coach), Stephen Hart (assistant), Paul Dolan (goalkeepers)


July 7: vs. Costa Rica, Qwest Field, Seattle

July 9: vs. United States, Qwest Field

July 12: vs. Cuba, Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.

Colour Photo: Ian Smith, Vancouver Sun / Whitecaps goalkeeper Mike Franks, who practised on Tuesday at UBC, hopes to earn an international cap.; Colour Photo: Ian Lindsay, Vancouver Sun / Goalkeeper Mike Franks is the lone Whitecap player on the national team roster.

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Five uncapped players in threadbare SAfrican squad

JOHANNESBURG, June 30 (Reuters) - South Africa have named five uncapped players in a threadbare squad for July's Concacaf Gold Cup in the U.S. after almost all of the country's key players turned down a call-up to take part.

South Africa are one of two countries from outside the region invited to compete in the central and north America and Caribbean confederation championships, which start next week.

South Africa play their first match against Mexico in Los Angeles on July 8 and also meet Jamaica and Guatemala in their opening round group.

Coach Stuart Baxter has been forced to scramble together a side for the tournament, with just six players from the squad that played in World Cup qualifiers in June.

There is a recall for Greek-based defender Pierre Issa, who has not played for South Africa since the last World Cup finals in 2002.

The uncapped players are goalkeeper Lee-Raoul Langeveldt, midfielders Hleza Mofedi and Siyabonga Nkosi and strikers Lebogang Mokoena and Lungisani Ndlela.


Goalkeepers: Lee-Raoul Langeveldt (FC Fortune), Calvin Marlin (SuperSport United), Wayne Roberts (Wits University)

Defenders: Craig Bianchi (Mamelodi Sundowns), Siboniso Gaxa (SuperSport United), Pierre Issa (Ionikos, Greece), Ricardo Katza (SuperSport United), Lucky Lekgwathi, Lucas Thwala (both Orlando Pirates)

Midfielders: Hleza Mofedi (Orlando Pirates), Siyabonga Nkosi (Bloemfontein Celtic), Reagan Noble (Wits University), Abram Raselemane (SuperSport United), Siyabongo Siphika (Manning Rangers), Benedict Vilakazi (Orlando Pirates),

Strikers: Lebogang Mokoena (Orlando Pirates), Lungisani Ndlela (Supersport United), Siyabonga Nomvete (Empoli, Italy).

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The last time S.A. had a squad like this, they got blown away in the COSAFA Castle Cup a few seasons ago when they where having problems with their first teamers commitments.

Thats only a regional cup featuring the likes of Malawi, Mozambique, The Seychelles, Zambia etc...

I would truthfully prefer to see a CONCACAF nation get a real shot at their own confederation championship in this case.

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quote:Originally posted by MikeD

Too bad we aren't in South Africa's group, we could probably blow them away with such a weak squad and pick up a ton of FIFA world ranking points for beating a higher ranked team in an official tournament.


Probably right. Dang.

Then again, you could call this side South Africa United. Side looks like it's pretty much made up of two sides. Guess they're shooting for that player familiarity/on-field-chemestry thingy we've heard about now and again.

Still, Oy.

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Sutton makes himself hard to overlook


VANCOUVER (CP) - After struggling to be noticed goalkeeper Greg Sutton is making it difficult to be overlooked.

Sutton has been perfect in both of his starts for coach Frank Yallop's national soccer team. He registered shutouts in Canada's 1-0 victory against the Barbados in his national team debut on Jan. 18, 2004, and in a 1-0 win over Northern Ireland in February.

He'd like to keep the streak alive when Canada plays Honduras on Saturday night in an international friendly.

The game, at Burnaby's Swangard Stadium, will serve as a warmup for next week's Gold Cup competition in Seattle.

"It's something every goaltender takes pride in," Sutton, named the league MVP last season when he helped the Montreal Impact win the United Soccer League championship, said about his shutout streak.

"It's exciting when you can go in there, in international duty, and keep the ball out of the net. It's a goal I'll continue to try and keep as long as I can."

With veteran Lars Hirschfeld currently without a club, Yallop decided to go with Sutton and Mike Franks of the Vancouver Whitecaps for the Gold Cup.

"Greg is a great calming presense in goal," said Yallop. "The games he's played for me he has not looked phased by it. I'm trying to get to the point where each position I've got I can rely on players."

Sutton is grateful for the chance Yallop has given him.

"It's nice to have that opportunity to showcase myself a bit," said the 28-year-old who stretches 210 pounds over a six-foot-six frame.

"I haven't had that in the past."

Sutton said other national team coaches have favoured players from European clubs.

"Frank has been very neutral and very fair to everyone," said the Hamilton native. "You can't be biased on players by where they are playing.

"There are players in Canada who are maybe not getting paid as much as some of the guys in Europe but are just as good, if not better, than some of the players in Europe."

Sutton, who missed Montreal's last game with a concussion, returned to the lineup Thursday night and picked up his seventh shutout of the season in the Impact's 1-0 win over the Timber in Portland.

It was his 50th career shutout.

The Gold Cup determines the championship of CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Canada opens against Costa Rica on Thursday, then faces the U.S. Saturday.

The Canadians wrap up the preliminary round of the 12-team tournament July 12 against Cuba at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Ma.

Canada won the 2000 Gold Cup, the country's first international honour in over 100 years of soccer, and finished third in the 2002 tournament.

Casting an eye toward qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, Yallop has decided to take a young team to the Gold Cup.

"We're trying to get guys more and more experienced, including myself," said Sutton. "This tournament is good for the guys and for Frank to take a look at more players in real competition."

Canada, currently ranked 85th in the world, has some history with Honduras. The two sides battled to a pair of 1-1 draws last summer during Canada's failed attempt at qualifying for next year's World Cup in Germany.

Some questionable referee calls cost Canada goals in both games and allowed Honduras to score on a penalty kick.

"They are a tough program," said Sutton. "They will have that South American style of play."

NOTES: Katie Thorlakson, of Langley, B.C., a member of Canada's women's national team, has been nominated for an ESPY Award. Thorlakson, who attends Notre Dame, was chosen as the 2004 Soccer America women's player of the year after collecting 23 goals and 24 assists in her junior season . . . Included among the USL's First Division players of the week were Vancouver Whitecap goaltender Mike Franks, Montreal defenceman Adam Braz and midfielder Sandro Grande, Toronto midfielder Sita-Taty Matondo and forward Wyn Belotte. . . Included among the W-League's players of the week was Vancouver goaltender Sian Bagshawe, defender Randee Hermus and midfielder Ashlee McGhee, plus Ottawa forward Carmelina Moscato.


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Amid busy calendar, some glint lost

Associated Press

Posted: 2 hours ago

NEW YORK (AP) - Coming as the last of the season's major soccer events, the CONCACAF Gold Cup may not be all it could have been.

With the World Youth Championship finishing this week, Mexico returning from a fourth-place finish in the Confederations Cup and players and clubs everywhere complaining about a never-ending season, the Gold Cup will feature its top teams without completely first-choice sides.

"You have to find a fine line to give players a break," said former U.S. national team defender Marcelo Balboa, who played for clubs in Mexico and the United States and now works as a television analyst. "But it's also a great chance to give your younger players an opportunity."

The 12-team, 18-day tournament begins Wednesday in Miami with a doubleheader pitting Colombia against Panama and Trinidad and Tobago against Honduras. First-round games also are scheduled for Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles and Houston.

United States coach Bruce Arena, who usually splits his side between domestic and European-based players, has selected a 23-man roster with 16 players from Major League Soccer, including four players who have never played for the national team.

Ricardo Lavolpe has had a small group including Daniel Osorno, Hector Altimirano and Carlos Morales training in Mexico this past week to be ready to replace weary members of El Tri coming back from Germany.

And South Africa, which along with Colombia is playing as an invited guest in North and Central America and the Caribbean's biennial championship, is bringing a "B" side at best, almost completely devoid of its European-based players as well as its top domestic talent.

Stung by European clubs refusal to release their players and domestic teams as well insisting on using their first-choice sides for exhibition events at home, South Africa coached Stuart Baxter was forced to cobble together a roster with five uncapped players and only six from its World Cup qualifiers last month.

"We have to make the best of the situation," Baxter said in announcing the roster. "It is a pity we could not have approached the Gold Cup with better planning, but we must now strive to get whatever we can out of the event as far as results are concerned - and in unearthing talent for the future."

Both defending champion Mexico and the United States, which have won six of the seven previous Gold Cup titles between them, will bring most of their regulars, and Colombia has announced plans to bring a roster comparable to the one that it brought to New York a month ago to play England in a friendly.

"With Mexico, you'll probably see a younger team," Balboa said. "You can't kill these players. They have the Confederations Cup, Gold Cup, next month they'll go right back into their season. And they still have World Cup qualifying."

The United States will be without both of its usual holding forwards, FC Dallas' Eddie Johnson who is injured, and Fulham's Brian McBride.

The teams which likely will benefit most from the Gold Cup are Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and Trinidad, still battling for the last of three guaranteed berths from CONCACAF at the World Cup. Although not clinched, most have conceded the first two places to Mexico and the United States.

Five points separate the quartet with half of the final round of qualifying remaining.

CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer says Canada, Cuba, Honduras and Jamaica also benefit, keeping their national teams playing despite having been eliminated from qualifying.

"The Gold Cup has been the most significant single item in teams improving over the last 14 years," Blazer said. "It has forced teams to keep their national teams alive on a two-year cycle, rather than the four-year one which was the case prior to 1991, when teams were only needed to qualify for the World Cup."

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Mexican pair banned for doping

MEXICO CITY, July 4 (Reuters) - The Mexican Football Federation has handed out one-year bans to a pair of international defenders after they were expelled from last month's Confederations Cup in Germany for doping offences.

'The organisation decided to suspend Salvador Carmona and Aaron Galindo from all sporting activity controlled by the Mexican Football Federation for the period of one year, as of today,' general secretary Decio de Maria said on Monday.

The pair tested positive for a derivative of nandrolone, a banned anabolic steroid.

Carmona, 29, is an established international who went to the last two World Cups, while the 23-year-old Galindo played in the Confederations Cup as a replacement for injured Barcelona defender Rafael Marquez.

They had helped Mexico beat Japan 2-1 and upset Brazil 1-0 in the tournament in Germany.

FIFA had ordered the Mexican federation to deliver a full report soon and impose punishment if appropriate.


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Loose translation of the first article posted by Massive Attack:

Prevention Against the Aerial Game

Cosat Rica does not want any surprises from Canada, and for this reason it is being careful to cover every detail, such as preparing not to be surprised by headers from aerial crosses.

Besides setting our own tactics and ball movement, one of our tasks will be to block the Canadian center-forwards. Their dangerous aerial game and height have forced manager Guimaraes to consider again and again how to protect the back from danger in our own box. In particular, the red-and-whites usually cause danger by the height of its players and its expected heading attack.

“They may not be too skillfull with their ball control, but in corner kicks or free kicks if we give them any advantage it can cause us plenty of complications,” says Guimaraes.

To avoid such surprise, his strategy is to use a line of four defenders to create a wall to guard Alvaro Mesen.

To this end, ”Guima” [nickname for manager] has his own tall men like Victor Cordero, Mauricio Wright and Roy Miller, who are experienced in this type of marking.. This will allow, Gabriel Badilla, Michael Umaña, Junior Diaz and Harold Wallace, who not so tall, to be free from the obligation of marking their attackers.

“We clearly know the Canadian strategy, they are strong and dangerous in the close area in the box, but if we concentrate our marking, we can be confident about what happens in the back when we go forward,” says Cordero.

Another concentration of Guimaraes will be the counter-attack, a typical strategy to use against North American teams. Our first opponent is susceptible to this, and when Canada thinks it is dominating the match, it is effective to mount a surprise offensive against the opposite box.

“For this reason, we will emphasize our capacity to react quickly and recover the ball sooner, because we can’t afford the luxury of falling into the same error we have made against them in previous matches."

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Loose translation of the second article posted by Massive Attack:

Canada Wants to Surprise

Yallop, Canada’s Manager: “The goal is not so much to obtain a result, but to improve as a team.”

Ottawa( EFE)- Canda’s national team comes to the latest version of the Gold Cup with the prime objective of improving as a team, with the secondary hope of pulling a surprise as it did in 2000, when it was proclaimed champion.

Then a player [?], Yallop now has the responsibility of leading the team from behind the bench, and hopes to get beyond the first round to be amongst the top 8 teams.

“Without a doubt, we are conscious of the fact that in Group B the fancied teams to beat are the US and Costa Rica, but we also have the possibility of finishing third and seeing how we do in the quarter-finals.”

However, Yallop stresses that the most important thing is for the team to learn how to improve with the experience of facing such teams as the United States and Costa Rica.

“We have arrived at the stage where we are developing young talents, and the Gold Cup is ideal for such development”.

“We will not concentrate on results, but rather on improving as a team”, added Yallop.

However, if there is one experienced leader that Yallop trusts as an unquestionable leader on the team, it is forward Kevin McKenna, who plays with Energie Cottus of Germany and in whom he hopes to create the goals that help them triumph.

Veteran Dwayne DeRosario, who plays with the San Jose Earthquakes of the American MLS, is another one of the starting players in Canada’s attack, as is Olivier Occean, with Odd Grenland of Norway.

Another important player in Canada’s team is midfielder Jaime Peters, who marches with Ipswich Town of England and Josh Simpson, with tMillwall, where defenseman Adrian Serioux, another one of the young talents on which Yallop wants to rely on, also comes form.

Names like Sandro Grande , Iain Hume, Jim Brennan and Felix Brillant come to the team with a great dream of being able to grow professionally in international competition.

"Our players are in great physical shape to contest the whole match but we needed to grow in the technical areas, and it is through this type of competition that we can obtain this", Yallop added.

“The key for us will be how we do in the first match when we face the national team of Costa Rica".

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Loose translation of the third article posted by Massive Attack:

Again... Canada

Like in the last round of the regional championship, our senior team debuts with the Canadians, a match that could be the key in our search for qualifying to the second round.

Hermes Solano Rodriguez :

(Photo: Our national players pay attention to Guimaraes and they do not want to miss anything)

Now completely settled in Seattle, our national team has not lowered its work level, and in the second day of practice, manager Alexandre Guimaraes continued sharpening his strategy for our debut in Gold Cup 2005.

In the morning, the manager met with the team in the Sheraton Seattle, with the purpose of defining certain criteria for the match at hand, followed by a quick return to the practice field that afternoon. The first game of the match will be this Thursday with Canada, a very well known rival to our nationals in several of the past versions of the competition, and, like on this occasion, the first team we have had to face.

For the Fourth Time

To debut against the Canadians is nothing new for Costa Rica, because in three previous editions we have started our campaign against this team, which has the advantage of a harvest of a victory and two ties.

The first confrontation occurred on July 11, 1993, in the Aztec stadium, in the capital of Mexico. The scene was then directed by Alvaro Grant McDonald and the encounter finished with a one-goal draw.

They waited seven years for another confrontation in the debuts of both teams in this competition.

One occurred on February 13, 2000, in San Diego, California and concluded with a score of 2-2. Those goals of the "Sele", then directed by Marvin Rodriguez , were the work of Jafet Soto and Harold Wallace.

In the last edition of the Gold Cup, we debuted again against the Canadians, and, under the command of Steve Sampson, on July 13, 2003, the Tricolor fell 1-0 in Foxboro, with Paul Stalteri’s goal.


With that in mind, in our teams North American picture, the plot now changes a little, always maintaining a focus on the match of game.

"Canada as a team can cause some complicattions. Although we know well their type of game, and they almost never change their style of play, we must be sensitive to their brand of forward movement and to the dead ball game [set plays]" confirms Steven Bryce.

According to Jafet Soto, there will be no variation in the form of game of the "maple leafs", using as a reference the last World Cup qualifiers for Germany 2006. "It is an team that to my estimation will remain with the game style that it showed in the qualifiers, they do not change much. They have tall players, with good shooting skills and for that reason its game has European style, and in addition they have good mobility and dynamics ", the national captain stated.

"Guima" Sharpens Tactics

Although the priority at this moment is the forthcoming tournament, Guimaraes is also thinking about the match with Mexico on August 17, the start of the second round of the hex.

Also, he is emphasising to the transition from defence to attack, and to exerting pressure in all aspects of the game.

"There are ways in which we can improve greatly for August 17, as much in defense as midfield and attack, and in spite of not doing that great in the hex table, we have been correcting things since Norway", admits the manager, to add what to what he has worked on in the first days since arriving in the United States.

"On the capacity to react when the ball is lost and on the transition from defense to attack we have done a lot of work".

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Good work, Beachesl.

Anyone see the Gold Cup preview on Fox Sports World Report yesterday? Sounded like a cynics report taken right out of these pages. Bobby did mention the quality of Team MLS and the Mexicans. Not to mention the crap South African side that's due to show. Pretty much said "Why are they here?". Couldn't agree more.

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Panama boot Garces, McFarlane off Gold Cup team for curfew violation

PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) - Striker Jose Luis (Gunner) Garces and backup goalkeeper Oscar McFarlane were thrown off Panama's Gold Cup soccer team Monday for being out too late.

The curfew violation occurred at the weekend at a hotel in Panama's capital, where the team gathered ahead of its Monday flight to Miami, said Ariel Alvarado, president of Panama's soccer federation.

Alvarado said the pair was found to be in another part of the hotel, instead of in their rooms, and could offer no explanation.

Panama will meet Colombia in a Gold Cup Group A match Wednesday. Because tournament rules allow only last-minute changes to a team's goalkeeper corps, Garces' roster spot will remain vacant. Youngster Jose Calderon was tapped to replace McFarlane and will backup starter Jaime Penedo.

Garces is among the national squad's top goal-scorers, but off-the-field antics have kept him out of key matches in the past.

In February, Garces missed a World Cup qualifier after being sentenced to 20 months in prison for attempted murder in a case of a youngster who was shot three years ago. However, he has avoided jail time while his lawyers appeal, and later obtained permission to travel with the team and participate in subsequent qualifying matches.

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Cuba all set for Gold Cup


Cuba was preparing to travel to America on Monday for the Gold Cup, anxious to make it past the first round and score at least one goal in its opener against the United States.

Cuba and the United States meet on Thursday in Group B, which also includes Costa Rica and Canada.

"We are going with the idea of classifying, with a positive mind because we have nothing to lose," Cuba captain and goalkeeper Odelin Molina told The Associated Press. "We aren't favorites, but in modern soccer there doesn't exist inferior teams."

Cuba made it to the quarter-finals in 2003 by defeating Canada 2-0, but then fell to Costa Rica and the United States. The national team was eliminated in the Gold Cup's first round in previous years.

"We aspire to score one goal over (the United States), something we haven't achieved in the last 10 years," Molina said. "We'll be looking for a tie."

Molina said the team was in good shape, especially after playing nine friendlies in May and June in Argentina, Norway and Denmark.

"We've progressed a lot in strategy, and unity on the field," he said.

Enrique Vidaurrutia and Leonal Duarte are two young and fast players who coach Armelio Luis said will "inject dynamics in the attack and complement our defensive work."

Lester More is the team's top scorer.

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Sounds like CR are pretty confident were going to be unchanged since WCQ.

I hope Yallop is serious about his attacking philosophy for the boys. I think the best form of defence against the Ticos is offence. Even if we only put up 1 goal, hopfully good pressure will take time away from their attacks...

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