Eriksson: U.S. will win World Cup someday
/ Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) - England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson thinks it's only a matter of time before the United States will win a World Cup.
"I'm sure," Eriksson said on Thursday.
England plays the United States on May 28 in Chicago, the opener of a two-game U.S. tour that ends with a May 31 matchup against Colombia at East Rutherford, New Jersey. It will be the first U.S. trip for the English since a three-game tour in 1993, when England lost to the United States 2-0.
"I know soccer is growing immensely in the United States, especially at the youth level," he said during a telephone conference call. "Maybe it's difficult still for the senior teams to have the headlines in the papers because of the confluence with a lot of other sports. I think the United States needs football, but even more, football needs the United States."
He was impressed by the Americans' play at the 2002 World Cup, where they advanced to the quarterfinals in their best showing since the first tournament in 1930.
"In the World Cup they were very organized," he said. "They never gave up. Very, very good fighting spirit. America always has that in every sport they go into."
Eriksson, whose team leads its World Cup qualifying group, picked a 22-man roster on Thursday that includes 12 players with 10 or fewer games of international experience.
Manchester United stars Wayne Rooney (needs rest) and Rio Ferdinand (knee injury) were bypassed along with Chelsea's Frank Lampard and John Terry, and starting goalkeeper Paul Robinson of Tottenham Hotspur, who all have injuries.
Liverpool's Steven Gerrard and defender Jamie Carragher will miss the trip because they play against AC Milan in the Champions Cup final on May 25 at Istanbul, Turkey.
Real Madrid midfielder David Beckham and forward Michael Owen will be available for the second match but might miss the first because the final games of the Spanish league season are that weekend.
"I might try if I see that Real Madrid is out of winning the league, try to take them for both games," Eriksson said. "But that's nothing I can do anything about today. I have to wait at least one week to do that."
Eriksson said Manchester City goalkeeper David James will start against the United States, which is preparing for World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica at Salt Lake City on June 4 and at Panama on June 8.
Peter Crouch, a 2.01-meter (6-foot-7) forward, is among three players on the roster who haven't played for England's national team.
"I'm not sure yet if he's good enough," Eriksson said. "He's a player who can give you something different because he's a very, very good header. It's very difficult to defend against him when the ball comes up in the air." Beckham figures to get a lot of attention on the tour. "He's very popular. I guess he's the most popular football player in the world," Eriksson said. "I think it must be very difficult for him because what he wants to do is talk about football, of course, and sometimes it's too much about the private life, of course. But I must say he's handling it very well."
Let's hope the USA, Canada or Mexico win one someday so we can show the world what North American footy is all about.