The Desert Sun from Palm Springs, California on June 17, 1994 · Page 41
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The Desert Sun from Palm Springs, California · Page 41

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Friday, June 17, 1994
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i pa . w V S P E C I A L SEC T I O N PAC! 3 THE DESERT SUNJ to Second Round r " ' - .. im Rochester, Mich., on Thursday. The U.S. team U.S. fields team rich By KEN PETERS The Associated Press MISSION VIEJO Some are natives of such far-flung points of the globe as Maldonado, Bechofen, Veghel and Athens. Others were born in Chicago, Tulsa, New York, Detroit. Four of them were born in Southern California. Three others played for Kearny High School in New Jersey. The American World Cup team is, like the country itself, a rich tapestry of varied backgrounds. "It's a slice of America," said defender Paul Caligiuri, a native of Southern California. "This is a true All-American team." The coach, Bora Milutinovic, speaks five languages, was born in Yugoslavia and played soccer first in his home country, then in France, Switzerland . and Mexico. He has coached World Cup teams from Mexico and Costa Rica, leading both into the second round of the tournament. - Seven playere on the 22-man roster were born outside the United States, including two who are sons of U.S. military personnel. The other 15, many of them second-generation Americans, are from nine different states. Saturday, their different hack-grounds, their different styles of play, converge as the United States begins World Cup play against Switzerland at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich. "We have different, colorful people but I think they all know that soccer is a team sport and we have to work as a team," said forward-midfielder Fernando Clavijo, a defender who was born in Maldonado, Uruguay, and at 37, is the elder statesman on the U.S. squad. "I think everyone brought their own styles here," said forward-midfielder Frank Klopas, whose parents immigrated from Greece to Chicago when he was 6. "Our players have their own style and personality and it shows on the field. E ARGENTINA COACK Alfio Basils. WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 10 (best finish, champion 1978, '86). QUALIFYING ROUTE: South America Group A (finished second with 3-2-1 record); won special playoff with Australia (Oceania) 2-1 on aggre- ' gate. STYLE OF PLAY: Defend and counterattack, though Argentina sometimes will build an attack up through the midfield. STRENGTHS: Goalkeeping, where Sergio Goycochea and Luis Islas are both solid, and up , - front where Gabriel Batistuta, Claudlo Caniggia and Abel Balbo can all be devastating strikers. WEAKNESSES: Midfield play tends to fall apart, Waving Vft forwards tsotatedrtegendary- Diego Maradona is a possibility with his superb passing, even at 50 percent of his 1980s form IMPACT PLAYER: Gabriel Batistuta. A world-class striker who can turn even a half-chance Into a goal, an Important quality on a low-scoring team like Argentina. YOUNG GUN TO WATCH: Diego Simeone. An outstanding playmaker, 24, whose talent has grown greatly during (is timelri Spairn A h Z J? 71 ?"'' f 7 7 " ; AP photo meets Switzerland Saturday at the in talent, culture "All these personalities come together and they want take chances and express themselves. We have players who can create things with individual play, but also have come together as a team. I think it's going to help us in the World Cup," added Klopas, who has played four years for AEK Athens of the Greek first division. The style of the American team, although shaped by Milutinovic's coaching philosophy, does promise to be unique. "The style will always evolve according to the players," said Ralph Perez, who was an assistant coach for the , 1990 US. World Cup team: "Colombia will play one way, Switzerland will play one way. (The Americans) have a lot of different experiences, and now Bora has to put it in one pot and melt it together. "It's a mix and I think it will be unique." Said defender Cle Kooiman, a native of Ontario who has played four years in the Mexican first division: "We have the Latin style, the European style; John Harkes brings the English Style, Frank Klopas the Greek style. ... I think we're going to be unpredictable. "And together, we're what the United States is all about: striving together for the same goals." The starting lineup for the United States is expected to include the two sons of U.S. serviceman: midfielder Thomas Dooley, who was born in Bechofen, Germany; and Ernie Stewart, born in Veghel, Netherlands. The other foreign-born players are Hugo Perez (San Salvador, El Salvador), Tab Ramos (Montevideo, Uruguay), and Roy Wegerle (Pretoria, South Africa). Wegerle came to the United States to play for the University of South Florida and became a citizen in 1992. Other probable starters include all three former high school stars goalie Tony Meola and midfielders Harkes and Ramos at Kearny, which bills itself as "Soccer Town, USA." POSSIBLE STARTING UNEUP: Goalkeeper Goycochea or Islas; defense Oscar Ruggeri, -Jorge Borelli, HemanQiaz and Sergio yasqu midfield Simeone, Fernando Redondo and Maradona; forward Caniggia, Balbo and Batistuta. FORECAST: The three-points-for-a-win rule in the first round means Argentina can't be passive in Its early games, like it was four years ago. Bulgaria and Nigeria both have the potential to win in Group D. BULGARIA COACH: Dimitar Penev. WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 5 (best finish, second round 1986). QUALIFYING ROUTE: Europe Group 6 (finished second with 6-2-2 record). STYLE OF PLAY: Usually a dour, defensive team, Bulgaria Is capable this year of playing positive, attacking soccer. STRENGTHS: A quick, strong forward line 'anchored by Hristo Stoichkov, though the loss of forward Luboslav Penev (testicular cancer) hurts; confidence gained from last-second win against France In final qualifier. 7 WEAKNESSES: Goalkeeping Is ordinary at best; lack of depth In defense and midfield; suspect preparations, with only a handful f scheduled; stigma of 0-1CH5 World Cup record.' IMPACT PLAYER: Hristo Stoichkov. One of the " world's top players, with a tremendous left-footed shot and a nose for the goal; hampered only by poor temperament. YOUNQ OUN TO WATCH: Zanko Zvetanov, 24. Left-footed defender came into prominence jr Bulgaria's last few qualifying matches. PROJECTED START! NO UNEUP: Goalkeeper Boris Mikhailov; defense Peter Hubchey, Emil Krementlev, Trifon Ivanov; Zanko Zvetanov; mid-" field Yordan Lechkov, Zlatko Yankov, Krasimir Balakov, forward Naska Sirakov, Hristo Stoichkov, Emil Kostadinov. FORECAST: Bulgaria's got to win a World Cup game one of these days, and with two first-time participants (Greece and Nigeria) and a struggling former champion (Argentina) in the group, it looks like a strong possibility this year. But to achieve this, Bulgaria must play positive soccer: GREECE COACH: Alketas Panagoulias. WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: None. QUALIFYING ROUTE: Europe Group 5 (finished first with 6-0-2 record). STYLE OF PLAY: A skillful one-touch passing game on attack, and a physical defense also seeks to clog up the midfield and deny opponents space. STRENGTHS: Mixture of experience and youth; Nikos Mahlas is a budding star up front; tremendous confidence. WEAKNESSES: Practically no international experience; concentration tends to slip on occasion for this mystery team that has played poorly in recent exhibitions. IMPACT PLAYER: Tasos Mitropoulos. Slowing down a bit at the age of 36, the midfielder's passion for the game has inspired teammates. YOUNG GUN TO WATCH: Nikos Mahlas. Turns 21 the day before the World Cup starts; the striker has impressed Panagoulias with his skill in the air and aggressiveness. PROJECTED STARTING UNEUP: Goalkeeper Antonis Minou; defense Stratos Apostolakis, Yiannis Kalitzakis, Thanasis Kolitsidakis, Stelios Manolas; midfield Tasos Mitropoulos, Yiotis Tsalouhidis, Nikos Nioblias, Nikos Tsiantakis, Spiros Maragos; forward Nikos Mahlas. FORECAST: First-time qualifiers aren't supposed to make much impact at the World Cup. But Ireland advanced to the quarterfinals four years ago, so it's possible but not likely. NIGERIA COACH: Clemence Westerhoff. WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: None. QUAUFYINQ ROUTE: Africa first-round Group D (finished first with 3-0-1 record); final round (finished first with 2-1-1 record). ! STYLE OF PLAYi An aggressive attacking style built on strength, speed and skill. STRENGTHS: Depth and talent on the forward line; solid group of midfielders; confidence brimming after African Nations Cup victory. WEAKNESSES: Lack of world-class defenders. IMPACT PLAYER: Rashidi Yekini. Voted African Player of the Year for 1993, this big striker (6-foot-3, nearly 200 pounds) Is the key to the sttdck YOUNG GUN TO WATCH: Sunday Oliseh. Only 19 years old, this midfielder was a revelation at the Nations Cup. PROJECTED STARTING UNEUP: Goalkeeper Peter Rufai; defense Augustine Eguavoen, Ben Iroha, Stephen Keshi, Uche Okechukwu; midfield Sunday Oliseh, Finidi George, Austin Okpqha; forward Rashidi Yekini, Daniel Amokachi, Emmanuel Amunike. '.FORECAST: Nigeria enters the tournament as well-prepared as anyone in the field, already having competed in and won one major tournament (the Nations Cup) this year. Nigeria probably - won't win the World Cup but is primed to make a big impact, like Cameroon did at Italia '90. c: He- mem mm - , -.: : ? IRELAND COACH: Jack Charlton. WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1 (best finish, . quarterfinals 1990). QUALIFYING ROUTE: Europe Group 3 (finished second with 7-1-4 record). STYLE OF PLAY: A longbail system built around clearing the ball out of defense, then outrunning the opposition downfield; relentless pressure on defense. STRENGTHS: Team spirit, lacking before Charlton arrived in 1986, is now as strong as any team in the world; several world-class players; confidence up after recent win over-Germany. WEAKNESSES: Age (at least 10 players on the 22-man roster will be 30 years or older); lack of depth Inseveral areas; loss of striker Niall Quinn to a knee injury. IMPACT PLAYER: Paul McGrath. A last hurrah for the 34-year-old Aston Villa star. He can play several positions, but he likely will be used as a central defender. YOUNG GUN TO WATCH: Roy Keane. Only 22, but already considered one of the world's top players, he is a midfielder with outstanding speed and intelligence. PROJECTED STARTING UNEUP: Goalkeeper ' Pat Bonner; defense Steve Staunton, Terry Phelan, Dennis Irwin, Paul McGrath; midfield Andy Townsend, Ray Houghton, Roy Keane, Alan McLoughlin; forward John Aldridge, Tony . . Cascarino. FORECAST: They've grown old together, and they'll probably go home together early. The support of thousands of Irish-Americans may not be enough to help this team, which is scrambling to introduce new players, particularly on attack, to blend with the veteran nucleus. Could be three-and-out for the Irish. ITALY COACK Arriga Sacchi. : - WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: lz (best finish. rx '. f ' y - . r . . : I I "I- 1 " champions 1934, '38, '82). v - QUALIFYING ROUTE: Europe Group 1 (finished first with 7-1-2 record). STYLE OF PLAY: An attacking style, completely at odds with the traditional Italian defensive (catenaccio) alignment. It requires a lot of run- . fling and applying pressure on opponents, STRENGTHS: Some of the world's most talented players, including 1993 World Player of the Year Roberto Baggio and Paolo Maldini, arguably the world's best left-back. WEAKNESSES: Some players seem uncomfortable with the new emphasis, and cohesiveness on attack is missing. Offsides trap lacks corv ' sistency, making Italy vulnerable at the back. ' . IMPACT PLAYER: Roberto Baggio. Quite simply, the world's best playerequally comfortable scoring or setting up teammates; Sacchi has been indecisive over his main role on the team. YOUNQ OUN TO WATCH: Dino Baggio, 22. No relation to Roberto, Dino has become an outstanding midfielder with a flair for scoring dramatic goals. PROJECTED STARTING UNEUP: Goalkeeper Gianluca Pagliuca; defense Paolo Maldini, Antonio Benarrivo, Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta; midfield Giuseppe Slgnori, Roberto Donadoni, Demetrio Albertinl, Dino Baggio; forward Roberto Baggio, Pieriuigi Caslraghi. FORECAST: With each uninspiring performance Italy puts on, it becomes more and more obvious Sacchi 's attacking methods worked so well at AC Milan only because he had the Dutch trio of Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Marco Van Basten. A tough first round won't help Italy's cause much, either, and the Italians could find themselves with a difficult second-round opponent. ': -i MEXICO COACH: Miguel Mejia Baron. WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 9 (best finish, quarterfinals 1970, '86). QUAUFYINQ ROUTE: CONCACAF (Central and North American and Caribbean federations) second-round Group A (finished first with 4-1-1 record); final round (finished first with 5-1-0 record) STYLE OF PLAY: An attacking game focused on applying pressure all over the field, with defenders even pushing forward. STRENGTHS: Confidence and high level of enthusiasm; strong forward line with three world-class strikers. WEAKNESSES: Defense is susceptible to counterattacks; lack of size; injuries have robbed the team of some key players, including ' midfielder David Patino. IMPACT PLAYER: Jorge Campos. A flamboyant goalkeeper in the sweeper-keeper mode made famous (or infamous) by Colombia's Rene Higuita at the 1990 World Cup; he was used as a substitute forward during last summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup. YOUNG GUN TO WATCH: Juan Ramirez Perales. An outstanding central defender, 25, starting to reach his physical peak, he is good -in the air and has a fine technical sense. PROJECTED STARTING UNEUP: Goalkeeper Jorge Campos; defense Ramon Ramirez, Miguel Herrera, Juan Ramirez Perales, Claudio Suarez; midfield Benjamin Gallndo, Ignacio Ambriz, Alberto Garcia Aspe; forward Luis Garcia, Hugo Sanchez, Zague. FORECAST: Mexico was a team on the rise last summer. But poor form in earty-1994 exhibition matches and the presence of Ireland and Norway, two longbail specialists who like to counterattack, leave Mexico in a tenuous first-round position in a group led by Italy.' A leg injury tias left forward Hugo Sanchez question- able. Mexico should qualify for the second round barely. , NORWAY COACH: Egil Olsen. WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1 (best finish, first round 1938). . QUAUFYINQ ROUTE: Europe Group 2 (finished first with 7-1-2 record). STYLE OF PLAY: Norway plays the ball long out of defense, then tries to outrun the opposition downfield-- STRENGTHS: Confidence is very high, with several key players-rounding into form; style of play could be effective in its rugged first-round group. -WEAKNESSES: Injuries to key defenders Tore Pedersen and Gunnar Halle (both are out) make Norway vulnerable at the back; handling the ball. IMPACT PLAYER: Jostein Ho. The gigantic 6-4 12 striker is the key to Norway's longbail style; it's his responsibility to control the ball while his teammates race into position.,. YOUNQ GUN TO WATCH: Erik Mykland, 22. Small in stature but a budding star in midfield, where his ball-control skills and passing give Norway more versatility. PROJECTED STARTING UNEUP: Goalkeeper Erik Thorstvedt; defense Roger Nilsen, Henning Berg, Stig Inge Bjomebye, Rune Bratseth; mid-field Oyvind Leorihardsen, Lars Bohinen, Kjetil Rekdal, Erik Mykland; forward Jan Aage Fjortoft, Jostein Flo. FORECAST: Some puristSTringB when Norwa takes the field, but its style of play was effective in qualifying and could cause touted Italy and Mexico real problems in the first round. If Norway can replace Pedersen and Halle in defense, advancement as far as the quarterfinals won't be out of the question. BELGIUM COACK Paul Van Himst WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 8 (best finish, fourth place 1986). QUAUFYINQ ROUTE: Europe Group 4 (finished second with 7-2-1 record).. STYLE OF PLAY: An aggressive counterattack-- Ing game is emphasized. STRENGTHS: Experience; solid in defense and goalkeeping. WEAKNESSES: Injuries to Georges Grun and Philippe Albert mayweaken the defense; lack of scoring punch. IMPACT PLAYER: Enzo Scifo. One of the world's most gifted midfielders, he has an w . abundance of skills, is intelligent and has the experience of playing in the last two World Cups. m YOUNQ GUN TO WATCH: Marc Wllmots. Maturing attacker, 25, who played at the 1990 M World Cup; he scored four goals in qualifying.- PROJECTED STARTING UNEUPi Goalkeeper -Michel Preud'homme; defense Rudl Smidts, ?7 Georges Grun, Philippe Albert, Dirk Medved;' - midfield Franky Van Der Elst, Danny Boffin, Lorenzo Staelens, Enzo Scifo; forward Marc Wilmots, Josip Weber. ' FORECAST: Of the traditional European partict-' " pants, Belgium is entering the worst-prepared, .with injuries and poor exhibition form (a 1-0 1oss to Malta). But with Saudi Arabia and Morocco in its group, second-round advancement still is likely. , . MOROCCO COACH: Abdellah Blinda. WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 2 (best finish, second round 1986). ' QUAUFYINQ ROUTE: Africa first-round Group F (finished first with 4-0-2 record), final-round ' Group B (finished first with 3-1-0 record). ' STYLE OF PLAY: Deliberate with emphasis on passing and quick attacks, ", STRENGTHS: Heat In Orlando shouldn't be a problem. WEAKNESS! S: Inexperience; lack of genuine world-class piayers; weak attacking. , IMPACT PLAYER: Rachid Daoudi. Still plays club soccer in Morocco; flashy midfielder most effective when given an attacking role. YOUNG GUN TO WATCH: Mustapha Hadji. Made debut in final World Cup qualifier against Zambia, an impressive 22-year-old who runs the show in the midfield. PROJECTED STARTING UNEUP: Goalkeeper Khalil Azmi; defense Lahcen Abrami, Ahmed Mashabi, Abdelkarim Ed Hedrioui, Noureddine Naybet; midfield Tahar El Khalej, Rachid Daoudi, Mustapha El Haddaoui, Mustapha Hadji; forward Abdelsalam Laghrissi, Mohammed Chaouch. . FORECAST: A team in transition, the 1994 edition is a mere shadow of the one that took West Germany to the wire in a second-round game eight years ago, losing 1-0. Morocco has! a chance to advance to the second round, but It probably must beat Saudi Arabia decisively in to get needed goal differential. NETHERLANDS COACH: Dick Advocaat. WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 5 (best finish, ' runner-up 1974, '78). . " " QUAUFYINQ ROUTE: Europe Group 2 (finished second with 6-1-3 record). ; STYLE OF PLAY: An aggressive attack, built up through the midfield and strengthened by play-ing two wings in a 3-3-4 formation. STRENGTHS; Strong forward line, keyed by wingers Brian Roy and Marc Overmars; presence of experienced veterans Frank Rijkaard and Ronald Koeman. WEAKNESSES: Relative inexperience in goal; 3-3-4 leaves Holland susceptible to counterattacks, especially with central defender Koeman beginning to slow down at the age of 31; loss of Ruud Gullit. IMPACT PLAYER: Forward Dennis Bergkamp. -Considered by some the best player in the world after Italy's Roberto Baggio; a brilliant goal-scorer whose best position is right behind thecenter forward. YOUNQ GUN TO WATCH: Marc Overmars. A skillful 21-year-old right-winger whose quickness and accurate passing makes the Dutch danger; ous up front. PROJECTED STARTING UNEUP: Goalkeeper , Ed De Goey; defense Frank De Boer, Ulrich Vart Gobbel, Ronald Koeman; midfield Frank v Rijkaard! Aron Winter, Wim Jonk; forward Brian Roy, Marc Overmars, Dennis Bergkamp, Ronald De Boer. FORECAST: Netherlands always is a tenuous ' proposition at best, sometimes falling apart due to internal conflicts or complacency. And the on-again, off-again status of veteran superstar Ruud Gullit hasn't helped morale. Nevertheless, Advocaat has done an excellent job molding this team together, tactically and mentally. An -appearance in the semifinals is a possibility. , 1 ) SAUDI ARABIA COACK Jorge Solari. WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: None. QUAUFYINQ ROUTE: Asia First-round Group' E (finished first with 40-2 record); final round (finished first with 2-0-3 record). STYLE OF PLAY: South American-influenced, ; with an emphasis on maintaining possession and attacking straight down the middle of the field. STRENGTHS: Strong up the middle; good qulck- ss and everaH skills. -. - WEAKNESSES: Defense, wings and goalkeeper all shaky; lack of experience at the World Cup , level. J HWPACT PLAYER: Majed Mohammed. Nicknamed the "Desert Pele," a measure of his stature in Asian soccer, this 35-year-old forward is a deadly striker and an inspiration to . ' teammates. YOUNQ GUN TO WATCH: Khalid Al Muwallid. A left-footed, 22-year-old midfielder, he is at his -best playing Just behind the forward line. Z-PROJECTED STARTING UNEUP: Goalkeeper Mohammed Al Deayea; defense Abdullah Al ' Dosari, Mohammed Al Khlawi, Mohammed Al. Jawad, Fuad Amin; midfield Ahmed Madani, Khalid Al Muwallid, Mansour Al Muainea; for- ward Saeed Owairan, Fahad Mehalel, Majed Mohammed. FORECAST: This is a team that is playing in Its first World Cup, has eight players under the age of 25 starting regularly and has gone through ' four coaches in eight months. Dont look for much from Saudi Arabia. 7 ! i

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