United States coach Bob Bradley believes the winter conditions in South Africa can have a positive effect in elevating the standard of football at the 2010 FIFA World Cup that kicks of on 11 June at Soccer City in Johannesburg.
Speaking to FIFA.com upon his team's arrival at the OR Tambo International Airport, Bradley said the cold weather will be a blessing in disguise for many of the teams. He is also of the opinion that teams that have played on South African soil before will be in a better position to succeed this June and July, and the United States, having played here just 11 months ago, will be one of those teams.
“We have been here before, we have played in these conditions. The players know what to expect. It’s good to be back in South Africa again. What I can say is that the team is ready to get started here. This World Cup is in the winter months, and that means it’s going to be cold. That is good for football, because that means teams are going to play at a high pace and tempo,” Bradley told FIFA.com.
The United States was one of eight teams that participated at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, where they finished surprise runners-up to Brazil. The final game was a painful moment for the Americans, who went into the break sitting on a 2-0 cushion following a first half performance that shocked everyone.
However, history will record that the Americans allowed Brazil to put three goals past Tim Howard in the second half. Since then, lessons have been learned and Bradley, the team patriarch, is now wiser – not only about the level of competition but also about the conditions that his team will be expected to perform under.
“We will be playing at the same stadiums, the same cities, so that means we will confront the same conditions. So far the preparations have been good. We respect everyone in our group, we have some good teams. It’s going to be a tough job, but we have to be ready. We have enough time between now and June 12th to acclimatise. I think it’s going to be great World Cup,” Bradley added.
The United States will face England at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on 12 June. They will then play Slovenia in Johannesburg before their last group match against Algeria at the Loftus Stadium in Tshwane/Pretoria. “We need a good start to the tournament, that’s important for us. We are looking forward to it,” the coach concluded.