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US Soccer Team Looks  Forward to Mexico Match - 2002-06-15

The U.S. soccer team is excited about the opportunity to face arch-rival Mexico in South Korea in the second round of the World Cup.

It surely would have been hard to forecast this scenario at the start of the World Cup. But with Mexico finishing first in Group-G ahead of Italy and the USA placing second behind South Korea in Group-D, the two CONCACAF (North, Central and Caribbean Football Association)region rivals go head-to-head on Monday.

The big difference from most of their previous meetings is this game will be on neutral ground, in Jeonju, South Korea. U.S. coach Bruce Arena says that will be a better atmosphere that usual.

"In United States there's a large Mexican-American population. And we play frequently among each other," he explains. "And wherever we play, Mexico has the advantage, in terms of the home crowd. Regardless of where we play them, whether it's in Azteca [in Mexico City] or the United States, it always seems like we're playing away [in Mexico]."

Meaning the Mexicans usually have the better crowd support. That will not likely be the case here in South Korea, but coach Arena said even if it's 50-50 - or half and half - that will be better than usual when Mexico plays the U.S. soccer team.