OK not good enough if United States wants to survive pool play in tourney

Thursday, June 15, 2006

HAMBURG, Germany -- Bobby Convey came up with a rather stunning analysis of the United States' horrible opening World Cup loss to the Czech Republic: After four years of practices, scouting and skull sessions, U.S. players didn't know what they were supposed to do.

With their must-win match against Italy just two days away, the Americans were heading for the Ramstein Air Base, hoping to figure it all out.

"I think the reason why we didn't do well is because everyone did not do their role, maybe didn't know their role, maybe didn't know what to do," Convey said Wednesday.

"I don't think it was confusion. It wasn't that people didn't know where to go. We just kind of didn't really jell well together," he said. "It wasn't a negative thing. It's just that we kind of -- we just did OK. At a World Cup, it's not fine to do just OK."

Coach Bruce Arena didn't speak with reporters Wednesday, but on Tuesday he did promise changes.

Defender Oguchi Onyewu, one of only four starters praised by Arena, didn't think the Czechs dominated.

"I thought the game was a lot more even than the score would say. Overall, I don't think we played a terrible game," he said.

But Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was taken aback.

"I was surprised by the United States," he said. "I thought they had improved more."

The United States has never beaten Italy.

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