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USA to face Slovakia for the first time
by Paul Kennedy, October 27th, 2009 7AM



[WORLD CUP 2010 COUNTDOWN] The U.S. national team will face Slovakia for the first time when they meet Nov. 14 in Bratislava. The match comes four days before it faces Denmark in Aarhus. The  two games will give national team coach Bob Bradley a chance to look at European-based players against World Cup 2010 finalists.
"We are very pleased about the opportunity to face another quality opponent on European soil," said Bradley. "Slovakia finished on top of a very competitive group in UEFA qualifying, and has demonstrated their capabilities throughout the process.  With so few available dates for international matches between now and the World Cup, having the chance to play two fellow World Cup finalists is a big plus in terms of our preparations."
Slovakia qualified for the World Cup for the first time since beginning competitive international soccer as an independent nation in 1993, following the division of the former Czechoslovakia into two independent states -- Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Four days after blowing a chance to clinch its group when it fell, 2-0, at home to Slovenia, Slovakia recovered and captured a must-win game at Poland, 1-0.

There was plenty of luck. The heavy snow made it almost impossible for either team to play, and Slovakia got on own goal by Seweryn Gancarczyk in the third minute. On the Poles' best opportunity, Mariusz Lewandowski's shot hit the crossbar.

Slovakia has also been helped by the success of its players abroad: Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel, Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik and Lille striker Robert Vittek. Goalie Jan Mucha plays in Poland for Legia Warsaw.

Teenager Vladimir Weiss, son of the national team coach of the same name, plays for Manchester City.

Lubos Kamenar (Nantes)
Jan Mucha (Legia Warsaw)

Jan Durica (Lok. Moscow)
Martin Petras (Cesena)
Kornel Salata (Slovan Bratislava)
Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)
Radoslav Zabavnik (Terek Grozny)

Marek Hamsik (Napoli)
Miroslav Karhan (Mainz)
Kamil Kopunek (Spartak Trnava)
Jan Kozak (Slovan Bratislava)
Stanislav Sestak (Bochum)
Zdenko Strba (Xanthi)
Vladimir Weiss (Man. City)

Robert Vittek (Lille)
Erik Jendrisek (Kaiserslautern)


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