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Platinum draw in more ways than one
by Paul Kennedy, December 5th, 2009 7AM



[WORLD CUP 2010 DRAW] The USA got several breaks with its Group C draw. One of them was its position at C2, which means the team will have minimal travel issues since its three venues -- Rustenburg, Johannesburg and Tshwane/Pretoria -- are situated near each other. The Yanks, who also avoid long treks from the coast and changes in climate and altitude, are familiar with all three stadiums. They played there during the 2009 Confederations Cup.

USA-England (June 12)
RUSTENBURG (altitude: 4,920 feet). Home to one of the country's richest tribes, the Bafokeng Nation -- hence the stadium Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace -- Rustenburg is located at the foothills of the Magaliesburg Mountains in the platinum capital of the world. The 42,000-seat Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, venue of the 3-0 U.S. win over Egypt at the Confederations Cup, is only a 25-minute drive to tourist center Sun City and 70 minutes to Johannesburg.

USA-Slovenia (June 18)
JOHANNESBURG (altitude: 5,750). The USA will playing on familiar ground when it faces Slovenia in J'burg. Ellis Park (capacity: 65,000) was the site of the 2009 Confederations Cup final, where the Americans fell to Brazil, 3-2, after leading by two goals at the half.

USA-Algeria (June 23)
TSHWANE/PRETORIA (altitude: 3,980). The USA has also played at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium, the venue for its opening game against Italy at the Confederations Cup. The stadium now seats 50,000 but only held 2,000 fans when the first concrete structure was built in 1923. Located 40 minutes by car from Johannesburg, Tshwane/Pretoria is the capital of South Africa.

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