US team swap 5-star hotel for Ramstein Air Base

15th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

15 June 2006, HAMBURG - Maybe a touch of home will help the US team for their World Cup clash with Italy, even if it means trading a five- star hotel for a military base.

15 June 2006

HAMBURG - Maybe a touch of home will help the US team for their World Cup clash with Italy, even if it means trading a five- star hotel for a military base.

The US were heading Thursday from their base in Hamburg to sprawling Ramstein Air Base, which is close to Saturday's match venue in Kaiserslautern, another big US military town.

FIFA's designated team hotel is in Mannheim, but the Americans chose Ramstein - the biggest US military base overseas - in part because it is closer.

"But I think our primary concern is security," coach Bruce Arena told reporters. He didn't elaborate on the choice of pre-match camp, saying only, "I don't make those decisions."

Players say they are looking forward to American food and will meet with US troops at Ramstein. They will be staying in apartments on-base, but the setting is a change from their luxury hotel in Hamburg, guarded around the clock by police.

The US squad stayed at Ramstein in March when they were in Germany for a World Cup warm-up against Poland.

After a listless showing in their 3-0 rout by Czech Republic in their first World Cup game, the US need any boost they can get for the match against Italy - the land of Arena's grandparents.

The US fell behind against the Czechs after five minutes on a Jan Koller header that caught the defence off-guard.

Arena said the team analyzed a tape of the first half and that he would make "some changes" for the next game, but gave no details.

"We just have a draw where we opened up with one of the best teams in the world and there's very little margin of error," Arena said.

He said he was confident his squad would rise to the occasion against Italy.

"This is the World Cup," he said. "This is the moment to shine."

On the Italian side, he cited strikers Luca Toni and Alberto Gilardino as the main threats. "This team has great strikers, a bunch of good players," Arena said.

But his loyalties are clear for the game against his ancestral country.

"I'm born in America, I'm an American," said Arena. "I have Italian heritage but that's my only connection with Italy. I've been there three times in my life."

DPA

Subject: World Cup, German news

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