After landing Monday, the United States is focusing on correcting mistakes from friendlies, all while keeping an eye on England.After all the hype, hoopla and fanfare back home, the United States touched down in South Africa and got away from it all.
Well not entirely, but after arriving on Monday, the team checked into their new digs at the Irene Country Lodge, located in a rural area north of Johannesburg and south of Pretoria.
In contrast to 2006, when the team stayed in the urban center of Hamburg, this year, the closest establishments include a dairy farm, a lake, and a country store.
The weather was cool as the team began training on Tuesday - highs in the 60s and nighttime lows into the 40s.
One of the major adjustments the team will have to make is getting acclimated to the altitude - some regions of South Africa can reach 2,000-3,000 feet in elevation.
"You do feel the difference in the air obviously with the altitude, but at the same time I think we've acclimated well, with last year at the Confederations Cup and this go around, some of the boys know what to expect," said midfielder DaMarcus Beasley at a press conference transcribed by U.S. Soccer.
The team has plenty to accomplish before their last friendly vs. Australia on Saturday, including video reviews of their two most recent friendlies. After losing 4-2 to the Czech Republic last week, the team had a successful send-off to Africa, defeating Turkey 2-1 on Saturday with a full-strength roster.
Despite the win, there are certainly some kinks to work out, particularly in the back, where the defense has looked rather shaky of late.
"We'll be working in training as a unit, we’ll be watching video of what went wrong, and all of that is extremely helpful. But I think it just takes a little bit of time to get used to playing with one another again," said defender Jonathan Spector.
One player taking nothing for granted is midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, who, despite being just 28, will be playing in his third World Cup.
After fighting through injury and sporadic playing time with his club team Rangers, Beasley looked to be on the outside of the national team picture at various points during the past year.
"You need to be mentally strong, and I think that’s one area where my game has gotten better," Beasley said. "I had a tough year last year, and I never thought I would be able to be in this position, but it's great that I'm here and I think I've worked hard to get here."
Beasley could start on June 12 vs. England in one of the most anticipated soccer games in recent memory.
England named their final 23 man roster Tuesday, which included the surprise omission of winger Theo Walcott. For now though, the team is focusing on improvement, while always keeping the Brits in the back of their minds.
"I'm not sure there is much of a reaction to the side they selected. I think in the 30-man roster they were all talented players. But we don’t know what 11 they’re going to select for the game, and that's what's really important to us," Spector said.
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