WORLD CUP SOCCER
Coach Bruce Arena oversaw the U.S. team's practice Monday in Norderstedt, Germany.
Arena wants more shots on goal and aggressiveness by U.S. offense
The Americans have a 2006 World Cup low of one shot on goal in two games so far
HAMBURG, Germany » U.S. shots at the World Cup have been scarcer than tickets.
The Americans have just one shot on goal in their first two games. Every other nation has at least four.
All times Hawaii time
» Germany 3, Ecuador 0
» Poland 2, Costa Rica 1
» Sweden 2, England 2, tie
» Paraguay 2, Trinidad and Tobago 0
» Portugal vs. Mexico, 4 a.m.
» Iran vs. Angola, 4 a.m. » Netherlands vs. Argentina, 9 a.m.
» Ivory Coast vs. Serbia-Montenegro, 9 a.m.
» Czech Republic vs. Italy, 4 a.m.
» Ghana vs. U.S., 4 a.m.
» Japan vs. Brazil, 9 a.m.
» Croatia vs. Australia, 9 a.m.
There's been only one U.S. goal -- scored when Italian defender Cristian Zaccardo knocked the ball into his own net.
Where's the offense?
"It takes the opportunity. It takes the right mind-set. And sometimes it takes a bit of luck," U.S. forward Brian McBride said yesterday, two days before the Americans' must-win match against Ghana.
If the Americans don't beat Ghana, they're goners, needing a victory and most likely an Italian win over the Czech Republic to advance.
McBride had a shiner under his left eye, the result of an Italian elbow in Saturday's 1-1 tie. It was a vicious game, and he aged a year since then, turning 34 on Monday.
McBride is the only American to score in multiple World Cups, getting the team's only goal in 1998, against Iran, and then connecting against Portugal and Mexico four years ago. He had a real good chance against the Azzurri, off a Landon Donovan pass, but he sent the ball wide.
America's lack of offense has been startling. According to FIFA's statistics, the United States had one shot on goal. That's by far the lowest total after two games for any of the tournament's 32 teams. Angola is next-to-last with four.
"We're getting the chances," Donovan said. "A little unlucky. A little not sharp in front of the goal. But that's the last thing I worry about."
Taking any shots at all has been an issue. The Americans had 14 in their first two games, ahead of only Trinidad and Tobago (13), Iran and Poland (12 each), and Tunisia (10).
"We were facing some pretty good goalies in the first two games in Petr Cech and (Gianluigi) Buffon," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said, "and I think when a shooter looks at the goal and he sees those goalies in there, their dimensions and their angles, you tend to be a little more precise instead of just hitting the frame."
In other words, take a crack.
"Just get some shots on goal and test the 'keeper," Arena said.
Donovan got goals against Poland and Mexico at the 2002 tournament, but has gone scoreless in 17 straight international games since July 9 against Canada. After disappearing for stretches in the 3-0 loss to the Czechs, he came alive against the Italians.
Arena wants to see more of that.
"I think Landon we need to get a little bit more aggressive," Arena said. "The other day, Landon had played the one ball up to Brian, where maybe some other players continue to go to goal, take on the last guy and try to get a shot off."
Under Arena, the United States adopted an offense far more flowing than allowed by his predecessors. He wanted to show that the Americans can play entertaining soccer, and they did in South Korea four years ago.
Victories over Portugal and Mexico, a tie with co-host South Korea and a 1-0 loss to Germany gained the United States some measure of respect in the soccer world. The way the Americans played against the Czechs was a step back, but their tie against the Italians was one of their best games ever -- even though they had no shots on goal.
"I don't think we have a psychological block in terms of having a look at the goal. I think we'll be fine," Arena said. "I think we need to show and create chances on Thursday."
England wins group by tying Sweden
COLOGNE, Germany » England finally got a result against Sweden it can live with.
No, not a win -- that has been too much to ask for. A 2-2 tie yesterday, however, was enough for the English to win Group B at the World Cup.
Henrik Larsson tied it off a throw-in, getting the slightest touch to deflect the ball into the net in the 90th minute. England hasn't beaten the Swedes since way back in 1968 -- seven years before David Beckham was born -- a streak of frustration that is now at 12 games.
But the tie means Sweden has to face three-time champion and World Cup host Germany in Munich in the second round Saturday.
"We won the group and that's what counts," England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said.
Joe Cole scored in the 34th minute, and then set up Steven Gerrard's go-ahead goal in the 85th for England. But the English couldn't put away the Swedes, a problem that has lasted nearly four decades.
Marcus Allback had tied it 1-1 for the Swedes on a header in the 51st minute.
England plays Ecuador on Sunday in Stuttgart. But it might have to do it without striker Michael Owen, who left in the fourth minute with a nasty-looking injury to his right knee.
"It does not look good," Eriksson said.
Asked if Owen might miss the rest of the tournament, Eriksson said, "Maybe, we don't know yet."
England looked as if it might finally end its misery against Sweden thanks to Cole. He scored on a brilliant 30-yard shot, then got the ball to Gerrard for the go-ahead score.
But Sweden, which pressured England throughout the second half, came through in the dying moments.
Larsson barely brushed the throw-in from Tobias Linderoth, but it was enough to get by Sol Campbell and England goalkeeper Paul Robinson. It set off a raucous celebration by the Sweden fans and quieted the English, who had been singing "God Save the Queen" only a few minutes earlier.
"What's clear is we have to defend better in the match against Ecuador," Eriksson said.
Sweden is 4-0-8 in the streak against England, with four of the matches coming while Eriksson -- a Swede -- has coached England.
England got a spark from Wayne Rooney, making his first start since breaking a bone in his foot April 29. But it was Cole who made things happen. He came frustratingly close a couple of times in the first half before breaking through in the 34th.
After scoring, Cole ran to the corner of the field, tapping his chest in salute to the roaring England fans, before Crouch picked him up from behind and he was mobbed by the rest of his teammates.
And after Allback made it 1-1, it was Cole once again providing for England. He sent a beautiful cross from the edge of the box to Gerrard, who'd come on in the 69th minute. Gerrard leaped and knocked the ball into the goal, just past Isaksson.
Though England came in with an eight-game unbeaten, it hadn't played its best in Germany. But with Rooney back in the starting lineup, England controlled the tempo from kickofft.
Paraguay 2, Trinidad and Tobago 0
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany » An own-goal went in Paraguay's favor and knocked Trinidad and Tobago right out of the World Cup. Brent Sancho headed a ball past his own goalkeeper in the 25th minute and Trinidad and Tobago never recovered.
Trinidad came into its final first-round match with slim hopes of advancing, needing a win against already- eliminated Paraguay, an England win over Sweden and help on goal differential. The Soca Warriors were unable to do their part and the rest did not matter.
Paraguay's other goal was by Nelson Cuevas in the 86th minute.