U.S. players finally escaped their gilded luxury Saturday, leaving their 12th century chateau in Beaujolais wine country and traveling by train to Paris.
About 100 family and friends greeted the American team, which arrived on a high-speed TGV train at the Gare de Lyon."It finally feels like we're at the World Cup," defender-midfielder Mike Burns said, "with the atmosphere driving through Paris, seeing the Belgian and Holland fans going to tonight's game."
U.S. coach Steve Sampson appears ready to start a defensive-oriented lineup, based on the three players he brought to the news conference: Burns, defender Thomas Dooley and goalkeeper Kasey Keller.
"I would say he is one of the top three, four goalkeepers in the world - no question," Sampson boldly proclaimed of Keller. "It's not just his performance against Brazil."
Keller gained much worldwide attention in February when he made several spectacular saves against Romario as the United States beat the Brazilians for the first time ever in nine meetings.
Keller, too, said the U.S. team must play a defensive game to beat Germany, the European champion.
"I can't remember the last time we got in a four-goal-scored contest with a team and won," he said.
The U.S. team, at least some of the players, visited the Eiffel Tower with their families on Saturday. Sampson gave the players time to spend with their families and left additional time for players to be on their own after Sunday's workout at the Parc des Princes.
SAYING GOODBYE: U.S. captain Thomas Dooley said at the news conference he will end his international career shortly after the World Cup. The former German has been especially looking forward to the game against the country he grew up in.
"It's a great finish for my career in soccer," Dooley, 37, said.