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Pele's thpughts on the US national team


Pele pleased with U.S., puzzled by refs

By Steve Woodward, special for USA TODAY


By William West, AFP
The Yokohama skyline provides a dramatic backdrop for Pele, but the Brazilian legend says some of the sights he's seen in the World Cup have been less inspiring.

YOKOHAMA, Japan – Brazilian soccer legend Pele said Sunday he rarely has witnessed a World Cup finals with as many refereeing errors as the 2002 tournament, including an oversight that might have cost the U.S. a goal in its quarterfinal match against Germany. Speaking at a roundtable discussion at a Yokohama luxury hotel, the three-time World Cup champion in 1958, 1962 and 1970, said the tournament never is spared controversial calls by referees, but conceded "there have been more bad decisions in this World Cup."
Italy's and Spain's teams have publically accused officials assigned to their matches as leaning toward the hopes of the fairy-tale team from World Cup co-host South Korea.

Pele cited specifically a non-call in last Friday's USA-Germany quarterfinal match when a U.S. shot made contact with Germany's Torsten Frings appeared to get away with with a U.S. shot from the corner making contact with Frings' hand near the goal line and deflecting away. A goal by the U.S. then, in the 49th minute, would have tied the match 1-1.

"It's not a red card if he doesn't move," Pele said. "But he was moving. If he is standing at the goal like Jesus Christ (arms straight across), then it is different.

"I am sorry for the (referee's) mistake against Germany."

Even though he has seen errors, Pele said he is among the purists who do not support the idea of instant replay to overturn controversial calls.

Pele and Brazil invented what his countrymen refer to reverently as "the Beautiful Game", a free-flowing, creative brand of soccer that has been the team's trademark for four decades, since Pele burst onto the scene at a 17-year-old in 1958. This month, he said, the style of play he loves most was displayed by the most unlikely candidate.

"I am proud, and I like very much the way the American team plays," he said. "They never, never were afraid. They always moved forward, and the team was very well organized. We talk about the ‘beautiful game'. America was one of those teams that played the beautiful game, no doubt."

Pele said he was so convinced of the U.S. team's abilities that he sought out a friend from Mexico specifically to place a friendly wager in favor of a U.S. victory, which was what the U.S. delivered in its opening match of the second round last week.

"I bet against Mexico, and I won," he said, smiling as if the bet might have been substantial. "The thing about the American team is, when they change the players nothing is different, it's no problem. The team still plays the same."

Looking ahead to the June 30 championship match here in Yokohama, Pele said he has no problem envisioning his beloved Brazil meeting upstart South Korea.

"With all of the supporters of Korea, with the way they play, I think Korea has a chance to win (Tuesday in its semifinal against Germany)," he said. "They put all of their heart in their shoes. They have guts."

He declined to position Brazil as the favorite, though much of the soccer world now views them as such.

"Let's say either Korea or Germany is the favorite," Pele said. "I prefer it that way, not having Brazil as the favorite. Let's keep it like that."

Pele is previewing the final match for a global audience of Internet users via webcast, beginning Friday at www.mastercard.com/fifaworldcup.
 

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Not just a s Fan , but the god of soccer. To here Pele say we played " the beautiful game " is quiet compliment. And its nice to know that some of the all time greats are praisning us.
 
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