US team stopping in Fla. on way to World Cup

The U.S. national team will stop in Florida on its way to the World Cup, but not in South Florida. The US will play Nigeria in Jacksonville on June 7 as as part of a three-game send-off series.

The U.S. begins the Send-Off Series against Azerbaijan at 7 p.m. PT on May 27 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Calif., and will then travel to the East Coast for the next two matches. In the second match, the U.S. faces Turkey on June 1 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., kicking off at 2 p.m. ET. The U.S. concludes the series on June 7 at 6 p.m. ET against Nigeria at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.

Playing three games over 12 days and criss-crossing the nation is similar to the schedule the U.S. will face in Brazil in the first round.

99 Days to Go...Ukraine beats USA 2-0, Neymar and Ronaldo shine, Spain wins...

The World Cup is 99 Days away!! I'm back from covering the Sochi Olympics, and it's time to zero in on the Biggest Sporting Event on the Planet. Come to this blog every day for soccer news, photos, polls and commentary...would love to hear from all you readers about your views as we head into the Cup. Michelle.

(AP) –  Neymar scored his second international hat trick to lead Brazil over South Africa 5-0 Wednesday night and Cristiano Ronaldo had a pair of goals to set Portugal's career scoring record in a 5-1 win over Cameroon. Just 99 days before the tournament opens in Sao Paulo, all World Cup teams had matches on the only date before mid-May that clubs had to release their players.

In Cyprus, in a match that was moved from Kharkiv because of the political unrest in the Ukraine, the U.S. lost to that beleaguered country's national squad, 2-0.

One banner in the stands read "Ukraine is Undivided!" on the top and "One Country — One Team!" on the bottom. Ukrainian fans sang their nation's anthem in the final moments, and some broke into a chant of "No war in Ukraine!" after the final whistle, referring to Russia's military intervention in the Crimean peninsula.

"Our country is facing difficult times now, we must support our team and our country," said Oleg Ivanovskyi a fan from Kiev currently residing in Larnaca. "Ukraine lives and will live. This friendly match is important for us to show the friendship between the U.S. and Ukraine. The friendship between the two countries is more important than the score."

Andriy Yarmolenko scored in the 12th minute and Marko Devic in the 68th as Ukraine exposed the shaky American central defense of Oguchi Onyewu and Anthony Brooks.

Ukraine's players linked arms on shoulders during their national anthem of their nation, and players in both starting lineups bowed their heads as they stood on the field before the game for a moment of silence for the victims of violence in Ukraine.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said his team's thoughts were with the Ukrainian people.

"You feel for that country. You feel for that nation, and there's nothing more than wishing them well and to solve these issues peacefully," Klinsmann said.

At 18th, Ukraine is the highest-ranking nation that failed to qualify for the World Cup. The match marked the last chance for Klinsmann to evaluate his Europe-based players before he chooses his 23-man World Cup roster in mid-May. He will use a squad mostly from Major League Soccer for an April 2 exhibition against Mexico at Glendale, Ariz.

"We're disappointed with the result," U.S. captain Clint Dempsey said. "We just have to do a better job and learn from our mistakes."

Ukraine went ahead when the U.S. failed on an attempted offside trap. Yevhen Konoplyanka sent a looping pass from just before the midfield stripe to Denys Harmash, who split Onyewu and Brooks and trapped the ball at the top of the penalty area. Goalkeeper Tim Howard blocked his shot, but Harmash picked up the rebound and squared the ball to Yarmolenko, his Dynamo Kiev teammate. He slotted the ball past Brooks with a left-footed shot from 6 yards for his 15th international goal.

The U.S. showed more spark at the start of the second half, and Jozy Altidore put an open header over the crossbar following a cross from Cameron.

But Devic scored two minutes after entering when he outran Fabian Johnson onto Roman Bezus' headed pass from inside the midfield circle and cut the ball back to his left foot. Playing a day before his 35th birthday, Howard blocked the initial shot with a sprawling save, but Devic latched onto the rebound and slid the ball between Johnson and Brooks with a left-footed shot from 15 yards.

Playing 99 days before the World Cup opens in Brazil, the U.S. wore its new Nike jerseys with collars that resemble polo shirts. The Americans changed all 11 starters from the 2-0 win over South Korea on Feb. 1 at Carson, Calif.

"Tonight wasn't great," Howard said, "but it's not the end of the world, either."

In other matches, Neymar raised his total to 30 international goals by scoring in the 41st and 46th minutes and in second-half stoppage time in Johannesburg. Oscar and Fernandinho also had goals for Cup host Brazil, which wore its home yellow jerseys in the first half and switched to road blue after the half.

Ronaldo's goals in the 21st and 83rd minutes raised his total to 49 in 110 matches since his international debut in 2003. The 29-year-old has two goals more the previous Portuguese record set by Pauleta from 1997-2006.

"I knew it would come eventually," Ronaldo said. "It's special because I've been in the national team for 10 years now. It's all down to hard work."

Defending champion Spain beat visiting Italy 1-0 in a 63-minute goal by Pedro Rodriguez. England won 1-0 at home against Denmark on Daniel Sturridge's headed goal from Adam Lallana's cross in the 82nd minute.

"I don't think we were effective as we wanted to be because we didn't get the ball forward quick enough," England coach Roy Hodgson said.

Argentina and Lionel Messi were held to a 0-0 tie at Romania. Germany beat visiting Chile 1-0 as Mario Goetze scored in the 16th minute.

France beat the visiting Netherlands 2-0, ending a 17-game unbeaten streak for the Dutch. Karim Benzema scored in the 32nd minute off a pass from Blaise Matuidi, who scored in the 41st.

Belgium, thought by some to be a World Cup contender, tied 2-2 at home against Ivory Coast. The Belgians built a two-goal lead as Marouane Fellaini scored in the 18th minute and Radja Nainggolan in the 51st before Didier Drogba scored his 63rd international goal in the 74th and Max Gradel got the tying goal in the second minute of stoppage time.

In London, Ecuador rallied to beat Australia 4-3. Fidel Martínez, Segundo Castillo, Enner Valencia and Edison Mendez scored for Ecuador. New York Red Bulls player Tom Cahill scored two for Australia to become the country's leading scorer with 31 goals.

Japan got four goals in the first 13 minutes in a 4-2 win over visiting New Zealand, with Shinji Okazaki opening and closing his team's scoring around a penalty kick by Shinji Kagawa and Masato Morishige's header off Keisuke Honda's free kick. Chris Wood scored twice for New Zealand, which failed to qualify for the World Cup.

At the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Mexico and Nigeria played to a scoreless draw in front of 68,212 fans. Raul Jimenez's late header for Mexico went just wide.

In Central America, New England Revolution forward Jerry Bengston and Jerry Palacios scored in Honduras' 2-1 home victory over Venezuela, and Arsenal forward Joel Campbell and Jorge Rojas scored in Costa Rica's 2-0 victory over visiting Paraguay.


MLS Commish: Beckham-Miami announcement in "early Feb''

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber told reporters today at the league draft in Philadelphia that an announcement on David Beckham's Miami expansion MLS team will be in "early February.''

Garber said he was in Miami last week, working out finances and a viable stadium plan.

Check the Miami Herald for more details.

In other news, England's World Cup team will play tuneup games in Miami at Sun Life Stadium June 4 vs. Ecuador (3 p.m.) and June 7 vs. Honduras (4:45 p.m.).

The US women's national team plays Russia in Boca Raton's FAU Stadium on Feb. 8.


Vote: World Cup Group of Death?

LIVE: World Cup draw...

Hey there soccer junkies...

Admit it, you are playing hooky from work to follow the World Cup draw from Brazil on ESPN2 or Univision...Definitely an exciting day. The World Cup seems more "real'' once the draw is done. The Carnaval has officially begun...

Stay with the Miami Herald for full coverage...and share your thoughts. Would love to hear from you.

My husband just pointed out that the first image from Brazil World Cup is a hostess in a VERY revealing dress! Welcome to Brazil!

Here we go...

A1 Brazil

B1 Spain

C1 Colombia

D1 Uruguay

E1 Switzerland

F1 Argentina

G1 Germany

H1 Belgium


Uruguay gets Italy in its group.

Spain gets Chile in its group.

Brazil gets Cameroon in its group

Switzerland gets Ecuador.

Colombia gets Ivory Coast

Argentina gets Nigeria

Germany gets Ghana

Belgium gets Algeria


Group A: Brazil, Cameroon, Mexico, Croatia

Group B: Spain, Chile, Australia, Netherlands

Group C: Colombia, Ivory Coast, Japan, Greece

Group D: Uruguay, Italy, Costa Rica, England

Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, Honduras, France

Group F: Argentina, Nigeria, Iran, Bosnia

Group G: Germany, Ghana, USA, Portugal

Group H: Belgium, Algeria, SKorea, Russia

On quick glance, looks like toughest groups are B, G and D. Easiest look like E and F and H. You agree?





World Cup Draw! Friday! 11:30 a.m!

The world will pause at 11:30 a.m. today for the World Cup Draw from Brazil. We will finally find out how the 32 teams will be divided, who plays who, and where.

The 90-minute show will be televised on ESPN2 and Univision.

Send us your thoughts once the draw is revealed. You nervous? Excited? Buckle your seat belts!


And the 32nd team is...URUGUAY!

After two years of qualifying matches, the 2014 World Cup field is set!

Here you go...

USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras

Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Chile, Ecuador

Spain, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, Italy, England, Portugal, Greece, Bosnia, Croatia, Russia, France

Japan, Iran, South Korea, Australia

Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Algeria, Cameroon

Draw is on Dec. 6! Then we can make predictions!


Beckham back in town!!!


A very reliable source confirms that David Beckham is in Miami today, having dinner tonight with Marcelo Claure and Mayor Carlos Gimenez, and they will be scouting potential MLS stadium sites tomorrow. The Brazil national team is also in town, training for Saturday's game vs. Honduras at Sun Life Stadium.

Beckham AND Neymar in Miami tonight. Epicenter of the soccer universe!!

Stay tuned!


Italian announcer goes insane over Bradley goal

If you haven't heard this audio of an Italian announcer's reaction to Michael Bradley's huge goal for Roma over the weekend, you MUST listen to it now!



It's Friday Oct. 11, which means it's World Cup qualifying day! Lots of big matches going on all over the world. The US has already clinched, but lots of teams haven't. So, grab some snacks and plop on your sofa. Or, set your DVR. Here are some of the bigger matches of the day...

England vs. Montenegro, 2:45 p.m., Fox Sports 1

Colombia vs. Chile, 5 p.m. (This should be a fun one!)

Honduras vs. Costa Rica, 5 p.m., BeIN Sport USA

Ecuador vs. Uruguay, 5 p.m.

Venezuela vs. Paraguay, 5 p.m.

USA vs. Jamaica, 6:30 p.m., ESPN (US already in, but "A'' squad playing)

Argentina vs. Peru, 7 p.m., BeIN Sport USA

Mexico vs. Panama, 9:30 p.m., Univision (Mexico on the ropes..can they pull it out?)