US ready for Reaggae Boyz challenge

CHICAGO, July 30, 2011 (AFP) - One day after appointing retired German star Jurgen Klinsmann as coach, the United States learned it will face Jamaica in the first round of North American qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The Americans were drawn into second round qualifying Group A with the "Reggae Boyz" as well as two teams from first-round play, which begins next November. The second round will run from June through October of next year.

Two teams from that second round group will advance to the final stage of CONCACAF qualifying in 2013 that features six nations.

The top three from that 2013 round robin will advance to the World Cup while the fourth place team must face a squad from Oceania for a trip to Brazil.

"The preliminary draw is an important starting point as it allows us to begin preparations for our qualifying campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup," US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said.

"Teams in CONCACAF improve every year and that makes advancing to the World Cup more difficult but we're look forward to the journey and the opportunity to be part of the world's biggest event in what will be an incredible atmosphere."

Joining the Americans and Jamaica will be one team from Grenada, Guatemala, Belize and St. Vincent and the Grenadines and one from Haiti, Curacao, Antigua and the US Virgin Islands.

Bob Bradley, who had already signed a contract to coach the Americans through 2014, was fired Thursday and replaced by Klinsmann, who is now charged with guiding the US squad into a seventh consecutive World Cup finals.

The Americans are 10-0 with eight drawn in the all-time rivalry with Jamaica and defeated the "Reggae Boyz" in June's CONCACAF Gold Cup quarter-finals.

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