Specs ready for Czechs

Jonathan Spector's United States will take their preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup up a notch when they host the Czech Republic in a friendly on Tuesday.

The Americans will face the Czechs, who themselves failed to qualify for South Africa, in the first of two Send-Off Series fixtures at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut.

The West Ham United defender, who is aiming to play in his first World Cup finals after being ruled out of Germany 2006 by a shoulder injury, is believed to be vying with Hannover 96's Steve Cherundolo for the starting right-back berth.


However, the 24-year-old is a versatile performer and could also be included at left-back or in the centre of defence by coach Bob Bradley

The Czech Republic match will be broadcast live in the UK by ESPN, with kick-off at 1am on Wednesday UK-time.

Bradley's squad have been training in Princeton, New Jersey, ahead of their Send-Off Series fixtures, which will also see them face Turkey at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon.

Closer to home, Fabio Daprela will hope to end a memorable season by helping Switzerland to qualify for the UEFA European Under-19 Championship finals.

The highly-rated 19-year-old will be an important figure as the Swiss begin their Elite Round qualifying campaign by taking on mini-league hosts Austria in Schwaz on Tuesday evening.

Daprela and his team-mates will face Denmark in Hall on Thursday afternoon before completing the round of fixtures against Serbia in Schwaz on Sunday evening.


The attack-minded full-back will hope to boost a squad that has been shorn of its best-known players. FC Basel winger Xherdan Shaqiri has been named in Switzerland's provisional squad for the World Cup in South Africa, while newly-signed VFL Wolfsburg forward Nassim Ben Khalifa is with the U21 squad.

The Hammers defender, BSC Young Boys goalkeeper Rene Borkovic and midfielder Alexandre Pasche, St. Gallen defender Michael Lang and FC Zurich forward Admir Mehmedi have been earmarked by UEFA as Switzerland's players to watch.

However it is Serbia, who reached the semi-finals of the European U19 Championship a year ago, enter the Elite Round as group favourites.

Switzerland are aiming to reach their first finals since qualifying for back-to-back tournaments in 1991 and 1992.