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Saturday, 25 May, 2002, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
Tough security for US
There is tight security at the entrance to the USA's hotel
Security is tight at the team's hotel

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They may have little chance of winning the World Cup but the United States do have the biggest security guard the tournament has ever seen.

Looking like a man who has just spent a season line-backing for the Dallas Cowboys he prowls around the team hotel barking orders to anyone who even looks like stepping out of line as the public face of the unprecedented security Team USA will be subject to here in Seoul.

The events of September 11th and the team's close proximity to North Korea, part of what President Bush has described as the "axis of evil", has prompted the authorities to make the team's safety the top priority.

Eight hundred members of Korea's national guard formed a human tunnel to allow the squad to walk into Incheon Airport without any hint of danger on Friday.

A suffocating security blanket has been thrown over the team hotel.

Everybody is searched on the way into a lobby liberally sprinkled with unsmiling, gun-toting members of the army and police.

Nothing has been left to chance and the attention to detail is appreciated the by the players.

"A lot of the guys are very happy to see all the security considering what is going on in the world", Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper Brad Friedel told BBC Sport Online.

Open Quote
1998 was a complete shambles for US soccer
Close Quote
Goalkeeper Brad Friedel

"Now that we're here, we're trying not to think about it but the scenes at the airport were certainly worth seeing."

It's all very different to what Friedel is used to at Ewood Park and he admits the entourage around them could be a little distracting.

"It has been very interesting. The players don't know what's going on behind the scenes.

"It's one of those situations you try not to think about very much but then you look up at times and there's a SWAT helicopter buzzing above your head.

"Once the tournament starts you have to concentrate on what is happening on the pitch."

United States and Blackburn keeper Brad Friedel
Friedel wants an improvement on their 1998 display

USA's profile has been raised by their presence in the same group at co-hosts South Korea and with Portugal and Poland joining them it's looking difficult for them to make progress.

Friedel just wants to improve on their dismal showing at France 98 when they failed to win a point.

"1998 was a complete shambles for US soccer and everybody was embarrassed by what happened. This time, even if we don't get out of the group it won't be because of a lack of effort or team spirit.

"If everybody gives it 110% we won't go home unhappy."

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BBC Sport's James Pearce
"The Koreans are leaving nothing to chance"
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GROUP D
  P GD PTS
SOUTH KOREA 3 +3 7
USA 3 -1 4
PORTUGAL 3 +2 3
POLAND 3 -4 3

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