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Reyna Earns Spot on All-Star Team

Soccer: U.S. midfielder, who led team to quarterfinals, is one of 16 players selected. Four Brazilians picked.

June 29, 2002|From Associated Press

YOKOHAMA, Japan — First the American team upset Portugal. Later, it won its first knockout-round game. Now, the United States has its first World Cup all-star.

Midfielder Claudio Reyna was among 16 players voted to the all-star team of the 2002 World Cup by the FIFA Technical Study Group.

Josef Venglos, the head of the group, noted the improvement Reyna has made and praised his ability to organize the midfield and his physical fitness.

"This is a great honor and I'm flattered to be included amongst a list of such great players," Reyna said in a statement released by the U.S. Soccer Federation. "This type of award is all about the team, and obviously all of our guys deserve recognition for the kind of performances we put on the field.

"We are very proud of how we represented the United States at this World Cup."

In 1994, U.S. defender Alexi Lalas, now with the Galaxy, was named one of nine honorable mention picks after FIFA selected a first team of 11. The last two World Cups, FIFA has selected only one team of 16.

Other midfielders selected with Reyna were Rivaldo and Ronaldinho of Brazil, Yoo Sang-Chul of South Korea and Michael Ballack of Germany, who scored the game-winning goal against the United States in the quarterfinals.

Pele, who earlier in the tournament tabbed England's Nicky Butt as the top player in the field, now has a new pick.

"Butt was a good player, but Ronaldinho is the one who surprises me," said the Brazilian soccer legend, who serves as a consultant to the TSG.

Two strikers from Sunday's final headline the selections up front. Ronaldo and Miroslav Klose will meet when Brazil and Germany play in the 17th World Cup final.

Senegal's El Hadji Diouf and Turkey's Hasan Sas round out the group of forwards.

Germany's Oliver Kahn, who has given up one goal in his team's six matches, was chosen for the goalkeeper position, along with Turkey's Rustu Recber, whose heroics helped the Turks reach the semifinals.

Brazil's Roberto Carlos, England's Sol Campbell, South Korea's Hong Myung-Bo, Turkey's Alpay Ozalan and Spain's Fernando Hierro were the selections on defense.

Only players from nations that reached the quarterfinals were eligible to make the team.

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