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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jun 8, 2012

Howard: United States must claim win

United States goalkeeper Tim Howard expects to see Jurgen Klinsmann's team pile pressure on Antigua & Barbuda when they meet in the third round of World Cup qualifying.

The US begin their campaign in Florida against a team who reached the current stage by winning a second-round group containing Haiti, Curacao and US Virgin Islands.

Antigua & Barbuda are arguably the weakest team left in the CONCACAF qualifying competition, while the US are expected to book their place at Brazil 2014.

Coached by former Germany striker Klinsmann, the United States had two disappointing performances in their last friendlies, losing 4-1 to Brazil's Olympic team and being held 0-0 by Canada.

But Howard knows it should be a different outcome this time, with Antigua & Barbuda competing at this stage for the first time and made up largely of the players from Antigua Barracuda FC - a club side who play in the third division of the US league.

"We're at home so we need to win," Everton keeper Howard said. "We need to really put a lot of pressure on them and make them feel like they're going to be in a really difficult game."

Alongside the US in Group A are Jamaica, who last qualified for the World Cup in 1998 and begin their campaign against Guatemala.

Mexico are the hot candidates in Group B, even more so after a 2-0 win over Brazil in their last friendly. They tackle Guyana, who are not expected to be a major threat.

Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre said: "We will never underestimate any rival. That's the key for us to get good results against everybody.

"We have always shown respect for our rivals and we won't change it. Our main concern at this point is our own preparation and to reach the match at our best shape."

Costa Rica and El Salvador also play in Group B, with the teams expected to be fighting for second place behind Mexico.

Group C starts as the most balanced, without a clear favourite. Honduras, who reached the 2010 finals in South Africa, play Panama in their opener, while Cuba and Canada clash in La Habana.

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