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Arsenal can lay down a marker

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By ESPN Staff

USSF and national team finalize labor deal

HARTFORD, Connecticut -- The U.S. team has ended the chance of a labor dispute in the build-up to next year's World Cup by signing a new five-year collective bargaining agreement with the national soccer federation.

Under the agreement announced on Monday by the team and the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF), players will earn $3,750 per World Cup appearance and $3,000 for friendlies.

The World Cup squad will earn $150,000 per point in the first round and $2.7 million for reaching the knockout stage.

The federation also said it would pay the players $3.75 million if they won the World Cup and $3 million for reaching the final.

The squad was paid $1.35 million for qualifying for the finals for the fifth time in a row.

"We're pleased to have reached an agreement," said federation president Dr Robert Contigugulia in a statement.

"We've been confident throughout this process that an amicable agreement would be reached that would positively address the desires of both parties.

"Our focus now, as it has always been, is to move forward and continue our preparation for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany."

The U.S. has been drawn in Group E alongside Italy, Ghana and the Czech Republic.