U.S. men greeted by high-profile security
The United States squad arrived in Johannesburg on Monday following a 17-hour flight, with visible security for the Americans' high-profile arrival ahead of the World Cup no different to that which greeted other teams in South Africa.
Armed special task-force members, dressed in dark blue uniforms, surrounded the South African Airways plane at the O.R. Tambo airport as the players emerged on a cool, overcast afternoon.
After leading his team off the plane, coach Bob Bradley immediately picked out the opening game against England, on June 12, as a chance to make an impression on the tournament.
"There has been a lot of attention on our first game with England," Bradley said. "It's a great opportunity for us.
"But we certainly know that Slovenia and Algeria are excellent teams. It will be a tough group and we are looking forward to it.
Plain-clothes security officials, wearing earpieces and sunglasses, also patrolled the arrivals facility - set aside for World Cup teams - where the Americans cleared immigration.
The country has a familiar feel for the U.S. squad, who enjoyed an impressive showing in the Confederations Cup in South Africa last year.
Bradley's team reached the final of the competition and played at the grounds in Rustenburg and Pretoria and Johannesburg's Ellis Park - the same venues it visits in the group stages.
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"We're very fortunate that we have had experience here," Bradley said to reporters on the airport tarmac. "The people here in South Africa have always treated us so well so in that regard, it's a comfortable feeling to be back for the World Cup.
"We are very excited... The travel went really well and the team is looking to get started with our work here."
Dressed in blue-and-red team tracksuits, the U.S. players then boarded a bus for the 25-minute drive up to their base at the Irene Country Lodge, a luxurious, rural-style hotel in a village between Johannesburg and the capital city Pretoria.
The lodge is billed as "a haven of peace and tranquility in the hub of South Africa's economic heartland".
It's where the U.S. team will acclimatize to the cool, early-winter conditions ahead of a final warmup match against Australia on Saturday - which Bradley said would be a good way to finish.
"The final game against Australia is our last chance to work on some things," Bradley said.
"I think the weather here is great for football. It's going to mean that the games are played at a good tempo. We have enough time between now and June 12 to acclimatize so I think, on that end, it's going to be a great World Cup."