Five notes on U.S. vs. France
France hosts the United States on Friday afternoon (2:55 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and ESPN3), in the Americans' penultimate game of 2011. Here are five notes in advance of the match.
• Facing 1998 world champion France, USA seeks to defeat a country with a World Cup title for the first time since topping Uruguay 2-1 in Washington, D.C. in 2002. The Americans have never defeated any of the eight world champions on the road, whether they had already won a title or not.
• France and the United States have played twice previously, both games in 1979. France won 6-0 in New Jersey in May and 3-0 in Paris in October. The only three players on USA's current roster who were born at the time of the last USA-France game are Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo and Tim Howard.
• The United States is winless in five straight games against European countries, last beating Turkey 2-1 in its 2010 World Cup sendoff match in Philadelphia. USA has also lost six consecutive road games against European teams, with the last victory a 3-0 win at Poland in 2008.
• The United States enters its final pair of matches this year with a 5-7-3 record in 2011. A loss or tie versus France will clinch USA's first losing calendar year since 1997. After a 5-5-4 record last year, this would also mark the first time USA failed to post a winning record in consecutive years since 1993 and '94.
• In five games under Jurgen Klinsmann, the United States has scored a total of two goals: one in a draw versus Mexico and one in a win over Honduras. That is the team's lowest five-game goal total since 1998-99, when USA scored one goal in Steve Sampson's last three games as head coach and zero in Bruce Arena's first pair of matches at the helm (hat tip to Elias Sports Bureau).