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U.S. coach Arena expects big guns to reach last 16

© Reuters 2002

SEOUL, June 9 (Reuters) - France and Portugal may have suffered shock defeats at the World Cup finals but U.S. coach Bruce Arena still expects the "big guns" to reach the last 16.

"It's certainly unpredictable to date. There are some good teams on the fence in terms of the next round," Arena said. "When the smoke settles you will still see some of the big names."

The Americans provided one of the surprises of the tournament by beating Portugal 3-2 in their first game five days after world champions France were stunned 1-0 by newcomers Senegal in the opening match of the finals in Seoul.

Pre-tournament favourites Argentina must beat Sweden on Wednesday to guarantee a place in the second round after a 1-0 defeat to England in group F and Italy's fate is in the balance in a three-way tie in group G after losing 2-1 to Croatia.

The U.S. next play co-hosts South Korea on Monday in Taegu and Arena has no illusions about the task ahead. The Koreans beat Poland 2-0 in their opening group D match.

"It will be very difficult. We've known all along that this was going to be a difficult game, the Korean team has a lot of momentum," he said.

"The crowd is behind them and there are warm conditions. However, I feel that our team has a lot of momentum as well going into the game. We have a lot of confidence."

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