EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (AP) — Less than one month after the World Cup, players from across the globe gathered for a high-profile friendly match between the United States and Brazil.

A dozen Americans returned home from Europe for Tuesday night’s match at the New Meadowlands Stadium. Jozy Altidore was training less than 2 hours after arriving from Spain, where he played on Sunday.

Brazil’s Daniel Alves flew Sunday to New York from Beijing, where he was with Barcelona on a preseason tour. Seven of his Barca teammates from world champion Spain headed to Mexico for an exhibition, their first match since the final on July 11.

“Players sometimes get pulled around quite a bit,” U.S. midfielder Landon Donovan said. “Personally I believe there should be a little closer attention paid to how many games players are playing.”

Donovan said the recent diagnosis for Brazil star Kaka was a “perfect example” of the toll on a player’s body.

“Players are not machines, and there’s only so much you can do. That being said, I don’t think there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind that this is the type of game players love to play in,” he said. “But too many high-intensity games like this, and players are going to break down. That’s normal — especially with all the travel that goes on nowadays.”

Kaka, the 2007 FIFA player of the year, had left knee surgery last week in Belgium after he reported to Real Madrid’s preseason tour in California and was diagnosed as playing through the World Cup with a torn meniscus. The Netherlands’ Arjen Robben arrived at Bayern Munich’s preaseason with a torn left hamstring after leading his nation to the World Cup final.

Brazil had just two training sessions ahead of the U.S. match, its start of preparations for hosting the 2014 tournament. The U.S. had one practice.

Alves said his flight from China went well. He doesn’t think all the constant movement causes problems.

“I think we’re all very well prepared,” he said through a translator. “I don’t believe we’ll have injuries because of that. If you have injuries, it’s just because of the normal circumstances of soccer.”

More than 65,000 tickets had been sold for the match in the new $1.6 billion home of the NFL’s Giants and Jets, where listed capacity of 82,500 includes more than 200 luxury suites and 10,000 club seats.

Brazilian great Pele was expected to attend and see a new-look Selecao roster meet an established-looking U.S. team that set U.S. television ratings records during the World Cup.

Mano Menezes replaced the fired Dunga as Brazil’s coach after the quarterfinal loss to the Dutch and selected just four of the Brazilians who were on the squad in South Africa: defenders Alves and Thiago Silva, midfielder Ramires and forward Robinho.

Hoping to restore “Jogo Bonito” — the Beautiful Game — and jettison Dunga’s defensive approach, Menezes chose 11 with no national team experience.

While the Selecao is missing Maicon, Lucio and Julio Cesar, its impressive roster includes AC Milan forward Alexandre Pato, Santos scoring sensation Neymar, Santos midfielder Paulo Henrique Ganso, Manchester United defender Rafael da Silva, Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva and Real Madrid defender Marcelo.

“Tough trips and long flights, but of course when we are playing for the national team we must be focused,” Lucas said. “It’s a new start for everyone. I think after the World Cup, of course the pressure will be higher, especially now that the next World Cup will be in Brazil. So the people are really excited — and waiting for the national team to win the World Cup.”

Paulo Henrique Ganso said Brazil’s young group may be better in some aspects than the veterans.

“In technical quality, possibly even higher than the previous one,” he said through an interpreter.

Brazil has won 14 of 15 meetings, outscoring the U.S. 29-10. The lone American victory was 1-0 in 1998 at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Los Angeles, when Preki Radosavljevic scored in the 65th minute and goalkeeper Kasey Keller had 10 saves.

Last year, the U.S. took a two-goal halftime lead in the final of the Confederations Cup as Clint Dempsey and Donovan scored, but Brazil rallied for a 3-2 victory on two goals by Luis Fabiano and one by Lucio.

“The opportunity to play against Brazil at any point is special,” Donovan said. “I think people are savvy enough to know the difference between playing in a World Cup game and playing in tomorrow’s game. That being said, we’re at a point now where we expect to compete with these teams in a real way and not a shot in the dark, hope we can beat Brazil.”

Following its second-round 2-1 extra-time loss to Ghana at the World Cup, the U.S. turned its attention to next year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, where the winner earns an invitation to the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil. For Brazil, there is an earlier concern: defending its South American title at next July’s Copa America in Argentina.


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