Greetings from Hangzhou, a city Marco Polo once described as "the most splendid and luxurious city in the world." Our man Mark might have changed his tune a bit today if he had to breathe the air in this metropolitan area of 6.6 million, but he was certainly onto something.
The centerpiece is West Lake, which has hills and mountains on three sides and the bustling city on the eastern bank. There are islands, a causeway, gardens, parks, cafes, pedestrian walkways and historic sites. Dragon Stadium, a seven-year-old arena that seats 52,000, sits just north of the lake.
I joined Michael Lewis of the N.Y. Daily News for the train ride from Shanghai, a 78-minute trip. The wait for a taxi among thousands at the Hangzhou station was nearly as long. The U.S. team will work out at the stadium this afternoon. I am not expecting any hard news -- Coach Greg Ryan and the USSF run a tight ship -- but will rejoin you if anything surfaces.
Meantime, I am curious to get your impressions of the U.S. team up to this point and whether you think they have what it takes to continue their domination of a highly skilled Brazilian squad. You can also read about the matchup right here.
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