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German game a mistake admits Arena

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Arena did not need too much head scratching to know why the U.S. lost

HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) -- A day after being dealt the heaviest defeat of his international managerial career, United States coach Bruce Arena accepted full responsibility for the 4-1 debacle against Germany.

"The day after the game, everyone has the right answers," Arena told reporters on Thursday.

"But we knew before the game that it was a mistake scheduling the game without a full team, especially when Germany had to show some form."

The U.S. were missing most of their regular starters due to European club commitments or injury. Germany, who had faced weeks of criticizm following a 4-1 loss to Italy on March 1, fielded close to a full team.

After a scoreless first half, the Germans needed only 21 seconds to hit their first when Bastian Schweinsteiger's free kick slipped through a slack U.S. defense.

Oliver Neuville, Miroslav Klose and Michael Ballack added goals in a seven-minute burst to complete the rout. Steve Cherundolo got a goal for the visitors five minutes from time.

"In last night's game, we had from two to three first-team players," said Arena.

"We have seven to 10 fighting for a (World Cup) roster spot, so to not prepare properly for a game of that magnitude, I accept full responsibility.

"I didn't do a good job and I'm mad at scheduling a game like that at this time."

The U.S. will play a friendly on April 11 against Jamaica in Cary, North Carolina. Arena will then identify a pool of 30-33 players and plans to announce his final 23-man roster by or around May 1.

"We're getting really close," he said. "The last three spots are going to be difficult to decide on."

In 2002, the U.S. lost to Germany 4-2 in a World Cup tune-up and were beaten by the Germans, 1-0, in the quarter-finals.

The U.S. will be based in Hamburg for the finals and are expected to arrive on June 2. Their Group E also includes Italy, Ghana and Czech Republic and they open against the Czech Republic on June 12 in Gelsenkirchen.

"When we stepped off the train in Hamburg, we knew it was the perfect city for our players and their families.

"There is a certain excitement here," Arena said. "When we come back in June, we hope to not come back and be such nice guests especially when we're playing such important games."

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