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FIFA WORLD CUP 2011: JAPAN WINS IN SHOOTOUT

FIFA WORLD CUP 2011: JAPAN WINS IN SHOOTOUT

Japan edge USA for maiden title

courtesy fifa.com

Japan are FIFA Women’s World Cup™ champions for the first time after a penalty shootout victory over USA, following a drama-charged 2-2 draw in Frankfurt.

Defender Saki Kumagai had the honour of hitting home the decisive spot-kick as Japan triumphed 3-1 in the shootout. USA were twice pegged back but it took Homare Sawa to equalise three minutes from the end of extra time to force penalties.

USA created numerous goalscoring opportunities throughout the match but Aya Miyama’s goal nine minutes from the end of the 90 minutes forced extra time, after Alex Morgan had given the Stars and Stripes the lead on 69 minutes. Abby Wambach seemed set to have scored the winner on 104 minutes until Sawa’s late intervention.

The tone was set for a strong USA performance with the two-time world champions showing their intent from the opening whistle. Lauren Cheney forced a save from Ayumi Kaihori with a shot from a highly acute angle, after the forward had outmuscled Azusa Iwashimizu just 25 second into the contest. click here for complete story & game notes.

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U.S. WNT Prepared for 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final Against Japan

U.S. WNT vs. Japan
2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final
Frankfurt, Germany
July 17, 2011

USA FACES JAPAN FOR 2011 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP TITLE: The U.S. Women’s National Team arrived in Frankfurt, Germany, via bus from Dusseldorf on July 14 ahead of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final against first-time finalist Japan. The U.S. Women will kick off their third Women’s World Cup Final, and first since 1999, on Sunday, July 17 at 2 p.m. ET, live on ESPN, ESPN3.com and Galavision. Fans can also follow along on ESPN Radio, ESPNRadio.com, ESPN Mobile TV, ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and Twitter @ussoccer.

FAMILIAR FOE: The U.S. will face Japan for the fourth time in 2011, and for the third time in FIFA Women’s World Cup history, but this time it’s for all the laurels. Japan worked its way to the team’s first FIFA Women’s World Cup championship game appearance by posting a 2-0-1 record in group play with a 2-1 win against New Zealand and a 4-0 win against Mexico. In the quarterfinals, Japan pulled off a massive victory against host and tournament favorite Germany. Japan’s 1-0 win was one of the biggest upsets in recent women’s soccer history. Japan followed up that performance with a dominating 3-1 win against Sweden in the semifinals to book their spot in the Women’s World Cup Final.

U.S. 2011 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP RESULTS
Date           Opponent        Result/Time (ET)       U.S. Goalscorers/TV                  Venue
June 28      Korea DPR       2-0 W                       Cheney, Buehler                       Rudolf-Harbig Stadium; Dresden
July 2         Colombia        3-0 W                       O’Reilly, Rapinoe, Lloyd             Rhein-Neckar-Arena; Sinsheim
July 6         Sweden          1-2 L                         Wambach                                World Cup Stadium Wolfsburg; Wolfsburg
July 10       Brazil              2-2 T (5-3 pks)          Own goal, Wambach                 Rudolf-Harbig Stadium; Dresden
July 13       France            3-1 W                        Cheney, Wambach, Morgan       Borussia Park; Mönchengladbach

JAPAN 2011 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP RESULTS
Date            Opponent             Result           Venue
June 27       New Zealand         2-1 W           FIFA Women’s World Cup Stadium; Bochum
July 14        Mexico                  4-0 W           FIFA Women’s World Cup Stadium; Leverkusen
July 5          England                0-2 L            FIFA Women’s World Cup Stadium; Augsburg
July 9          Germany               1-0 W          Arena Im Allerpark; Wolfsburg
July 13        Sweden                 3-1 W          FIFA Women´s World Cup Stadium; Frankfurt

courtesy ussoccer.com

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USA DEFEATS FRANCE 3-1 TO ADVANCE TO WORLD CUP FINAL

U.S. Women to Meet France in World Cup Semifinal

  • Wambach Heads in Game-Winning Goal in the 79th Minute; Matches U.S. World Cup Scoring Mark
  • Cheney Scores for the Second Time During the World Cup; Morgan Nets First World Cup Goal
  • U.S. Will Face Japan in Women’s World Cup Final on July 17 in Frankfurt at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN3.com and Galavision

MOENCHENGLADBACH, Germany (July 13, 2011) – For the second-straight game Abby Wambach scored a clutch header for the USA, this time netting a 79th-minute game-winner in a 3-1 victory against France that earned the U.S. Women’s National Team its third appearance in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final and first since 1999.

In a match played in misty rain, Lauren Cheney scored the first goal and assisted on the Wambach winner, while 22-year-old Alex Morgan scored her first career Women’s World Cup goal with the third and final tally of the day.

“France played very well, but there’s something to be said about our players and their heart,” said U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage. “There’s a reason why these players come off the bench and make a difference because this team is 21 players and I’m very proud of them. At times, we didn’t play well today, but we found a way to win. Credit to the players’ heart and that’s what makes it so wonderful to coach for this team.”

The U.S. now travels to Frankfurt to face Japan in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final on Sunday, July 17, in Frankfurt at 2 p.m. ET live on ESPN, ESPN3.com and Galavision. The U.S. will be seeking its third title, while Japan, which defeated Sweden 3-1 in tonight’s other semifinal, will be looking for its first championship.

On a gray, rainy day at Borussia Park in Moenchengladbach the U.S. had a bright start, scoring the game’s first goal in the ninth minute with Cheney starting and finishing the play. France cleared a header to midfield, where Cheney took a settling touch to Shannon Boxx who immediately played the ball wide left to Amy LePeilbet.

The U.S. left back played the ball up the sideline to Carli Lloyd, who after a miss-touch toward the middle of the field, played a cheeky back heel further down the wing to Heather O’Reilly. O’Reilly immediately used her speed to get toward the end line, playing a left-footed cross that Cheney redirected out of the air and inside the back post following a 50-yard run into the six-yard box.

Despite the early U.S. advantage, France show its immense talent in the midfield, creating a 25-11 advantage in shots and while controlling the middle portion of the game that saw Les Bleus take the game to the Americans with some dynamic attacking play. The U.S. defense, which included Becky Sauerbrunn making her Women’s World Cup debut in the place of the suspended Rachel Buehler, held strong and, despite the disparity in shots, played a strong game as a unit.

In the 29th minute, France ran at the U.S. backline with Louisa Necib playing the ball wide right for Gaetane Thiney who was in alone against Hope Solo. As Solo charged out to her right to cut down the angle, Thiney tried the chip but the U.S. goalkeeper stuck up her right arm knocking the ball out for a corner with her biggest of seven saves on the day.

Four minutes later, Necib played a simple pass on a free kick to Bombpastor who nearly equalized for a French side growing in confidence. After a U.S. foul on France’s left wing, Necib dropped the ball back for the French left back who hit a left-footed blast from top edge of the 18-yard box that rattled the crossbar.

Wambach twice had chances to put the U.S. up by two going into the half, but could not turn a cross from a long run forward by Christie Rampone on goal from a tight angle in the 38th minute. One minute later, Boxx had Laura Georges sliding the wrong way before delivering a near post cross that Wambach put just wide of the post.

The second half opened with France pressing and Necib feeding Thiney in behind Ali Krieger, but the combination of a bad touch by the French forward and some hustle by Krieger prevented a shot. Ten minutes later, however, France would finally break through.

The equalizer was set up by French captain Sandrine Soubeyrand, who switched the ball from right to left, finding Bombpastor in space on the flank. Thiney started a run into the center of the area and Bombpastor picked her out. The cross, however, sailed just over Thiney’s head and, with Solo staying in position anticipating the header, skipped once on the slick surface before setting inside the back post.

With the game now tied, Sundhage made a pair of changes. The first saw Morgan come in for Amy Rodriguez in the 56th minute, and nine minutes later Megan Rapinoe replaced Carli Lloyd. With Lloyd going off, Lauren Cheney slid centrally alongside Boxx in the middle while Rapinoe started patrolling the left flank from which she set up the game-tying goal in the quarterfinals.

The changes paid dividends with the U.S. finding a rhythm and slowly start to hold more possession in the midfield. Rapinoe started the play that resulted in a corner kick to set up the winning goal when she snagged a poor clearance from goalkeeper Berangere Sapowicz and whipped in a cross from the left. Wambach and Bombpastor fell in the area as the cross went to O’Reilly, who won the corner.

Cheney lofted her cross from the right side to the far post, where Wambach charged to bury a towering header in the net from inside the six-yard box. The goal was good for a 2-1 lead and was Wambach’s 12th in the Women’s World Cup, tying her for third all-time with Michelle Akers, who holds the U.S. record. The assist was Cheney’s third of the tournament, most of any U.S. player.

With France still smarting from Wambach’s strike, Alex Morgan used her pace and deft finishing ability to give the U.S. a two goal cushion in the 82nd minute. Amy LePeilbet slid the ball away from pacey French winger Elodie Thomis and Rampone quickly played the ball forward where Wambach was waiting. Her header found Rapinoe, who stabbed with her right foot to play a ball into space for Morgan. The ball took a deflection off Georges, but nonetheless Morgan let the ball take her wide, waited for Sapowicz to go down and delicately arced her left-footed chip over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

– U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. France
Date: July 13, 2011
Competition: 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup – Semifinal
Venue: Borussia Park; Monchengladbach, Germany
Kickoff: 6 p.m. local / Noon ET
Attendance: 25,676
Weather: Light rain; 58 degrees

Scoring Summary:  1  2  F
USA                        1  2   3
FRA                        0  1   1

USA – Lauren Cheney (Heather O’Reilly) 9th minute
FRA – Sonia Bombpastor (Sandrine Soubeyrand) 55
USA – Abby Wambach (Lauren Cheney) 79
USA – Alex Morgan (Megan Rapinoe) 82

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 6-Amy LePeilbet; 9-Heather O’Reilly (17-Tobin Heath, 87), 7-Shannon Boxx, 10-Carli Lloyd (15-Megan Rapinoe, 65), 12-Lauren Cheney; 8-Amy Rodriguez (13-Alex Morgan, 56), 20-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 2-Heather Mitts, 5-Kelley O’Hara, ,14-Stephanie Cox, , 16-Lori Lindsey, , 18-Nicole Barnhart, 21-Jill Loyden
Not Eligible: 19-Rachel Buehler (suspension)
Head coach: Pia Sundhage

FRA: 16-Berangere Sapowicz; 11-Laure Lepailleur, 4-Laura Georges, 5-Ophelie Meilleroux, 8-Sonia Bompastor; 6-Sandrine Soubeyrand (capt.) (12-Elodie Thomis, 78), 15-Elise Bussaglia; 10-Camille Abily, 14-Louisa Necib, 17-Gaetane Thiney; 18-Marie-Laure Delie (9-Eugenie Le Sommer, 46)
Subs not used: 1-Celine Deville, 21-Laetitia Philippe, 2-Wendie Renard, 3-Laure Boulleau, 7-Corine Franco, 13-Caroline Pizzala, 19-Sandrine Bretigny, 20-Sabrina Viguier
Head coach: Bruno Bini

Statistical Summary: USA / FRA
Shots: 11 / 25
Shots on Goal: 5 / 8
Saves: 7 / 2
Corner Kicks: 5 / 11
Fouls: 12 / 10
Offside: 2 / 4

Misconduct Summary:
FRA – Elodie Thomis (caution) 90th minute

Officials
Referee: Kirsi Heikkinen (FIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Tonja Paavola (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Anu Jokela (FIN)
Fourth Official: Yolanda Parga Rodriguez (ESP)

Bud Light Woman of the Match: Abby Wambach


2011 FIFA Women's World Cup logo

Image via Wikipedia

U.S. WNT vs. France
2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Semifinal
Mönchengladbach, Germany

July 12, 2011
The USA’s dramatic victory over Brazil in a penalty kick shootout during Sunday’s quarterfinal match in Dresden, Germany, sent the Americans to the Women’s World Cup semifinals for the sixth consecutive time, making the USA the only country to advance to the final four in every FIFA Women’s World Cup ever contested.

The match at Borussia Park Stadium will kick off at 12 p.m. ET (6 p.m. local) on ESPN, ESPN3.com and Galavision with the pre-game show on ESPN beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET. Fans can also follow along on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and via Twitter @ussoccer_wnt. Borussia Park will be the largest stadium the USA has played in so far during the team’s World Cup campaign as the venue seats almost 46,000 fans. The USA’s semifinal will be the first of the day, following by Sweden vs. Japan from Frankfurt at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN3.com.
FIRST-EVER MEETING WITH FRANCE IN THE WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: The USA has played France 12 times in its history, but just four times since the turn of the century. The teams last met in 2006 when they played twice, a 0-0 tie at the Four Nations Tournament in January in Guangzhou, China, and a 4-1 U.S. victory at the Algarve Cup in Portugal.

France has been one of the revelations of the tournament, playing some excellent soccer while finishing second in Group A behind Germany. The French started their run with a 1-0 victory over Nigeria, sent Canada out of the tournament with a 4-0 victory and then rebounded from a 4-2 loss to Germany in their group finale with a dramatic penalty kick victory over England in the quarterfinal after equalizing with just minutes left in regulation.
U.S. WWC ‘11 RESULTS
Date Opponent Result/Time (ET) U.S. Goalscorers/TV Venue
June 28 Korea DPR 2-0 W Cheney, Buehler Rudolf-Harbig Stadium; Dresden
July 2 Colombia 3-0 W O’Reilly, Rapinoe, Lloyd Rhein-Neckar-Arena; Sinsheim
July 6 Sweden 1-2 L Wambach World Cup Stadium Wolfsburg; Wolfsburg
July 10 Brazil 2-2 T (5-3 pks) Own goal, Wambach Rudolf-Harbig Stadium; Dresden
July 13 France 11:30 p.m. ET ESPN, ESPN3.com, Galavision Borussia Park; Moenchengladbach
FRANCE WWC ‘11 RESULTS
Date Opponent Result Venue
June 26 Nigeria 1-0 W Rhein-Neckar-Arena; Sinsheim
June 30 Canada 4-0 W World Cup Stadium Frankfurt; Frankfurt
July 5 Germany 2-4 L Borussia Park; Moenchengladbach
July 9 England 1-1 T (4-3 pks) World Cup Stadium Leverkusen; Leverkusen
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION

GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (Philadelphia Independence), Jill Loyden (magicJack), Hope Solo (magicJack)
DEFENDERS (8): Rachel Buehler (Boston Breakers), Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), Ali Krieger (out of contract), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Atlanta Beat), Christie Rampone (magicJack), Becky Sauerbrunn (magicJack)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx (magicJack), Tobin Heath (Sky Blue FC), Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), Carli Lloyd (Atlanta Beat), Kelley O’Hara (Boston Breakers), Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Philadelphia Independence)
FORWARDS (4): Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Western New York Flash), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Abby Wambach (magicJack)

QUICK HITS
U.S. in the World Cup
The USA’s win was the first time in FIFA Women’s World Cup history that a team has come back to win after falling behind in overtime. In fact, it is just the fourth instance in World Cup history, with the rare feat accomplished just three times before in the men’s tournament.
Rachel Buehler will not be eligible to play against France after receiving a red card against Brazil. It was the third red card issued to the U.S. in six FIFA Women’s World Cups.
The U.S. is the only team to have advanced to the semifinals in every FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The 120+2 minute goal from Abby Wambach in the quarterfinals was the latest strike ever in Women’s World Cup history.
Wambach’s goal against Brazil was her 11th in the Women’s World Cup, tying her for fourth place all-time behind Marta (14) and Birgit Prinz and Michelle Akers (12).
Wambach also passed Kristine Lilly with 24 career points in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Wambach has two goals and one assist in 2011, and is behind Akers (26) and Mia Hamm (28) in the U.S. record books.
Hope Solo would earn her 100th cap with an appearance against France.
France and the U.S. will be playing in a world championship competition for the first time at the senior level.
In youth-level tournaments, the USA and France have crossed paths three times since 2006. The Americans prevailed 1-0 in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2006 and 3-0 two years later in the same event, when the opening goal was netted by Alex Morgan. Also in 2008, the sides fought to a 1-1 draw in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
USA and France have scored the same amount of goals in their four matches so far, netting eight apiece, while Japan and Sweden both have seven. The most prolific attack still belongs to Brazil, who exited the tournament with nine goals scored.
France and USA have had more shots than any other sides in this tournament, with 80 and 76 respectively. They have also managed the most shots on target with 32 each.
The U.S. has an 11-0-1 all-time record in 12 previous friendlies against France with each of the last four meetings coming on neutral soil from 2004 to 2006. Wambach, Heather Mitts and Shannon Boxx have featured for the U.S. in each of those last four meetings.
The last meeting was a 4-1 win in the 2006 Algarve Cup on March 13 of that year.
The lone tie came in the 2006 Four Nations Tournament in China. Hope Solo got the shutout for the U.S. as Mitts, Amy LePeilbet, Boxx, Wambach and Heather O’Reilly also all started for the U.S.
An overtime clash in the quarterfinals is nothing new for the U.S., having played 120 minutes in a 2-1 win against Canada in the 2008 Olympics. The U.S. faced Japan three days later and won 4-2.
The USA outshot its three group opponents by a 66-34 margin, and was outshot by Brazil just 16-14 despite playing with one less player for 55 minutes.
The penalty kick goal for Sweden in the 16th minute of the USA’s Group C final ended Hope Solo’s scoreless streak at 796 minutes, just 47 minutes short of the longest streak in team history, a record that has stood for 20 years. Kim Maslin-Kammerdeiner played 843 minutes without allowing a goal from 1988 to 1991, which were the first 843 minutes of her international career. Solo’s streak is the second longest in team history.
The seven goals credited to the U.S. in the tournament have been scored by six different players and four of those players – Lauren Cheney, Rachel Buehler, Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd – scored their first Women’s World Cup goals.
Through 475 all-time U.S. games, there have been eight red cards, or one approximately every 60 games or about 5,300 minutes.
Nine players have made their Women’s World Cup debuts in this tournament: Ali Krieger, Amy LePeilbet, Buehler, Cheney, Amy Rodriguez, Alex Morgan, Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, Lori Lindsey and Kelley O’Hara.
U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage has used 17 of the 21 players on the roster so far, with only the back-up goalkeepers and defenders Heather Mitts and Becky Sauerbrunn have yet to see the field.
Five players have played every minute so far: Krieger, Lloyd, Christie Rampone, Solo and Wambach.
O’Reilly, who sat out the Sweden game, recovered from a minor injury to play 107 minutes against Brazil.
Updated stats, lineups and results are available on the U.S. Women’s National Team page on ussoccer.com.

courtesy of the U.S. Soccer Communications Center

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U.S. Women Advance to Semi-Finals In Dramatic Fashion

Wambach’s Goal & Solo’s Save Gives USA 5-3 Win Against Brazil in Penalty Shootout to Advance to Face France in Women’s World Cup Semifinal

The U.S. Women’s National Team earned one of the most dramatic wins in FIFA Women’s World Cup history, scoring the tying goal in the dying seconds of overtime while playing with 10 players for more than 55 minutes.

  • Wambach Goal in the 122nd Minute is Latest Goal in Women’s World Cup History; Score Comes in the Final Moments of Overtime
  • Boxx, Lloyd, Wambach, Rapinoe and Krieger Convert in Shootout
  • U.S. Will Face France in Semifinal on July 13 in Mönchengladbach at 11:30 a.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN3.com and Galavision

DRESDEN, Germany (July 10, 2011) – The U.S. Women’s National Team earned one of the most dramatic wins in FIFA Women’s World Cup history, scoring the tying goal in the dying seconds of overtime while playing with 10 players for more than 55 minutes.

U.S. forward Abby Wambach scored the latest goal in Women’s World Cup history when she headed home a cross from Megan Rapinoe to tie the game at 2-2 in the second minute of stoppage time in the second and final 15-minute overtime period. The USA then showed tremendous composure to convert all five of its penalty kicks in the shootout with U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo saving Brazil’s third attempt by Daiane to give the Americans the margin of victory.

Ali Krieger, who has played the last four years in Germany for FFC Frankfurt, nailed the fifth and decisive penalty after Shannon Boxx, Carli Lloyd, Wambach and Rapinoe had all scored. Boxx initially had her shot saved, but replays showed that Brazilian goalkeeper Andreia had moved off her line early, and the kick was correctly ordered to be retaken by Australian referee Jacqui Melksham. Boxx calmly converted her second attempt to get the USA started in the shootout.

The USA will now travel to Mönchengladbach where it will face France in the semifinal on July 13 with a kickoff at 11:30 a.m. ET live on ESPN, ESPN3.com and Galavision. Fans can also follow on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt.

“It’s hard to put together all the thoughts I have,” U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage said. “There’s something to be said about this team. This American attitude of pulling everything together and bringing out the best performance in each other is contagious. I am very, very proud and I’m very, very happy to be the coach for the U.S. team.”

U.S. forward ABBY WAMBACH
On the match:
“I really don’t know what to say. I think that is a perfect example of what this country is about, what the history of this team has always been. We never give up. We literally went to the last second it seems. I mean, Hope. How many penalties has she saved legitimately today? We never gave up. Brazil is a great team. I really don’t have many words for this.”

On her goal:
“It was a perfect ball. (Megan Rapinoe) got an opportunity down the left flank and sent the ball in. It just popped over that defender’s head. I was sitting on that back post. I’m so happy it went in.”  Click here to read full story

courtesy of ussoccer.com

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U.S. WOMEN TO FACE BRAZIL IN QUARTERFINAL MATCH

TEAM USA FACES TOUGH CHALLENGE vs MARTA & BRAZIL

Showdon in Germany between top ranked Team USA and Brazil, FIFA’s third ranked team.  Brazil is led by 25-year old Marta who is second all-time for most goals in Women’s World Cup play (12, Germany’s Brigit Prinz has 14).

For Team USA, Abby Wambach, the third-leading scorer in American history and fourth in world history, scored five goals in her first five career matches against Brazil from 2003 to 2007. But she hasn’t scored in her last four matches versus Brazil, a team she hasn’t faced since 2008, when she broke her leg in the last warm-up match before the Olympics.

U.S. Head Coach PIA SUNDHAGE
On responding after the loss in their last game:
“Even though we didn’t win against Sweden, I think the players and the team are in a very good place. I’m proud of the team because everything they do on the field, off the field, they are ready to play the quarterfinal.”

On if she sees a big difference in the physicality between the U.S. and Brazil:
“Not really because at the end of the day we’ll both play [90 minutes]. When you talk about the physical part, it has to include the ball so it’s about balance, it’s about quickness and speed, and all I know is that we are prepared.”

U.S. defender CHRISTIE RAMPONE
On facing Brazil in the quarterfinals:
“We knew we had to face Brazil to win this tournament. Facing them a little earlier is not really what we expected, but we’re taking it in and I think the players are actually excited to play Brazil.”

On handling the Brazilian attack:
“They have three great attacking players with Marta, Cristiane and Rosana, but we’ll be ready for it. We like to go against the best, we want to beat the best. It feels better to do that and go forward.”

On facing Marta:

Marta

“She’s the best. As a defender, I’m a competitor and I love to compete against the best. She’s the best player in the world and it’s a challenge. Individually, it’s something that I strive to keep winning those little challenges throughout the game, but also as a team defending in numbers to get her frustrated.”

U.S. forward ABBY WAMBACH
On facing Brazil:
“I believe we have the confidence and the faith in each other as a team, as a 21. We believe if we do this together, we can beat anybody. Obviously, Brazil has fantastic individual talent and have proven over many years that they are capable of winning games – beating us in fact in big tournaments – so this is not going to be an easy game, but neither will any of the games from here on out. It could be the difference of an inch here, a toe-poke here so I’m excited to see what’s going to happen tomorrow night.”

On if losing the last match has an effect on their quarterfinal match:
“Until the final whistle blew I thought we were going to get the equalizer. I feel like the belief system that we have set in place for this team is right no par. Granted, we didn’t equalize but in the end there are so many different variables that are out of our control – what the referee does, what the other team throws at us – but what is in our control is finishing chances. We need to win games now, it’s do or die. It’s the situation and feeling that I think the U.S. has been good at.”

On what they can do finish more of their chances on goal:
“If we just concentrate on getting the ball on frame and not taking too many chances outside of our shooting range, maybe one or two here or there to get a rebound, but for the most part goalkeepers have 35-yard out shots covered. We also need to convert on some of our set plays. We scored on a corner kick [against Sweden] which is a positive, but I also think there are a couple of opportunities I need to get my head on so we can get even better chances.”

On how the team is feeling going into the quarterfinals:
“Experience goes a long way. All of us are not very comfortable or used to losing very often, especially on this team. It’s very rarely that we lose two in a row. Not that I have 100 percent knowledge that we are going to win this next game, but I can bet we are going to give every single part of ourselves in this game so we can ensure our berth into the semifinals.”

On how she needs to approach the Brazil match:
“I think the patience factor is going to be important because the games aren’t like they used to be even 10 years ago. There’s not going to be a 3-0 or 4-0 quarterfinal, semifinal or final. That will be a very rare occurrence, if it ever happens again. The games are going to be closer, the chances are going to be fewer and you just have to be ready.”

FLASHBACK:  Olympics ’08: U.S. Women Celebrate Soccer Gold

They came to the Beijing Olympics as a team trying to find its way, still adjusting to a new coach and each other, still smarting from a loss that brought humiliation on and off the field. (Aug. 22)

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U.S. FALLS 2-1 TO SWEDEN TO FINISH IN SECOND PLACE IN GROUP C

U.S ADVANCES TO QUARTERFINAL AGAINST BRAZIL ON JULY 10

  • USA Drops First Group Game in Team History
  • Wambach Scores Eighth Goal in Eight Career Games against Sweden
  • U.S. Faces Brazil in Quarterfinal on July 10 at 11 a.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN3.com and Galavision

WOLFSBURG, Germany (July 6, 2011) – The United States were defeated 2-1 by a disciplined and sharp Sweden team in front of 23,468 fans at the Women’s World Cup Stadium in Wolfsburg to close out group play at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. With six points, the U.S. finished in second place in Group C, setting up a quarterfinal match against Group D winners Brazil on July 10 in Dresden. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN3.com and Galavision. Fans can also follow on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt.

The match marked the fourth meeting between the U.S. and Sweden in Women’s World Cup play. The victory is Sweden’s second against the United States in 2011, and ended the team’s unbeaten record in group play after 18 total matches.

“I thought it was a good game today: entertaining but also tactically pretty interesting,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “I’m happy with the way we created chances but disappointed we didn’t win the game. I really want us to embrace the pressure. I think we’ll get stronger and it will be inspiring to play against Brazil.” [More Quotes]

Despite outshooting Sweden 20-9, the U.S. was foiled by the efforts of goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl who made several saves from close range while watching many other U.S. shots from distance miss their target.

The match began tensely in the opening minutes as both teams applied high pressure all over the field. The U.S. created the first real danger in the seventh minute when Carli Lloyd found space in transition and ripped a 30-yarder wide. On the ensuing goal kick, Lloyd’s attempted header in midfield skipped backwards, unintentionally putting Lotta Schelin through alone against U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo. With Solo standing tall, Schelin used her first touch to fire a low shot that Solo gamely kick-saved.

The U.S. nearly got on the board in the 13th minute, building off a nice pass from Amy LePeilbet to Amy Rodriguez. With a penetrating dribble, she slipped a ball to Abby Wambach, whose first-time left-footer to the near post was handled by Lindahl.

Three minutes later, Sweden grabbed the lead from the penalty spot when Schelin was bundled down in the area by LePeilbet. The referee did not hesitate in pointing to the spot and issuing a yellow card to the defender. Dahlkvist stepped up for Sweden, drilling a drive hard to her left. Solo guessed correctly but couldn’t keep out the powerful effort, the goal ending her shutout streak at 797 minutes.

The United States almost went even in the 20th minute after a nifty passing sequence sent Rodriguez flying down the left flank. Her cross into the penalty area deflected to Wambach, who strongly held off her defender and dropped a pass into the path of Lauren Cheney. The midfielder rifled a driven shot that whistled past the far post. Cheney had another chance less than 60 seconds later but her half-volley from 15 yards out sliced over the bar.

The U.S. continued to press with Cheney serving a dangerous cross from the left that was nicked by Lindahl as Wambach lurked behind. In the 32nd minute it was Rodriguez who earned herself a chance, outracing defender Charlotte Rohlin to the top of the area. With Lindahl off her line, Rodriguez attempted a chip that frustratingly skimmed off the top of the crossbar.

Sweden benefitted from an unfortunate deflection to take a 2-0 lead in the 35th minute. The free kick effort from 25 yards out by team captain Nilla Fischer would not have troubled Solo, but the ball ricocheted off LePeilbet’s thigh near the top of the 18 and caromed into the opposite corner.

Probing for a goal before halftime, U.S. captain Christie Rampone delivered a long free kick into the area. Lloyd pounced on the knock down, but Lindahl was well positioned to bat away her sliding shot.

Sundhage inserted Alex Morgan at halftime for Rodriguez and the U.S. continued its search to get back into the game. At the 50-minute mark Shannon Boxx launched a strike from distance that Lindahl bobbled and had to scramble to scoop while Wambach closed in. On the hour, Megan Rapinoe earned a free kick 30 yards from goal and Fischer was cautioned for the foul. Lloyd struck another wicked shot that once again troubled Lindahl as it bounced off her chest, but she recovered in the nick of time to avoid the U.S. threat.

The USA’s efforts finally paid off in the 67th minute when Wambach got a well-deserved breakthrough, tallying her first goal of the tournament. Cheney delivered a flat, driven corner kick that skimmed off Fischer and off the shoulder of Wambach, who powered the ball into the upper left corner. She now has 10 goals in her Women’s World Cup career and 119 overall.

The goal added a boost to an already energized U.S. attack, and Sweden gamely held their ground as the United States pushed for an equalizer. Kelley O’Hara replaced Rapinoe in the 73rd minute to earn her first opportunity in a World Cup and almost tied the game with four minutes remaining. Cheney pulled a nice spinning move deep in the left side of the area and picked out O’Hara on the back post but her angled volley drifted wide.

– U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Sweden
Date: July 6, 2011
Competition: 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup – Group C
Venue: Women’s World Cup Stadium; Wolfsburg, Germany
Kickoff: 8:45 p.m. local / 2:45 ET
Attendance: 23,468
Weather: 73 degrees, sunny

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
SWE 2 0 2

SWE – Lisa Dahlkvist (penalty kick) 16th minute
SWE – Nilla Fischer 35
USA – Abby Wambach (Lauren Cheney) 67

Statistical Summary: USA / SWE
Shots: 20 / 9
Shots on Goal: 6 / 5
Saves: 5 / 3
Corner Kicks: 3 / 6
Fouls: 7 / 16
Offside: 4 / 5

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Amy LePeilbet (caution) 14th minute
SWE – Nilla Fischer (caution) 60

Bud Light Woman of the Match: Ali Krieger


U.S. WNT Faces Final Group C Opponent Sweden for Group Title

The U.S. Women’s National Team will face Sweden on July 6 at the Women’s World Cup Stadium in Wolfsburg to finish Group C play.

U.S. WNT vs. Sweden
2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Wolfsburg, Germany
July 5, 2011

USA FINISHES GROUP C PLAY IN WOLFSBURG: The U.S. Women’s National Team will face Sweden on July 6 at the Women’s World Cup Stadium in Wolfsburg to finish Group C play. The match will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN3.com and Galavision at 2:45 p.m. ET with the pre-game show beginning at 2:30 p.m. This will be the latest kickoff time for the USA so far in the Women’s World Cup as the match begins at 8:45 p.m. local time. Wolfsburg has been a cold and rainy venue so far but temperatures are forecast to rise over the next few days with no rain on the horizon for game day.

WINNER TAKES GROUP C: The USA will have trained in Wolfsburg for three days before the Sweden match, the result of which will determine the Group C winner. The USA needs a win or a draw to take to the top spot while Sweden needs to win. Both teams won their first two matches by shutouts, but the USA scored five goals while Sweden scored two, giving the USA the edge in goal differential which is the first tie-breaker to determine placement in the group.

U.S. GROUP C SCHEDULE
Date         Opponent       Result/Time (ET)   U.S. Goalscorers/TV                    Venue
June 28    Korea DPR      2-0 W                   Cheney, Buehler                          Rudolf-Harbig Stadium; Dresden
July 2       Colombia       3-0 W                    O’Reilly, Rapinoe, Lloyd               Rhein-Neckar-Arena; Sinsheim
July 6       Sweden          2:30 p.m.             ESPN, ESPN3.com, Galavision       World Cup Stadium Wolfsburg; Wolfsburg

U.S. forward ABBY WAMBACH
On Sweden:
“They are one of the strongest teams in the tournament and it’s unfortunate that we both get paired in the same group. We know this game is not going to be easy. We believe it is going to be a hard-fought game and the best team will be left standing.”

On if Sweden has a lot of similarities to the U.S.:
“I think that as a team we match up well with them. It’s going to be not just an individual battle, but it will be a tactical battle and a coaching battle. I do think that there are going to be changes from us or them to try to capitalize where the spacing is and where the weaknesses are from the opponent.”

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U.S. Women’s National Team goalscorers Heather O’Reilly, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe discuss the USA’s 3-0 win against Colombia which qualified the team for the quarterfinals of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

U.S. SECURES PLACE IN QUARTERFINAL PHASE OF 2011 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP

TEAM USA DOMINATES  COLOMBIA

*Heather O’Reilly, Megan Rapinoe and Bud Light Woman of the Match Carli Lloyd Continue USA’s Unbeaten Record in Group Play
*Hope Solo Sets Shutout Streak Record in Eighth Straight Clean Sheet
*U.S. Holds First Place in Group C Heading into Finale Against Sweden on July 6 in Wolfsburg at 2:30 p.m. ET Live on ESPN and Galavision

SINSHEIM, Germany (July 2, 2011) – A laser from Heather O’Reilly and the first career World Cup goals for Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd highlighted the USA’s dominating 3-0 victory against Colombia before a sold-out crowd of 25,475 at Rhein-Neckar-Arena.

With six points from the first two matches, the USA has secured advancement to the quarterfinal phase and now sits in first place in Group C ahead of Sweden based on a superior goal differential. Sweden has also qualified for the next round after snatching a 1-0 victory against Korea DPR in the early match. A win or a draw for the United States in its final first round match against the Swedes on July 6 in Wolfsburg (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) would secure the top spot in the group.

The United States and Colombia met for the first time in international competition, with the U.S. playing in a world record 32nd match in a FIFA Women’s World Cup. The victory extends the USA’s unbeaten streak in group play to an incredible 15-0-2 record since the inaugural event in 1991, and marks the first time the U.S. has recorded back-to-back shutouts in the group phase.

The U.S. began playing at a high tempo from the opening whistle, applying relentless pressure all over the field while preventing Colombia from finding any productive rhythm. Lori Lindsey, making her World Cup debut, combined in the center of the midfield with Bud Light Woman of the Match Lloyd to provide smothering defense. Throughout the opening stanza the U.S. deployed a varied attack, slipping balls into seams as well as finding Lauren Cheney and O’Reilly on the flanks.

The U.S. nearly struck gold in the seventh minute when O’Reilly dropped in a great cross to the far post for Abby Wambach. After taking a touch, she rifled a volley that forced Colombia goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda into a point-blank save. The rebound hopped in front of goal, but Amy Rodriguez couldn’t get down on the ball and her effort sailed over the bar.

Three minutes later the United States opened the scoring on a magnificent solo effort from O’Reilly. As Colombia tried to build out of the back, team captain Natalia Gaitan played a ball out to Liana Salazar who found it too hot to handle. O’Reilly pounced on the loose ball and fired an absolute laser from 33 yards out that blazed into the upper left corner. After scoring the third World Cup goal of her career and 30th overall, she and the rest of the starters gave a military-style salute to the crowd in honor of the large contingent of U.S. service personnel supporting the team in the stadium.

O’Reilly proved a menace throughout the half. At the 30-minute mark, she made a trademark run past her defender, delivering another pinpoint cross to the back post where Wambach slightly mistimed her jump and headed wide.

Colombia sniffed a chance in the 32nd minute when a through ball over the top appeared threatening with Katerin Castro running on, but U.S. captain Christie Rampone recovered with speed to foil the danger.

Lauren Cheney, once again starting at flank midfield, almost doubled the lead in the 36th minute. Amy LePeilbet kept the play alive after a clearance, pushing a pass wide to Cheney. She lined up a half-volley struck with pace that Sepulveda parried.

Both teams had a good look in first-half stoppage time. Colombia was first when Diana Ospina found space and ran at speed at the U.S. backline. The U.S. defenders alertly stepped up and held their line, putting Castro nearly two yards offside when she received the pass, rendering moot her shot that slipped under the sliding Solo. The U.S. marched to the other end and earned a corner that Lloyd headed back across goal. In the ensuing scrum, both Lloyd and Rachel Buehler had shots blocked, sending the U.S. into the interval ahead by a goal.

The U.S. outshot Colombia 15 to 1 in the first half, putting six shots on frame while Hope Solo didn’t need to make a single save. Solo broke her personal record for consecutive minutes without surrendering a goal (781) in her eighth straight shutout in all competitions, and her streak of 478 shutout minutes at the Women’s World Cup is second all-time to Nadine Angerer of Germany (622). With the start, she tied Mary Harvey for second most games ever played by a U.S. goalkeeper in a Women’s World Cup.

Sundhage made one substitution at half, bringing on Rapinoe for the second straight time in the tournament, this time pulling Rodriguez and shifting Cheney to forward, and the move paid off nearly straight away. From the left flank, Rapinoe delivered a throw-in to Cheney. After an excellent turn, she knifed a clever pass back to Rapinoe who took a smart touch inside before curling a high shot into the left side of the net. Rapinoe’s first World Cup goal was the fastest ever for a U.S. substitute in the tournament.

Colombia nearly pulled one back in the 53rd minute. After coming on as a sub a minute earlier, Orianica Velasquez almost made her first touch count when she found room and hammered a shot pegged for the top shelf, commanding Solo into a full stretch to push the ball wide.

Stephanie Cox was inserted for LePeilbet in the 56th minute and she too made an immediate impact, floating a ball into the center of the park to Lloyd 30 yards from goal. After controlling nicely and skillfully finding space, Lloyd’s shot from distance had wicked movement that confused Sepulveda. The ‘keeper got her mitts on the ball but was unable to keep it from crossing the goal line. The goal was the 28-year-old’s first in a World Cup and 28th of her international career.

Wambach constantly worked to put herself in good scoring positions throughout the game, and had several excellent scoring chances. One came after she got on the end of a cross from Ali Krieger in the 66th minute. Her header appeared bound for the lower corner, only to be blocked by Arias. One minute later, her left-footed volley curled just past the left post. In a play symbolic of her evening, Wambach raced for a 50-50 ball with Sepulveda in the 80th minute for which the goalkeeper arrived a split-second ahead. The ball caromed off Wambach’s knee and scooted tantalizingly towards goal, only to cruelly deflect off the right post.

The U.S. attacks came in waves (the Americans out-shot Colombia 27-12), and Rapinoe had a chance to put an exclamation point on the rout. Dribbling through the middle, she dished off to Cheney and then hovered at the top of the box. Cheney set the table with a perfect pass to Rapinoe right at the penalty spot, but her shot blasted off the crossbar.

– U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Colombia
Date: July 2, 2011
Competition: 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup – Group C
Venue: Rhein-Neckar-Arena; Sinsheim, Germany
Kickoff: 6 p.m. local / Noon ET
Attendance: 25,475
Weather: 65 degrees, cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        1 2 3
COL                        0 0 0

USA – Heather O’Reilly                           12th minute
USA – Megan Rapinoe (Lauren Cheney)  50
USA– Carli Lloyd (Stephanie Cox)          57

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger, 19-Rachel Buehler, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 6-Amy LePeilbet (14-Stephanie Cox, 56); 9-Heather O’Reilly (17-Tobin Heath, 62),16-Lori Lindsey, 10-Carli Lloyd, 12-Lauren Cheney; 8-Amy Rodriguez (15-Megan Rapinoe, 46), 20-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 2-Heather Mitts, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 7-Shannon Boxx, 13-Alex Morgan,18-Nicole Barnhart, 21-Jill Loyden
Head coach: Pia Sundhage

COL: 12-Sandra Sepulveda; 5-Nataly Arias, 14-Kelis Peduzine, 3-Natalia Gaitan (capt.), 19-Fatima Montano; 4-Diana Ospina, 13-Yulieht Dominguez, 11-Liana Salazar (10-Yoreli Rincon, 55), 9-Carmen Rodallega; 18-Katerin Castro, 7- Catalina Usme (20-Orianica Velasquez, 53)
Subs not used: 1-Paula Forero, 2-Yuli Munoz, 6-Daniela Montoya, 8-Andrea Peralta, 15-Tatiana Ariza, 16-Lady Andrade, 17-Ingrid Vidal, 21-Alejandra Velasco
Head coach: Ricardo Rozo

Statistical Summary: USA / COL
Shots: 27 /12
Shots on Goal: 9 / 4
Saves: 4 / 6
Corner Kicks: 5 / 1
Fouls: 16 / 10
Offside: 2 / 7

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Abby Wambach (caution) 84th minute

Officials
Referee: Dagmar Damkova (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Maria Luisa Villa Gutierrez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Yolanda Parga Rodriguez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Jacqui Melksham (AUS)

Bud Light Woman of the Match: Carli Lloyd

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USA DEFEATS KOREA DPR 2-0 TO OPEN 2011 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP

*Lauren Cheney, Rachel Buehler Score in Women’s World Cup Debuts
*Wambach Named Bud Light Woman of the Match; Provides 53rd Career Assist on Game-Winner
*U.S. Team Heads for Sinsheim atop Group C to Face Colombia on July 2 in Second Match Live on ESPN at 11:30 a.m. ET

DRESDEN, Germany (June 28, 2011) – Lauren Cheney and Rachel Buehler scored second-half goals in their FIFA Women’s World Cup debuts as the U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Korea DPR 2-0 to open Group C play on a hot evening in eastern Germany.

After a scoreless first half that saw a number of shots on goal from both sides, the U.S. got on the board in the 54th minute when Cheney headed home an Abby Wambach service from the left side, sending it back across the goal and into the lower left corner. The U.S. controlled the majority of the second half and Buehler clinched the game when she finished an opportunistic chance that skipped through traffic in the penalty area before finding the back of the net in the 76th minute. After all was said and done, the USA out-shot North Korea 19-13 and put 12 of those shots on goal.

After one set of first round games, the U.S. sits in first place in Group C after Sweden defeated Colombia in the other group match by a 1-0 score. Group C action resumes with the U.S. facing Colombia at what could be a sold-out Rhein-Neckar Arena in Sinsheim on Saturday, July 2, at 11:30 a.m. ET live on ESPN, ESPN3.com and Galavision. North Korea and Sweden will square off at 7:45 a.m. ET live on ESPN2 from Augsburg.

“It feels great to have been playing the first 45 minutes, make some changes at halftime and come out even stronger than the first half against a very strong team in North Korea,” U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage said. “I’m very happy with the way we scored the goals but not only that, the way we played, being so sharp defending. It’s a good start to the World Cup.”

Sundhage inserted Cheney as a starter on the left side of midfield for the first time in 16 career starts and even before the goal the move paid off with the 24-year-old getting several dangerous opportunities. The first scoring chance of the game came in the 11th minute when the ball found Cheney in a space similar to where she scored during the USA’s send-off match against Mexico. This time her right-footed rocket went right into the gloves of North Korea goalkeeper Hong Myong Hui, as did her next three shots on goal.

Cheney’s chances, along with a 36th-minute effort from Carli Lloyd, were the best for the U.S. during the first half, while the North Koreans also proved to be dangerous, particularly when attacking the right wing using 18-year-old Kim Su Gyong to trouble the left side of the U.S. defense where Amy LePeilbet proved to be extremely tough to beat.

U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo, who made seven saves overall, had her two most difficult stops come during a 10-minute span in the first half. The first came in the 34th minute when Kim turned the corner around LePeibet and sent in a hard, low cross. Shannon Boxx tracked a runner into the penalty area and stuck a foot out to stop the cross, but it sat nicely for Kim to shoot hard at the near post where Solo dove left to push it around the post.

Nine minutes later, Kim made a similar move to get to the end line where she sent a hard cross that deflected off the inside of LePeilbet’s right leg and connected with Jo Yun Mi at the top of the six-yard box. The North Korean playmaker flicked a shot with the outside of her foot that Solo came out to knock down with her body.

The U.S. came out in the second half with a renewed focus and troubled North Korea’s defense with some excellent possession soccer that often found the width and then proceeded to bombard Hong’s goal. A pair of shots from Cheney along with an over-cooked volley by Boxx and another shot over the crossbar from Wambach all stated the U.S. intentions in the first six minutes of the second half. On the defensive side, with the jitters of their first half of Women’s World Cup play out of the way for the three defenders making their tournament debut, the U.S. virtually shut down North Korea.

The U.S. got on the board with Cheney’s first Women’s World Cup goal and the 15th of her career nine minutes into the half. Lloyd set things up, finding Wambach with a perfect long ball down the left wing that bounced twice before Wambach took a touch forward into the left corner. Known for her goal scoring, Wambach turned provider when she cut the ball back to her right foot before crossing toward the far post. Cheney faded slightly away from the goal as she sent the header back across the goal past the wrong-footed Hong’s right arm and into lower left corner. The assist was the 52nd for Wambach.

Immediately North Korea looked to respond with a pair of attacks, the second against the run of play when Ri Ye Gyong hit a hard 25-yard shot that nicked the top of the cross bar to Solo’s left. From then on, the U.S. wore down the Koreans mentally and physically with Wambach forcing Hong to make a reaction save on a header that bounced off the crossbar in the 64th minute. Nine minutes later Amy Rodriguez forced another save before giving way to Alex Morgan who made her Women’s World Cup debut as a substitute in the 75th minute.

The second U.S. goal came one minute later and sealed the victory. Cheney, assigned to take the U.S. corners as part of her starting role, played in a corner from the left side that sailed high over Shannon Boxx at the back post, but right back Ali Kreiger alertly came forward to collect the loose ball and used her speed to get free toward the end line to play in a hard cross.

Her effort was a little too strong, but perfectly so, as it skimmed off the front of the cross bar and bounced in the area. Buehler got her head on the loose ball and played it in the direction of Lloyd, who held up against pressure from a defender before tapping the ball backward to Buehler who had dropped off to the top of the penalty area. Buehler, who scored her first career goal during the Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament last November, netted her second with a low, lunging shot that saw its way past three defenders and the goalkeeper before crossing the line just inside the left post.

Sundhage made her second and final change in the 79th minute as Heather O’Reilly made way for Megan Rapinoe who joined Buehler, Cheney, Kreiger, Morgan, LePeilbet and Rodriguez in making their Women’s World Cup debuts.

With six games in the books, the U.S. is the first team to win by a multiple goal margin as the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup is now underway in nine venues across Germany. A full schedule and standings are available on the FIFA Women’s World Cup page at ussoccer.com.

– U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Korea DPR
Date: June 28, 2011
Competition: 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup – Group C
Venue: Rudolf-Harbig Stadium; Dresden, Germany
Kickoff: 6:15 p.m. local / 12:15 p.m. ET
Attendance: 21,859
Weather: Warm, 79 degrees

Scoring Summary: 1   2   F
USA                        0   2   2
PRK                        0   0   0

USA – Lauren Cheney (Abby Wambach)  54th minute
USA – Rachel Buehler (Carli Lloyd)          76

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger, 19-Rachel Buehler, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 6-Amy LePeilbet; 9-Heather O’Reilly (15-Megan Rapinoe, 79), 7-Shannon Boxx, 10-Carli Lloyd, 12-Lauren Cheney; 8-Amy Rodriguez (13-Alex Morgan, 75), 20-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 2-Heather Mitts, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 5-Kelley O’Hara, , 14-Stephanie Cox, , 16-Lori Lindsey, 17-Tobin Heath 18-Nicole Barnhart, 21-Jill Loyden
Head coach: Pia Sundhage

PRK: 1-Hong Myong Hui; 3-Ho Un Byol (20-Kwon Song Hwa, 81), 5-Song Jong Sun, 16-Jong Pok Sim, 17-Ri Un Hyang; 8-Kim Su Gyong, 10-Jo Yun Mi, 11-Ri Ye Gyong, 12-Jon Myong Hwa (13-Kim Un Ju, 68); 7-Yun Hyon Hi (6-Paek Sol Hui, 48), 9-Ra Un Sim
Subs not used: 2-Jon Hong Yon, 4-Kim Myong Gum, 14-Kim Chung Sim, 15-Yu Jong Hui, 18-Ri Jin Sim, 19-Choe Mi Gyong, 21-Kim Chol Ok
Head coach: Kim Kwang Min

Statistical Summary: USA / PRK
Shots: 19 / 13
Shots on Goal: 12 / 7
Saves: 7 / 10
Corner Kicks: 8 / 4
Fouls: 9 / 11
Offside: 0 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials
Referee: Bibiana Steinhaus (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Marina Wozniak (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Katrin Rafalski (GER)
Fourth Offical: Gyoengyi Gaal (HUN)

Bud Light Woman of the Match: Abby Wambach

-ussoccer.com-

U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage talks about opening their 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup against Korea DPR on June 28.

More quotes from Coach Sundhage…

On Korea DPR:
“I’ve seen them a couple of times. I saw their World Cup qualification last year and a couple of DVDs. The last time I saw them they played against Germany and lost 2-0. This is a good team. I would say they are a typical Asian team in that they knock the ball around and are very comfortable with the ball. I think if you study North Korea very carefully I think you will see the future of the women’s game. By saying that, I mean between the boxes, because they read the game very well and their speed of play is pretty good.”

On what her team needs to focus on going into the match:
“Going into the game tomorrow, we need to deal with their technical ability, we need to be patient and smart and make sure we can get some crosses into the box and be sharp (defensively) in our own box.”

On if the USA is a favorite to win the tournament:
“The team we have is a fantastic team. If you look back, the States have been very successful and it is good to go into a tournament with experienced players. But we are not talking about the gold, we are talking about the next game. I truly believe that it is important to enjoy the journey and don’t take anything for granted. We are prepared for North Korea. If we can just always win the next game, then we will win the final.”

On the talents of Korea DPR and the match:
“It’s a young team and they have been successful with the U-20s. They have good speed of play and are very comfortable with the ball so for us it’s important not to dive in and be patient in our defending, but at the same time, when we gain the ball, it’s a decision of whether you take the space or knock it around and keep possession.”

On the growth of women’s soccer:
“It’s just fantastic. In 1991, I was in China playing as a sweeper. And what I see, what I saw yesterday, is recognition for women’s soccer. We have so many teams competing for the gold medal, we have quality teams and the best part of women’s soccer nowadays is that everything is happening so fast…it’s not only technique and speed of play, it’s reading the game as well. It’s really fun to be part of women’s soccer right now.”


The Women’s World Cup Begins Today!

U.S. WNT Arrive in Dresden

The U.S. Women’s National Team arrived in Dresden, Germany, on Thursday, June 24 in the early afternoon and will now move into their final preparations before opening the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup against Korea DPR on Tuesday, June 28, at Rudolf-Harbig Stadium.

U.S. WNT World Cup Update
June 25, 2011
Dresden, Germany

WILLKOMMEN IN DEUTSCHLAND, THE U.S. WNT ARRIVES IN DRESDEN: The U.S. Women’s National Team arrived in Dresden, Germany, on Thursday, June 24 in the early afternoon and will now move into their final preparations before opening the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup against Korea DPR on Tuesday, June 28, at Rudolf-Harbig Stadium. The match kicks off at 12:15 p.m. ET, but fans can tune in early to watch ESPN’s pre-game show at 11:45 a.m. ET. The USA will train at Rudolf-Harbig Stadium on Monday to get a first-hand look and feel of their opening match field. The Americans have seen a bit of rain so far in Dresden, but the weather forecasts are for excellent weather over the next few days and heading into match day. The U.S. game will actually occur on the third match day of the tournament and will be the fifth match of the competition.

U.S. GROUP D SCHEDULE

Date Opponent Time (ET) Venue
June 28 Korea DPR 11:45 a.m. Rudolf-Harbig Stadium; Dresden
July 2 Colombia 11:30 a.m. Rhein-Neckar-Arena; Sinsheim
July 6 Sweden 2:30 p.m. World Cup Stadium Wolfsburg; Wolfsburg

All games will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN3.com and Galavision

WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM DEFEATS MEXICO IN WORLD CUP-SEND OFF MATCH

June 5, 2011: WNT vs. Mexico – Lauren Cheney Goal

Lauren Cheney’s wonderful strike in the second minute of stoppage time earned the U.S. Women’s National Team a 1-0 win the team’s World Cup Send-Off Match at Red Bull Arena.

Highlights of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s 1-0 win against Mexico in their World Cup Send-Off Match from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

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WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM TO FACE MEXICO IN PRE-WORLD CUP TUNEUP

USA Faces Mexico in Women’s World Cup Send-Off Match

The USA will face Mexico in its Women’s World Cup Send-Off Match on June 5 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., just 23 days before opening the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup against Korea DPR on June 28 in Dresden, Germany.

USA FACES MEXICO IN WOMEN’S WORLD CUP SEND-OFF MATCH: The USA will face Mexico in its Women’s World Cup Send-Off Match on June 5 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., just 23 days before opening the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup against Korea DPR on June 28 in Dresden, Germany (11:45 a.m. ET on ESPN2).

The USA is coming off two excellent 2-0 victories over Japan in its first two domestic matches of the year and will be looking to end the preparation schedule on a high note against the improved Mexicans. The match will kick off at 2 p.m. ET and be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can also follow along on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and via Twitter @ussoccer_wnt.

This game will mark the first international match for a U.S. National Team at Red Bull Arena. Following the Mexico match, the U.S. team will have an eight-day break and then depart for a week-long pre-Women’s World Cup training camp in Austria. The U.S. team is scheduled to arrive in Dresden five days before its opening WWC match.

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U.S. WOMEN’S WORLD CUP TEAM HEADS TO NEW JERSEY
TO FACE MEXICO IN SEND-OFF MATCH ON JUNE 5 LIVE ON ESPN2

First U.S. Soccer Match at Red Bull Arena Will Be Final International for U.S. Women
Before Opening 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup against Korea DPR on June 28

CHICAGO (May 26, 2011) – The 2011 U.S. Women’s World Cup Team will arrive in New Jersey on Monday for a week of training leading into its Women’s World Cup Send-Off Match against Mexico at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on Sunday, June 5. The match kicks off at 2 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can also follow on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and via Twitter @ussoccer_wnt.

Tickets starting at $22 are on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-877-727-6223 (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET only) and at the Red Bull Arena ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET). Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290.

The game will be a rematch of the semifinal from the 2010 CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament in Cancun, Mexico, last November, in which Mexico defeated the USA for the first time ever to earn an automatic berth to the Women’s World Cup in Germany. The USA then had to win the third-place match of the tournament against Costa Rica and a two-game home-and-home playoff series against Italy to earn its place in the 16-team tournament.

U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage brings 22 players to New Jersey, five of them hailing from the Garden State, and will train Monday through Saturday before facing Mexico on Sunday. After the game, the players will have a break before leaving in mid-June for a pre-Women’s World Cup training camp in Austria. The USA opens the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup against Korea DPR on June 28 at Rudolf Harbig Stadium in Dresden, Germany.

The match at spectacular Red Bull Arena is the first international match for any U.S. Soccer National Team at one of the newest jewels in the growing collection of world class soccer-specific stadiums in the United States. The U.S. women have played quite a few matches in New Jersey, appearing five times at the old Giants Stadium in East Rutherford and twice in the mid-1990s at Rutgers University in Piscataway.

The match will also mark a homecoming of sorts for the five New Jersey products on the USA’s Women’s World Cup roster, the most of any state besides California, which also had five. Team captain Christie Rampone hails from Point Pleasant and veteran flank midfielder Heather O’Reilly is from East Brunswick. Attacking midfielder Carli Lloyd is from Delran and flank midfielder Tobin Heath is from Basking Ridge. Back-up goalkeeper Jill Loyden is from Vineland.

Sundhage and her staff head into the week of training with several unsettled issues on the final Women’s World Cup roster. The U.S. lost veteran midfielder Lindsay Tarpley to a torn ACL in the match against Japan on May 14 and Sundhage is still considering replacements while veteran defender Heather Mitts is still trying to bounce back from a hamstring injury. Defender Whitney Engen and midfielder Kelley O’Hara have been called in to train with the team during the week and should be available for selection against Mexico.

Before the match against Mexico, U.S. Soccer and the U.S. Women’s National Team will honor U.S. legend Kristine Lilly for her historic career. The only woman to play in five FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments, Lilly retired last January after a 23-year international career with a world-record 352 career caps and 130 goals, second in world history only to Mia Hamm.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position – Detailed 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (Philadelphia Independence), Jill Loyden (magicJack), Hope Solo (magicJack)
DEFENDERS (8): Rachel Buehler (Boston Breakers), Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), *Whitney Engen (Western New York Flash), Ali Krieger (out of contract), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Atlanta Beat), Christie Rampone (magicJack), Becky Sauerbrunn (magicJack)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx (magicJack), Tobin Heath (Sky Blue FC), Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), Carli Lloyd (Atlanta Beat), *Kelley O’Hara (Boston Breakers), Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Philadelphia Independence)
FORWARDS (4): Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Western New York Flash), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Abby Wambach (magicJack)

* Called in to train due to injuries, but are not on the official WWC roster

From the U.S. Soccer Communications Center

Behind the Scenes with the Women’s National Team

ussoccer.com goes Behind the Scenes of the USA’s World Cup warm-up match with Japan on May 14, 2011 at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

–From the U.S. Soccer Communications Center–

U.S. Veteran Will Miss 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup

CHICAGO (May 15, 2011) — U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team midfielder Lindsay Tarpley, a member of the USA’s Olympic gold medal winning team in 2004 and 2008 who was also a member of the USA’s 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee with 15 minutes remaining in the match against Japan on May 14 in Columbus, Ohio.

Tarpley will be sidelined for six-to-eight months and will be replaced on the USA’s 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup roster. U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage will make a decision on the replacement in the coming days. The final rosters are not due to FIFA until 10 working days before the start of the tournament, which begins on June 26.

Tarpley had an MRI on Saturday evening that confirmed the ACL tear. Tarpley tore the ACL in the same knee at the end of the 2009 WPS season while playing with the Chicago Red Stars and had made a tremendous recovery to earn a spot on this year’s World Cup Team.

“Obviously, I’m extremely disappointed, but I believe that things happen for a reason and I know that I’ll grow and learn from this,” said Tarpley. “I had a long road back to recovery after my last surgery and one of my main goals was to get myself healthy and competing at a level that would give me the opportunity to make this World Cup Team. I have had the fortunate pleasure to be on a lot of great teams but making this roster probably gave me the most satisfaction of any team I have been on. I proved to myself that I could do it. It has always been an extreme honor to be able to wear the U.S. jersey and represent my country and even though I won’t be in Germany, I will be there in spirit and cheering on the team from home. I know they are prepared and going to do great.”

The 27-year-old Tarpley has earned 125 caps for the USA (20th all on the all-time list) and has scored 32 career goals. Although she has appeared in just six international matches since her first ACL tear, she had scored two goals and was playing some of the best soccer of her career. On her resume are two monumental and historic goals for the USA. As captain of the U.S. U-19 team, she pounded home the “golden goal” for a 1-0 victory over Canada in the championship game of the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup and scored in the 2004 Olympic gold medal game against Brazil, a 2-1 U.S. victory.

The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in 42 days and will run from June 26-July 17 in nine German cities.

“It is sad to lose Tarp as she is a fantastic person and a great player. She will be missed on and off the field,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “But now we have to make some decisions and we will do that quickly as it’s important to have our entire roster together as we move towards the World Cup.”

U.S. midfielder Tarpley tears ACL, out of World Cup (cbc.ca)

Tarpley to miss Women’s World Cup with knee injury (usatoday.com)

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U.S. WNT WINS FIRST OF TWO-GAME SERIES AGAINST JAPAN

–From the U.S. Soccer Communications Center–

*Wambach and Rodriguez Score in First Half
*USA Shuts Out World’s Fourth-Ranked Team as Hope Solo (above photo-Image via Wikipedia) Gets First Start Since Major Shoulder Surgery
*USA Heads to Cary, N.C., to Face Japan in Second Leg of Two-Game Series on May 18 Live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. ET

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 14, 2011) – The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Japan 2-0 in its third-to-last match before opening the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, getting first half goals from forwards Abby Wambach and Amy Rodriguez.

The first goal from Wambach was a spectacular finish off a classic header while the second from Rodriguez was beautifully-crafted and also put away with class.

“If you look at the first 25 minutes, I don’t think it was good soccer from our side,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “They kept possession and so forth. But, we stayed composed and we came back and the fact that we picked up the rhythm a little bit makes me happy. You don’t have to play beautiful soccer for 90 minutes but you need to be smart enough to find a way to play such good soccer so you can win the game. I think that we did that in the second half and partly late in the first half.”

Japan controlled most of the first 25 minutes with the excellent ball possession, firing three shots to the USA’s zero, but then the Americans settled down and started to impose their style, firing seven shots and scoring twice before Japan could produce another shot of their own.

In the 25th minute, the first good attacking sequence from the U.S. got Wambach i

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