US SoccerUS Soccer

US WNT Post Draw Quote Sheet

U.S. head coach PIA SUNDHAGE
On the USA’s Group C opponents:
“This is the best thing that could have happened. It’s a tough group and that’s exactly what we need. Coming off qualifying and playing in the playoff, knowing who we’re playing and going forward is the best thing that could happen. We’ll have the chance to play against different opponents and we’ll have to adjust our tactics and that’s fun. It will be easy as we go from one game to another to focus on different things because we’re playing against different cultures.”

On the strength of Group C:
“There is no easy draw for any team, because all the teams that qualified are very good. In the women’s game now, the development is so fast and it’s getting better and better so there are no easy games. Now, we look at the opponents and at ranking, we know we need to win each game and prepare as best as we can.”

On what her team can take away from being the last to qualify for Germany:
“We took a different road to the World Cup, a bit of a bumpy one, but I think after beating Italy twice it has strengthened us and we’ll come out of this playoff stronger than before. It was good for us because we can mention those games over and over. What we can learn from that situation, where we put ourselves in a corner, is how to play under pressure and it’s a privilege to play under pressure.”

On whether the international women’s game has grown:
“In international games you can’t take anything for granted. The women’s development is so fast and if you look at the teams that qualified for the World Cup, any team can beat any other team depending on whether they’re having a good day or not. There are many more countries that can win the World Cup today compared to 1991.”

On the next step of preparation:
“Now we know who we’re playing and now we have to do our homework. It’s all about the journey so to prepare we can figure out what we need to do to improve our game and I hope that every player looked in the mirror and said ‘what can I do to make my teammates better’.”

On being asked a lot of questions about Sweden:
“We are playing Sweden, but I know the American players better than the Swedish players because I’ve been away for so long. Honestly, it’s a game. It’s two 45 minute halves. There will be some weird questions before the game and after the game, but otherwise just play the game.”

On the event overall:
“The whole atmosphere of being in Germany, everyone breathes soccer and it’s contagious. I think this will be a big event and going forward the women’s game will gain some respect after this tournament. It’s just a fantastic atmosphere.”

U.S. defender and captain CHRISTIE RAMPONE
On the draw:
“It’s exciting to know that it’s here. We just qualified a couple days ago so it’s kind of still exciting that we qualified and now it’s all coming together.”

On the outcome of Group C:
“Watching all four groups come together, I think they’ll all be tough and we have faced Sweden and, obviously Pia comes from Sweden. We definitely think that will be a great match. They’ll know us very well just as we’ll know them very well and I think it just comes down to who is going to play better that game.”

On familiarity with Sweden:
“At the end of the day, in the World Cup everyone raises their game a level. You can be familiar with them but only to an extent. Everyone brings their ‘A’ game to a world event, so you’ll see a different U.S. team there as well as a different Sweden team.”

On what Colombia will bring to their first FIFA Women’s World Cup:
“I think they’ll come at every team. They’re a team that not everyone knows about but I’m sure they’re really excited and looking to build off their momentum of qualifying. I think they’ll take it just as any other team would in their first World Cup experience. They’ll enjoy it at the moment but also try to disrupt other teams.”

On the team’s next steps in preparation for Germany:
“We do have a good amount of time to prepare. I think it’s just taking a breath and getting our rest while we can. Come January it’s just focusing on the big event. Everything we do from then on has to have a focus on Germany and getting the work done. Every day counts. Every step counts. We have to focus on our first game and then take it from there. We definitely set our goal to qualify, now we’re going and it’s about preparing as a team and getting back to our old mentality.”

U.S. midfielder HEATHER O’REILLY
On the quick turnaround ahead of the draw:
“This is an exciting day for us, hearing about the group. We’re still excited about qualifying and taking care of business against Italy. Now it’s exciting to see our path going forward from here. It’s a challenging group, as they all are, but I think the most important thing that we’ve learned over the last couple months is that as long as we’re playing our best soccer, we’re confident. We’re going to keep the lessons we’ve learned these last couple months and carry them forward, not take them for granted. We are excited about our opponents and looking forward to Germany.”

On playing teams with which they are familiar:
“I think that we’re fairly familiar with North Korea. You never know exactly what you’re going to get with a team like that because we just don’t have an opportunity to play them very often except at the big tournaments. That’s always a challenge, and they’re always a very disciplined and technical team. We’ll definitely be preparing for that.”

On playing against Sweden under Swedish head coach Pia Sundhage:
“You can see it on her face every time we’re preparing for Sweden. Obviously she takes that game very personally. I think we’ll be very well prepared for it and have some good insight on their style and a lot of their players.”

On playing against familiar opponents:
“There are pros and cons of playing a team often, and I think we learned that in qualifying this year. It always helps us to familiarize ourselves with another team and even on our club teams there are many Swedish players who come to the WPS. We know about a lot of their star players and I think that we can gain confidence from parts of those two friendly matches that we played this year.”

On the draw coming together:
“We’re excited about qualifying for the World Cup and now that the draw has come to fruition I think it will be an interesting World Cup. We have played Sweden many times, we’ve played North Korea in the last World Cup as well so we’re pretty familiar with them and we’re excited about hopefully bringing the trophy back to the U.S.”

On drawing teams that they have faced before in Sweden and Korea DPR:
“We can always draw on those experiences to give ourselves confidence. We’ll be playing a couple of these teams in the same World Cup environment, a pressure situation where we’ll need as many points as we can. Having those experiences in 2007 will give us that added edge I hope to be able to get the points that we need to get out of our group.”

On the USA’s familiarity with Sweden:
“The more times you play a team the more it will help. There is the other side of it where if you play a team too many times they’re going to figure things out about you, but I believe that our team is good enough that playing a team just makes us better. Our coaching staff is going to prepare us for those games, but we really need to focus on ourselves. If we focus on what we need to do we really believe that we’re one of the best teams in the world and it will be hard to stop us.”

On Group C:
“The thing about World Cups and the draw is that you really want to put yourself in a position to go through. I don’t really care who we play as long as we get through our group and get to the quarters.”

On the draw overall:
“It’s exciting. We’re one step closer to being in Germany. It’s so hard now because there are just no easy teams in the women’s game. I think every game is going to be important and that it’s going to be an exciting World Cup. People are going to be in the stands cheering for every team in every game. It’s exciting. As a team we’re celebrating qualifying and now that the draw has happened, it makes it even more real for us.”

U.S. defender ALI KRIEGER
On the draw:
“I think it was beautifully done. The atmosphere here was really great. It was nice to be here and see the groups. Every group seems tough and I’m really excited. Now we can just focus on the teams we have to play and take another step forward. We have a lot to do, but now we are focused on North Korea, Sweden and Colombia. We can all breathe a little bit and focus on our group and where we’re going to play, and getting our mentality back.”

On the team’s preparation for a diverse Group C:
“I think it’s going to be interesting, but I think we’re going to focus on how we’re going to play and not how anybody else is going to play. As long as we focus on that then everything else will fall into place.”

On the draw:
“It’s just really exciting. Obviously there are some familiar faces that we’ve played several times. We have a lot of experience in playing Sweden in friendly games, which is good, but they’ll definitely be challenging. It’s exciting to have Colombia in there too. They’re kind of an unknown team but it sounds like they had a good run through qualifying so it will be interesting to learn more about them and a fun experience to play someone that we don’t know much about.”

On how the team will prepare for Colombia:
“I’m sure the coaches will scout them as much as they can. They do their very best to prepare us and let us know key players and style and that kind of thing, so we’ll feel prepared even though we’ve never played them.”

On playing Sweden in friendlies versus playing them in a World Cup:
“There is a huge difference. I feel like in a World Cup every team steps up their game and every game becomes a great battle. So yes, we have seen them before but you never know what’s going to happen in a World Cup when everyone is playing their very best. Everyone is going to be tough.”

On the next step of preparation ahead of Germany:
“It’s good that we have some time to just regroup and rejuvenate, get our bodies back. Then when we come back together in January it’s going to be very intense and we’ll have non-stop preparation for the World Cup. I think we’ll take our time now and then really get after it in the months leading up. It seems like a long time away but it always goes by so quickly. We have an exciting journey ahead of us. It will be a good road.”