Pre-Match Quote Sheet: U.S. WNT Looks Out for Smith, England
U.S. head coach Greg Ryan, forward Abby Wambach and defender Christie Rampone discuss Saturday's quarterfinal vs. England.
Sep. 21, 2007
2007 FIFA Women's World Cup Quarterfinal
USA vs. England
U.S. head coach GREG RYAN
On England's defense and its performance vs. Germany:
"I think they are very organized. Defensively they are very strong, and on set plays. They've got some big players back there that can head balls out of the 18. They are disciplined and organized team, and Germany found that out. I watched that game and I thought that Germany only had one really good chance, and that was off a missed clearance."
On what he expects from USA vs. England:
"You are looking at two teams who are very organized, very talented, both very good on set pieces and play both sides of the ball really well. Again, in the Sweden game, we said what would be the difference, and its big players making big plays. That was the difference in the Sweden game. Abby scored on the penalty and then Kristine Lilly sprung her in on the ball in behind and that was the difference in the match. We have to count on our players to come through for us, as does England."
On if the team will be able to relax now that they are out of the "Group of Death":
"It was a very, very tough group. Each game was very tight - not only physically hard, but mentally difficult. Our group wasn't settled until the very end of the Nigeria game, because it was very tight in terms of who would go through. Hopefully, we'll be a little more relaxed and more composed, but again, in the World Cup, you have to wait and see on the day."
On the improvement of the England Women's National Team:
"When I was growing up I was watching English men's soccer and it was great. I think England has grown up (on the women's side). I don't think it's that they are looking up at us. They have good players. Their club team won the European Championship this year. They are making their own mark, they are playing their own style and I think they look at us and say 'there's a good team and we're a good team'."
U.S. forward ABBY WAMBACH
On the U.S. team's finishing:
"A lot of that has to do with how good the teams we have been playing against are defensively. North Korea is one of the best teams I've played against in a long time. The weather was a big part of it. Our grouping was just a difficult, difficult group. That is a major factor in the finishing aspect of our game. As long as our team wins and continues on in this tournament, I don't care how many goals I score. I don't care if I score zero goals. Ultimately the finishing for our team always comes."
On Kelly Smith:
"From the time that I first got into the WUSA I've been admiring Kelly and the things that she can do on the ball. She is a crafty player, and she just finds a way - no matter what team she plays for, what league she's in, what tournament she's playing in, what jersey she's wearing - she always brings her best soccer. That could mean leading her team or that could mean scoring two or three goals. But really, Kelly Smith is one of the best players in the world right now and our defense is going to really have to play their best to keep her at bay."
On the match:
"I think it's going to be a great match. We're out of the group stage now. Granted, we had a very difficult group, but so did England. The game is getting to the point now where every game is going to be difficult. This tournament is such that depending on the weather, the wind, the way the ball bounces - that could put you through to the next round or send you home. That's the beauty of this game, that's the beauty of this tournament and I'm just excited to get out there and continue to show the world that we can play better soccer because we haven't played our best yet."
U.S. defender CHRISTIE RAMPONE:
On the England game:
"For us, the keys are staying really organized and communicating early. They are quick, and they are skillful, so we can't let anyone slip through the seams into the space. We need to communicate when we're passing on or making sure we know where they all are, especially Kelly Smith, at all times."
On the match:
"They are going to play a little more direct, but I think they are going to find their key players as well. They are going to try to go through Kelly and we're going to have to make it hard for them to do that or make her work extra hard to get the ball. But at the same time we can't focus too much on her, we have to focus on staying committed as a back line."