Quote Sheet: U.S. vs. Sweden - FIFA Women's World Cup
Quotes from head coach Greg Ryan and players
Sep. 14, 2007
On the match and result:
"I am so proud of my players. We knew that this was potentially an elimination match with Sweden. We discussed what would be the difference in the game, and I think big players win championships. You saw what Abby did tonight. She played great. Kristine Lilly played great. I thought it was a very good performance from all of our players and (goalkeeper Hope Solo) had a very strong performance tonight also."
On the two changes to the staring lineup:
"Leslie has done so well against Sweden and she is just great in the air, and you saw that tonight -- that she won so many head balls. She was very composed, helped us play and did a great job. Tarpley, Abby and Lilly combine really well together, so that was the thought going in. We knew very likely that Boxx would be in early and that Heather O'Reilly would come in pretty early too. I feel great to know that my first 11 and my next players can all do what it takes at this level."
On his embrace of Sweden head coach Thomas Dennerby after the match:
"We are very good friends and colleagues and support one another. We have worked off the field to help the game grow and our teams grow."
On the penalty kick:
"(Lori Chalupny) broke in behind the defender and there was some contact and she went down. I haven't seen the replays, I haven't seen it slowed down, but from where I was it looked like a good call and obviously we are very thankful about it."
On if the result shows that the U.S. could win the Women's World Cup:
"There are so many great teams in the tournament and I have so much confidence that our team has everything it needs to win this World Cup. We know it is a very difficult road and there are many great teams in our path. We are not even finished with our group yet, we still have to do well and play well against Nigeria to move forward. I have every confidence, but you only take it one step at a time."
On the strategy of playing in long balls to the forwards:
“I thought we had some good balls played in behind them. The second goal that put the game away was off that kind of ball that went in just behind their defense. It worked well – both goals game from balls played in behind their defensive back line.”
On improving possession:
“I know it went well, but I think that we can possess even more. I know this team wants to possess more. Sweden plays a very direct style as you saw, lots long balls that are launched and you have to run and knock down, collect yourself, calm down and play. I think our best soccer is still in front of us but I was very pleased with the effort tonight.”
On weathering the early storm created by Sweden:
“We knew they were going to come at us. We talked about it. They were going to knock balls in behind us and chase us and they did that. Hope did a great job and all the players battling until we could catch a rhythm, bring the ball down to our feet and start to play and then we turned the tide of the game at that point.”
On the next opponent, Nigeria:
“We know Nigeria very well. We’ve seen them and we’ll see them again against North Korea. They are very fast, athletic and talented. We’ll have a game plan ready, and our kids know one way, let’s go out there and get after them.”
U.S. forward ABBY WAMBACH
On her second goal:
"The ball got wide to Kristine, and I saw her take a touch facing up toward the field that she had a chance to play a long ball in so I just kind of made a run. She saw me making the run and she basically did all the rest. She put an amazing ball on my chest in between the two defenders and I luckily took a decent touch off my chest and was able to half-volley it. It's one of those goals as a forward that you say "yea, I meant to do that, to put it exactly where it went" but you know, in this situation, I just hit it as hard as I could and it went in."
On her time spent in Chengdu:
“China and Chengdu itself, I can’t believe how amazing the crowds have been for our games. I thank all of them, because it is a better and more exciting atmosphere to play soccer in a venue with 30-plus thousand people. What a great city. We have been treated so professionally, maybe the best since I started on this team.”
On playing with Kristine Lilly:
"She is definitely the person that we are playing for, the person that I am playing for. I don't care if I score goals as long as we move on out of our group."
U.S. captain KRISTINE LILLY
On Wambach's second goal:
"What started to happen is we started to get the ball wide and when I had the ball wide I had some time to look. As I got it, I knew she was going to make that run and served her. You know, it was a good ball in but what she did with it to bring it down and get the volley off was world class. That gave us the extra goal to take a little deep breath, but not a real one because you know if Sweden scores on us it's 2-1 and they are back in the game. It gave us that extra lift to keep going."
On the flow of the game:
"We got the early penalty kick and the goal in the second half and that gave us an extra boost. But Sweden kept coming, and we knew they were going to keep battling and serving long balls. They are really good with the flick and organizing that, but our defense did a really good job tonight and I'm very pride of our group."
U.S. midfielder LESLIE OSBORNE
On playing her first Women’s World Cup game:
“I wasn’t nervous. I think I was more excited than anything. This is my first World Cup start and my coach is telling me ‘I have confidence in you to mark their best player and I want you to play your game.’ I’ve been training for this for the last two years. I think all my nerves got out on the way during the National Anthem so once the whistle blew it was just fun from there.”
On why she was chosen to mark Sweden’s Victoria Svensson:
“I’m a physical player and I can mark one-v-one pretty well, so he wanted me on Svensson, their best player. I think that I match up against them because I play like them. I know their tendencies and I play that way, so I think that helps. I’ve done it before, marking top attacking players.”
On Wambach’s second goal:
“The ball Lil played to her was unbelievable, and the touch that Abby had with her chest was awesome. Her and Lil score those kinds of goals in practice all the time, so I’m not surprised that she can do it, but it was huge. The ball, Tarpley’s pass leading up to it, it was great.”
On facing Nigeria:
“We know what kind of game it’s going to be. They’re not only athletic, but they can play. They are going to mark us man to man all up and down the field. We know it’s going to be a back and forth game, kind of like the North Korea game. We’re ready for it. We keep getting better each game. Tonight was good for us to just get a rhythm possession wise, and I think we will do well against them but they are definitely good.”
U.S. defender CHRISTIE RAMPONE:
On the game:
“You can’t feel any better than after a win, getting three points. This game meant a lot to us. This could have been an elimination game so we had to leave it all out there and everyone was gunning and going after it. We knew that we had to give everything that we had, and Abby gave it the all. It’s put us into a good spot going against Nigeria and I am feeling good and I’m ready for the next game.”
On Sweden’s fast start:
“We did well (to hold off Sweden during the first few minutes). We held our ground when they came at us and we defended a lot more than we wanted to, but I think that the team stayed together and stayed strong and we had to recover from that and loosened up after that.”
On what it took to beat a determined Sweden team:
“I figured that I wasn’t going to leave it all on the field, go after it and once I crossed that line there were a lot of balls that I was able to get to before they did and start the attack.”
On watching Abby score her goal:
“When I see her bring down the ball, I just hoping she stays focused and puts the ball in the back of the net. I have so much confidence in her, and I know that she’s going to get one and that was her opportunity of the game and she put it away.”
On having daughter Riley with her in China;
“It’s been awesome. She has transitioned well to being here in China and she’s making it easier on myself and my husband, Chris. She’s enjoying it so it makes me enjoy it even more.”
U.S. midfielder SHANNON BOXX
On coming in to play in the midfield with Leslie Osborne:
“We’ve always known that we could have the two of us back there if we’re up a goal or if we needed the presence of two defensive center mids. This game was awesome. Me and Leslie just work so well together. It made it very easy for us to defend. We didn’t have to do as much running as if there were only one of us. We have the same kind of mentality. We are both hard, good in the air and we were very organized back there.”
On what she learned watching Sweden in the first half:
“You go out and you think they are going to play a certain way, and the kinda changed it. We thought they were going to come in a 4-3-3 and they were more in a 4-4-2. That was one thing I noticed right away, and Greg noticed it as well. So when we went into halftime he readjusted and he was like ‘alright, let's push our defenders forward so they are marking the outsides instead of the (midfielders) going out wide. That was the big thing.”
U.S. goalkeeper HOPE SOLO
On how she approached the Sweden game vs. the North Korea game:
“I did absolutely nothing differently. That’s the beauty of being a professional and that is the beauty of this sport. I know what I am here to do and thank goodness that my experience has taken me this far.”
On the team’s efforts in the two opening games:
“As a team, I think we put on a fight both nights. Our touch was a little off the first game. We had a different game play the first game. But we didn’t execute our best. I think tonight we showed more creativity on the field.”
On the difference between Sweden and North Korea:
“North Korea is a crafty little team. They connect five or six passes and then switch the field and we were chasing all over the place. They can crack outside shots, they can get into the box and score. Sweden is more tough in the air – they have an aerial game and a lot of crosses for me to cover. It was a completely different game, but it is more long-ball and an aerial game vs. Sweden.”
U.S. defender KATE MARKGRAF
On the U.S. back line playing a lot of long balls toward the Sweden goalkeeper:
“I think every time you play in a high-pressure situation you want to test the goalkeeper. We just kept hitting balls at her. That’s something that we’re always going to test a goalkeeper to see if they get rattled or not. She kind of got rattled and we knew it, so it was like ‘let’s keep trying those balls.’ The default for us if we had pressure and we couldn’t find anyone’s feet was to just launch it right at her.”
On the ball into the area that led to the penalty kick call:
“I saw (Lori Chalupny) holding a run so I just hit it and I kind of surprised myself with how well I hit it. I hit it how far Cat (Whitehill) hits it, and that’s kind of unusual. I think she inspired me to kick the crap out if it….I was just trying to get it high enough for my forwards to get underneath it, and it worked out great.”