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U.S. Women's National Team vs. France Quote Sheet


U.S. WNT vs. France
2012 Olympic Games - Group G
Hampden Park; Glasgow, Scotland
July 25, 2012

U.S. National Team head coach PIA SUNDHAGE
On the reaction to going down two goals to start the game:
“I thought about China (where the USA lost 2-0 to Norway in the opening game at the 2008 Olympics). We’ve been there before and we came back and won the gold medal. Now, this team is better than in 2008 and we came back in the game. It was the first game (of the Olympics), so we were a little bit nervous, but look at the result and that’s the key for our coaches. Today, Abby (Wambach) and Alex (Morgan) stepping up for the team made a difference.”

On the decision to start with a few veterans on the bench:
“I think we put on the best team today. I’ve said from the very beginning, this team with the bench we have, [players] can come off the bench and be game-changers. If you look at Carli Lloyd, she did well. She scored that goal and she changed the game. She didn’t start the game, but she finished it. We have depth on the bench, so if you talk about having a good team it’s important to show the players that they have chances. This time I think we did really well in the second half with players coming off the bench.”

On Alex Morgan’s Olympic debut:
“She had a good game, absolutely. I think we’re going to need her every single game going forward. The fact that she has experience from the World Cup helped quite a bit. She has embraced the fact that she’s now in the starting lineup and she plays well with Abby Wambach up top. That makes the team better than in 2011.”

On whether there was a difference in Hope Solo’s level of aggression between halves:
“She played better in the second half…I think she was a little bit unlucky in the first half. If you looked at how she played with confidence in the second half, it will be interesting to watch her in the upcoming games.”

On if the team was too antsy for the Olympics to begin:
"You can't look at only the first minutes or the last minutes, it's the whole game. If you look at the whole game, I'm really proud of the team. Scoring four goals, and goals that were fantastic, that's one way to prove that you are ready (for the Olympics). It was a little shaky beginning, but I think it was amazing the way we came back and responded to those two goals."

On if France presented the most difficult challenge in Group G:
“We’ll relax tomorrow and the day after, but then it’s Colombia. Colombia is playing their second big event, they played in the World Cup and now the Olympics, and they are excited. It’s very different from France. After that, it’s North Korea, so it’s all about preparation and finding the right starting lineup and having those players come off the bench and change the game like we did today.”

On Alex Morgan’s first goal:
“It was a world class goal. She’s proven that she’s not only fast, but she’s strong. She has that balance. She’s a good finisher and when she gets behind that back line, if she gets back and the team is putting her behind the back line, it looks really good and we get some goals.”

U.S. forward ALEX MORGAN
On her emotions after the four-goal comeback:
“We went down 2-0 and we were fine. Obviously, we were mad and adrenaline was running, but we kept calm and knew that we were going to come back. We had no doubts in our mind, which is the best part. We’ve been in this predicament a couple times and we know how to get out of it.”

On the importance of her equalizing goal:
“I think that the first goal was huge. Abby’s goal set the tone for us. The second goal was also big, but from the first goal we knew that we were coming back.”

On whether there were nerves before the game:
“I think going out right before the whistle blew there were some nerves. We addressed that in the locker room before; we said if there are nerves that’s OK. I was just really excited. Once I stepped on that field and the whistle blew, I was considered an Olympian so that was an amazing moment for me. Then we were hit with two goals, so it was a quick turnaround.”

On scoring her first goal:
“I knew that there was a defender on my back that was going to come sliding in or put a body on me so I was actually looking to shoot it with laces, and then I saw the goalkeeper give up that space (behind her by rushing out) and I thought the chip would be the best.”

On her positioning and pairing with Abby Wambach:
“Timing is everything for me. My strength is getting in behind the back line and to do that I need really good timing. There were a couple times I was killing myself with bad timing in the second half because France came out and tried to play a higher line. Being on the same page always helps with us.”

U.S. midfielder CARLI LLOYD
On scoring the game-winning goal:
“It was a great pass by (Megan) Rapinoe. The position I came in playing was a bit more of a holding player, so I wasn’t getting myself in the box. I knew that everyone was crashing in toward the goal and nobody was marking me. I took a touch, set myself up and couldn’t hit it more perfectly than I did.”

On starting the match on the bench:
“I think the last three games I got a little bit used to it. I never stopped working and I dug deeper and I remained confident. I know what I can bring to the team – winning head balls, tackling, playing that holding role, playing that attacking role. I know what I can do and my teammates know what I can do. I just remained confident and kept taking it day-by-day and working hard and mentally prepared as if I was going to come on into the game.”

On the response after going down by two goals:
“It was kind of a repeat of last Olympics. We’re the best team in the world and if anyone can come back from a two-goal deficit, it’s us. I have full confidence in everybody on this team. That’s the way it’s going to roll. Teams are good this go-around and we’re going to get scored on. We just have to remain confident and weather the storm and just focus on our game plan and execute it.”

U.S. goalkeeper HOPE SOLO
On the team remaining calm after going down 2-0 after 15 minutes:
“It was incredible. We were ice cold. We weren’t even fazed going down two goals and I think that came from the confidence and our preparation. We feel good and we’ve been training well. It was one of those things where we knew France was good, but we knew we were better. We still had 75 minute left.”

On how to explain the two-goal deficit:
“It’s the opening game of the Olympics, anything can happen. There are going to be nerves and some unpredictable things that do happen and that’s what makes it interesting and that’s what keeps the fans involved and it makes it all part of the journey. We gave up two goals in 2008 and we went down in the first five minutes, so it happens. This team is experienced. We have a good amount of young, creative players and we weren’t fazed. I think that comes with the experience.”

On Carli Lloyd coming off the bench after being a starter in big games:
“I’m impressed with the way she’s handled it from day one. She’s a leader on this team, she’s a rock. She’s a great midfielder. We just have so many great players. It’s one of those things where what does the game need? What does Pia want on the field? It doesn’t mean Carli is less of a player. It doesn’t mean she isn’t playing well. She’s still a leader on this team and she’s still playing well. The way I’ve seen her handle it, again, it’s like nothing even fazed her.”

On whether she needed to be more aggressive in the second half:
“Not necessarily, I think I was given the opportunity to be more aggressive coming out for some balls in a crowd. There wasn’t much service in the first half. I had to read what the game was going to provide.”

On going down 2-0:
“Our defense knows what we need to do. (Asst. coach Tony Gustafsson) mentioned something at halftime about not giving up that space. Credit to the French because they were looking for the outside shots because they knew they couldn’t get around our back line. They couldn’t get into our 18-yard box, so they had to take outside shots. We need to be aware of that and probably step a little bit quicker to block those shots.”

On missing out on the Opening Ceremony:
“We’re right where we need to be. It’ll be the day before our second game. We’re going to feel the spirit. Everyone is talking about dressing up in our Opening Ceremony outfit. In fact, we’re not shipping everything home until the following day so we can do so. As long as I’m with my teammates, we’re going to be fine.”

On assisting on Alex Morgan’s first goal:

“We have the strength, we have the ability in the air and we have the service, so why not use it? Over the last year, we’ve been focusing on trying to play a style like Japan and the Brazilians, yet our style should have both ingredients. We should celebrate our athleticism, our speed, our dominance in the air, our service, but then we should also bring in players like Tobin (Heath) and hold the ball a bit more. We’re trying to respect who we truly are as a team.”

On Alex Morgan’s Olympic debut:
“She did what she was expected to do. She’s a forward and she scores goals. It’s not just Alex, everybody did what they needed to do. Being a young player, she still has that experience of going through the World Cup last year and I think that allowed her to feel like she has experience and that gives her confidence.”

U.S. forward ABBY WAMBACH
On if the team was nervous going into the match:
“I don’t think it was anything about the emotions. I think nerves for some players were getting into it. Hope (Solo) had the sun in her eyes for the first 45 minutes and that definitely made a very big impact. I’m sure the goalkeeper from the French team will tell you the same thing. They capitalized on their first two chances and I think they might be kicking themselves because they had a good opportunity to keep the United States at bay. Going up two goals against us is quite a feat in my opinion. The fact that we grinded it out, came back and had four unanswered goals, that’s a little demoralizing for any opponent truthfully. I’m proud of us. This team, no matter what bumps we approach, we hop over them together. We had to finish this game off and we had to get three points out of it and I’m proud of us for doing that.”

On Alex Morgan’s Olympic debut:
“Alex is strong. She’s physical and she took a few knocks today. When Alex is in the game she makes things happen. She’s excited about it being her first Olympic Games; I don’t think nerves are a problem for Alex at all.”

On finding a way to be effective on set plays:
“I love being in that moment. I love having the pressure on us. I love corner kicks, especially, because I love heading the ball and I love getting physical. We’re good at it. We need to take advantage of these small moments when they show up in games, especially when we’re down. These are moments that we can control the tempo, we can relax a little bit and get set up to have more of a set play that we can take advantage of.”

U.S. midfielder MEGAN RAPINOE
On disrupting France:
“I think we were pretty disruptive. They found a little bit of a rhythm in the first half at times, but just really couldn’t break us down. I think we did a good job not letting them have too much possession before we stepped out and pressured them.”

On what a win like this does for the U.S.:
“It’s a huge confidence boost. Obviously, France is such a quality side and being able to open up with them is a little bit nerve-wrecking, but coming back to get a 4-2 win is huge for us. It really sets the tone for the whole tournament.”

On reacting to the early deficit:

“We were pretty calm, to be honest. There was a ton of time left. We were a little unlucky on the second one; the first one was a beautiful shot.”

On the team’s talent coming back from two goals:
“I don’t think any deficit with the right amount of time is too much for this team. I think we’ve showed that many times. We never give up. We always have that fight and we always believe that we’re going to win.”

On maintaining possession and sparking a counterattack:
“We’ve been working hard on regaining the ball after losing possession. We have such a potent attack up top, Alex (Morgan) is always on her toes…We try to get back on defense as soon as possible and win the ball back and look for that quick counter attack. It’s OK to lose the ball, but just work hard to try to get it back and if not fall in and get our shape.”

On conceding the two goals:
“I think Thiney got the ball in the space between the back line and midfield and that’s always a dangerous space. She got it off her foot quickly, it caught us by surprise a little bit and it was a well struck ball. The other one was tried to clear it and it just bounced right out to them. It was a good finish.”

U.S. captain CHRISTIE RAMPONE
On the young players stepping up:
“They’re really stepping up and they’re really taking pride in wearing the USA jersey and showing American pride, more the mentality – kind of old school with a young flair. They’re doing a great job.”

On assistant coach Tony Gustafsson’s halftime speech:
“He’s very good with his words, very simple. It was more so of the commitment defensively because I don’t think we really kept possession of the ball. It was more about making sure our lines were tighter and staying more compact. Our lines were not necessarily poor, but just too spread out.”

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