WNT Aug 30, 2012
The U.S. U-20 WNT held its final practice today before the quarterfinal clash with North Korea on Aug. 31 (coverage starts at 6:20 a.m. ET on ESPNU and ESPN3) and it was the hottest day of numerous hot days the U.S. team has experienced in Japan.
With temps hitting 95 on the field and the heat index climbing to 11o, the players went through their paces during a short training that did not lack intensity, despite the heat.
Fortunately, the USA's game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. local on what promises to be a balmy night that will feature lots of running from both teams as the two countries both like to possess the ball.
U.S. head coach Steve Swanson and the players know their best performance of the tournament will be needed to knock out that talented North Koreans.
Here are a few quotes from Swanson from the pre-game press conference:
"Our group was a very tough group obviously and hopefully those games have prepared us for this one. We expected it to be every bit a quarterfinal."
"We're happy to be in Saitama. At this stage of the competition every team is very competitive and we have a lot of respect for all the teams that made it this far. We haven't played North Korea, but we know they are a quality team with a lot of experience, technical and organized. We expect a very competitive game."
"I feel confident in our team. It's going to be a competitive game, they had a good run in group play, but I think it's a good match-up. There are areas where we can get better, so we are focusing on those and trying to play a complete match. That's what it's going to take, for us to concentrate on things we can control and be consistent from start to finish. At this stage, you have to be consistent over the 90 minutes."
Two semifinalists are already set as Nigeria defeated Mexico, 1-0, after extra time and Japan walloped rival South Korea, 3-1, in front of a boisterous crowd of 24,000 at Tokyo's National Stadium.