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USA Prepares to Close Out Group Play vs. France at 2006 U-20 Women's World Championship

Wednesday, August 23, 2006
U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team
Notes from Moscow, Russia

USA WOMEN FACES FRANCE IN FINAL GROUP MATCH AT FIFA U-20 WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team plays its final Group D match at the 2006 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Championship on Thursday, Aug. 24, against France at Dynamo Stadium in Moscow. Fans can follow all the action on’s MatchTracker at 11 a.m. ET. The USA played its first two matches at Torpedo Stadium in Moscow, but will get a change of scenery for their last match. Dynamo Stadium, which was the first soccer stadium in Russia to get lights (early 1950s) holds more than 36,000, twice as many as Torpedo.

BATTLE FOR TOP SPOT IN GROUP D: Unlike several of the final group matches from the other groups, this game will feature no drama as far as advancement, but it will determine the order of finish in Group D. Both the USA and France went through to the quarterfinals after winning their first two games over DR Congo and Argentina. The USA needs a win to take the group title while France will take top honors with a win or a draw as they would hold the edge in goal difference at +6 vs. the USA’s +4. The USA and France will most likely cross-over against North Korea and Germany, but the quarterfinal pairing are still to be determined by the Aug. 24 matches. The Group D winner could surprisingly face defending U-19 world champs Germany in the quarterfinals, while Group D’s second place finisher may play North Korea, which impressively reeled off three straight wins in group play, including a 2-0 triumph over Germany, to open the tournament. All will be known after Thursday’s matches, but by the time the USA kicks off against France, the Americans will know the final results of the Group C matches, which kick off concurrently at 4 p.m. local / 8 a.m. ET. No matter how the matches turn out, the U.S. team knows that on Friday, it will be on its way to St. Petersburg for its quarterfinal match on Aug. 27 at Petrovsky Stadium. If the USA wins the group, it will play the second quarterfinal at 7 p.m. local / 11 a.m. ET. If the USA finishes second, it will play first at 4 p.m. local / 8 a.m. ET. The U.S. team went 6-0-0 in group play at the two previous FIFA youth world championships, winning its group both times.

Date Matchup Stadium (Venue) Result / Kickoff Local / ET
Aug. 18 DR Congo vs. USA Torpedo (Moscow) 1-2
Aug. 21 USA vs. Argentina Torpedo (Moscow) 4-1
Aug. 24 USA vs. France Dynamo (Moscow) 7 p.m. / 11 a.m.

2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship
Group D Standings
Team W L T Pts. GF GA GD
FRA 2 0 0 6 6 0 +6
USA 2 0 0 6 6 2 +4
COD 0 2 0 0 1 2 -1
ARG 0 2 0 0 1 9 -8

Aug. 18
USA 2, DR Congo 1
France 5, Argentina 0

Aug. 21
USA 4, Argentina 1
France 1, DR Congo 0

Aug. 24
Argentina vs. DR Congo
USA vs. France

FRANCE QUALIFYING: France earned its berth to Russia at the eight-team 2005 European U-19 Women’s Championship, picking up an impressive 4-0 win over Russia in its first group game. The French then predictably beat Scotland, 3-1, but had to rally in their final group game to draw England, 1-1, earning a spot in the semifinals and along with it, a berth to the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championships. In the semifinal, France defeated Finland 1-0 and advanced to the championship game against Russia. France came back to tie that game twice, but then fell in penalty kicks to the U-20 WWC hosts.

USA vs. FRANCE PREVIEW: On paper, both teams seem to be very evenly matched. Each team scored six goals over their first two Group D matches against the same teams, but the French have yet to concede a goal. The USA allowed a goal in each game, both off defensive errors. Both teams had trouble finishing chances against the DR Congo and both teams put multiple goals past Argentina. The USA fired 14 shots against Argentina, getting four goals while France had 17 shots and scored five goals. The USA had 22 shots against DR Congo, getting two goals while France took 26 shots and netted one goal. Six different players have scored for the USA, with Kelley O’Hara, Amy Rodriguez, Jessica Rostedt, Danesha Adams, Allie Long and Casey Nogueira each registering a goal. For France’s six goals, there have been five scorers. Laure Boulleau, the appropriately named Amandine Henry, Louisa Necib and Jessica Houara have a goal each while Laure-Marie Delie has tallied two, both against the Argentines. France looks to be the USA’s first test of the tournament after controlling both their previous matches for the entire 90 minutes.

WE MEET AGAIN…: Both teams have key players who also play with their full Women’s National Teams – forwards Rodriguez, and Lauren Cheney and defender Stephanie Lopez for the USA and goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi, forward Elodie Thomas and midfielder Necib for France. While this will be the first meeting at the U-20 WNT level between the USA and France, Rodriguez, Lopez, Bouhaddi and Necib have been on the field together before. At the Algarve Cup last March in Portugal, the senior teams met with the USA winning 4-1 in group play. Lopez and Bouhaddi started for their countries while Rodriguez (80th) and Necib (61st) came off the bench. Thomas was on the French bench, but did not play. The French will no doubt possess much more athleticism, experience and guile than the USA’s two previous opponents, but while Bouhaddi has played every minute in goal and Necib and Thomas have played almost all of their teams minutes, Rodriguez, Cheney and Lopez have yet to be on the field for the USA at the same time. That could change tomorrow as Cheney has recovered from an abdominal strain and has been pronounced fit and ready to go. The American team has yet to hit its stride, and this would be a good game to do just that, as a win would give the USA the group title and send them to the quarterfinals with some confidence and momentum. The USA will find it tough going to get the ball behind Bouhaddi, who just might be the only goalkeeper at the tournament who is also the starting ‘keeper for her senior Women’s National Team. Bouhaddi produced one of the most gruesome sights in recent women’s soccer history when she knocked Swedish star Hanna Ljungberg unconscious at the 2006 Algarve Cup, clocking her in the face with her shoulder after the ball had already been touched past her. The French goalkeeper was sent off.

GOING HOME...: Heading into the final day of group matches in Groups C and D, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Finland, Argentina and DR Congo have so far been eliminated. It would take several minor miracles for Mexico and Switzerland to not join those six.

Group A Overview
Brazil and Russia have advanced to the quarterfinals, although neither in impressive fashion. Brazil tied New Zealand, 0-0, in their final group match on Aug. 23, their second scoreless tie of the tournament. The hosts were fortunate to get a 1-1 tie with Australia in the final group match even though the Young Matildas out-shot Russia, 21-9. Both Russia and Brazil end the group with two ties and a win for five points, but Brazil wins the group by virtue of a better goal difference by just one goal. The Southern Hemisphere teams can go home with a measure of satisfaction knowing that the Aussies outplayed Russia and the gutsy Kiwis got a tie with power Brazil, even though they had already been eliminated.

Group B Overview
When the day started, Canada had a chance to go through, but after Nigeria’s 8-0 thrashing of Finland, the Maple Leafs are packing their bags. China finishes first in the group and Nigeria second, which means they will play Brazil in the quarterfinals and one excellent team will be going home. Canada needed to beat China by at least a goal and hope that Nigeria didn’t score three against Finland. It became clear early on that wouldn’t happen. Canada did not take care of their part of the bargain anyway, losing 1-0. China will face Russia in the other quarterfinal.

Group C Overview
The USA will play a team from this group, likely either North Korea or Germany. North Korea is in solid control of its group, thanks to a 2-0 win over Germany and a 4-0 thrashing of Switzerland. The somewhat surprising Koreans need only a draw in their final match against Mexico to win the group. The Koreans would have to lose to Mexico by a very large margin to avoid going through, not a likely scenario. The Germans need a win over Switzerland to guarantee passage. The Swiss would need a huge win over Germany and a Mexico upset of Korea to have any chance. Mexico needs Switzerland to upset Germany, but even then, the Mexicans all but wrote their tickets home when they gave up nine goals to Germany and would need a large number of goals in a win over North Korea, combined with a German loss, to even think about advancement. Germany could even go through with a loss, as long as it was by only a few goals, if the Mexicans can’t rack up a bunch of goals against the Koreans.

2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship
Quarterfinal Match-Ups
Aug. 26 Brazil. vs. Nigeria Torpedo (Moscow) 4 p.m. / 8 a.m.
Aug. 26 China vs. Russia Torpedo (Moscow) 7 p.m. / 11 a.m.
Aug. 27 PRK/GER/MEX/SUI vs. USA/FRA Petrovsky (St. Petersburg) 4 p.m. / 8 a.m.
Aug. 27 USA/FRA vs. PRK/GER/MEX/SUI Petrovsky (St. Petersburg) 7 p.m. / 11 a.m.

For complete standings, log onto the FIFA U-20 WWC page on

U.S. Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): 18-Kelsey DAVIS (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), 21-Joanna HAIG (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.), 1-Val HENDERSON (Orinda, Calif.);
DEFENDERS (6): 15-Carrie DEW (Encinitas, Calif.), 16-Erin HARDY (Costa Mesa, Calif.), 4-Nikki KRSYSIK (Clifton, N.J.), 3-Stephanie LOGTERMAN (Austin, Texas), 6-Stephanie LOPEZ (Elk Grove, Calif.), 5-Sara WAGENFUHR (Colorado Springs, Colo.);
MIDFIELDERS (8): 2-Jordan ANGELI (Lakewood, Colo.), 9-Danesha ADAMS (Shaker Heights, Ohio), 10-Brittany BOCK (Naperville, Ill.), 13-Tina DiMARTINO (Massapequa Park, N.Y.), 11-Tobin HEATH (Basking Ridge, N.J.), 14-Allie LONG (East Northport, N.Y.), 20-Casey NOGUEIRA (Cedarburg, Wis.), 7-Amanda POACH (Bowie, Md.);
FORWARDS (4): 8-Lauren CHENEY (Indianapolis, Ind.), 12-Amy RODRIGUEZ (Lake Forest, Calif.), 19-Kelley O’HARA (Fayetteville, Ga.), 17-Jessica ROSTEDT (Kent, Ohio).

France Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Veronique PONS (Toulouse), 16-Sarah BOUHADDI (Juvisy), 21-ARRABY Audrey (Nord Allier);
DEFENDERS (9): 2-Sabrina DELANNOY (Paris St-Germain), 3-Laure BOULLEAU (Paris St-Germain), 4-Morgane COURTEILLE (Paris St-Germain), 5-Coralie DUCHER (FCF Lyon), 11-Melodie COUDRAY (Le Mans), 12-Gwenaelle PELE (FCF Lyon), 13-Elodie CORDIER (CNFE), 15-Emilie HUILLIER (Paris St-Germain), 19-Livia JEAN (Stade Briochin)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 6-Caroline PIZZALA (Celtic Marseilles), 7-Jessica HOUARA (Celtic Marseilles), 8-Meriame BEN ABDELWAHAB (Paris St-Germain), 10-Louisa NECIB (Montpellier), 14-Ines DHAOU (CNFE), 20-Amandine HENRY (CNFE)
FORWARDS (3): 9-Elodie THOMIS (Montpellier), 17-Helene PLU (Le Mans), 18-Marie-Laure DELIE (CNFE)

TOURNAMENT TOP SCORERS: 50 different players have scored the 70 goals in the tournament thus far (which includes one own goal), with 11 players having tallied twice and China’s Ma Xiaoxu leading the tournament with four goals. Bolstered by blowouts of Mexico and Finland respectively, Germany’s Anna Blaesse and Nigeria’s Maureen Eke have three goals a piece.

2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship Leading Scorers
Player (Country) - Goals
Xiaoxu Ma (CHN) - 4
Anna Blaesse (GER) - 3
Maureen Eke (NGA) - 3
Vanessa Buerki (SUI) - 2
Charlyn Corral (MEX) - 2
Marie-Laure Delie (FRA) - 2
College McCallum (AUS) - 2
Jong Pik Hui (PRK) - 2
Kim Song Hui (PRK) - 2
Jodi-Ann Robinson (CAN) - 2
Rita Chikwelu (NGA) - 2
Cynthia Uwak (NGA) - 2
Anna Kozhnikova (RUS) - 2
Akudo Sabi (NGA) - 2

O’HARA SUSPENDED FOR FRANCE: Amazingly, for the third consecutive match, the U.S. team will have a member of their delegation suspended. In the first match against DR Congo, defender Carrie Dew sat out after receiving a red card in the final CONCACAF qualification match. Against Argentina, goalkeeper coach Steve Branz had to sit in the stands after being sent off against DR Congo for protesting a nasty foul at the end of the match. Against France, forward Kelley O’Hara will be in street clothes after getting two yellow cards against Argentina, the first for failing to check into the match at halftime and the second for a minor shirt tug in the 73rd minute.

all_access video – TRICKS AND TREATS FROM TOBIN AND CASEY: They are not from Brazil, nor are they boys, two qualities you usually expect from players making the ball do the things that Casey Nogueira and Tobin Heath make it do. You can see some amazing video from the “Ball Trick Battle” between the U.S. midfielders on’s all_access video. Once you see it, you’ll want to tell your friends. Also tune in to see the U.S. players reactions to their win over Argentina and their thoughts on the upcoming game against France.

USSOCCER.COM'S U-20 WNT BLOG ANSWERS ALL THE QUESTIONS: Would Kelley O’Hara get an “A” in woodshop if they offered that class at Stanford? Who is the only team at the FIFA U-20 WWC to take in a ballet? And why is Erin Hardy threatening to put her teammates in trash cans? answers these questions and more in this exclusive blog from Russia, keeping you up to date from inside the U-20 WNT at the 2006 FIFA Women's World Championship. Check back for regular updates as the team gets set for its third and final group game on Aug. 24 against France.

PODCAST – DREAM COMES TRUE FOR HEATH, SHE GETS HER OWN PODCAST: Tobin Heath has listened to almost every podcast ever done with a WNT player on Now she gets her own. Listen to the extremely well-spoken 18-year-old talk about her journey to the World Championship, her upcoming freshman year and why former U-17 WNT teammate Ali Hawkins better leaver her some closet space at their new dorm room at UNC. Also hear college roommates Nikki Krzysik and Jessica Rostedt on topics ranging from soccer, to getting up for class to why opposites do attract, and why U.S. midfielder Brittany Bock really wants to score goals in Russia.

USA IN WHITE, WHITE, WHITE: After wearing their red jerseys in the first two Group D matches, the U.S. will throw a white-out against France, donning their classic white jerseys, white shorts and white socks. Les Bleus will be in blue jerseys, blue shorts and red socks.