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Abby Wambach

Olympic Draw Quote Sheet


U.S. WNT head coach PIA SUNDHAGE
On the Olympic Draw…
“It’s exciting to start with a really tough team, the French. We played them in the (World Cup) semifinal and it’s a good team. They are getting better and better and I think it’s good for us to have a good team at the beginning. Then you have Colombia, and that will be a different game. Hopefully after a win against France, we can come into Colombia a bit more relaxed, and then you have North Korea, again. We know them fairly well. It’s great to have three different teams, three different styles to play against.”

On being familiar with all three teams after having played them in the World Cup…
“It’s more comfortable for coaches at least. We know how they play, and if you look at France, Colombia and North Korea, we have a good idea of how they are going to play. We feel prepared and we’ll look at France more thoroughly and make sure we have everything prepared before we play them.”

On the impact on the players with the first round schedule being set…
“It feels like, ‘here we are,’ instead of talking about that we might bump into this team or that team. Now we know the group and we just prepare for the styles. It’s a reminder, the Olympics is just around the corner and make sure you are prepared.”

On looking at the first round group overall…
“It’s very important to look at the bigger picture, not only the first game or the last game. At the end of the day, we want to win, and if we win, we create that winning attitude and you gain a lot of confidence. But not only that, it would be great to play some good soccer as well. You can then go into the next game talking about good things. Having different teams to play against makes it so exiting because you prepare the team in different ways. That’s the good part of playing in big events, the fact that you have good players to play against and good teams.”

U.S. WNT captain CHRISTIE RAMPONE
On finding out the group opponents for the Olympics…
“It’s very exciting that it’s finally here. Qualifying is over, we have our group and we can start preparing. It’s exciting to know that we have three teams to start looking after and they are great teams. France was excellent in the World Cup and really challenged us in the semifinal. Colombia is a new team (in the Olympics), and they will have a lot of adrenalin going into the tournament and North Korea, they are familiar. We always face North Korea in every world championship.”

On facing France in the opening game…
“I thought France was probably one of the toughest opponents we faced in the World Cup. I thought they were very technical, worked well together and broke us down a lot. We countered them very well and got some goals, but overall the 90 minutes was a tough and challenging game so I am very excited to face them again.”

On facing Olympic first-timers Colombia in the second game…
“Any young team coming in that has a good taste of a world championship has the experience behind them and the nerves out of them so now they will go after it. We’ll have to be ready right from the start in that game. I think we can go after them from the beginning, put the pressure on them, put them on their heels and get them nervous. Anything can happen in the game of soccer so we have to be ready for every game starting from the first game.”

On facing North Korea in the group finale…
“They present consistency. Every time we have seen them, they have been a great team. They challenge us, they are very technical and very quick on the ball, so once again we have to stay organized as a defensive unit, stay compact, but play our game. We need to make them play more on the defensive side of the game, rather than having the ball at their feet.”

On playing two games in Scotland where her great-grandfather played professional soccer…
“It’s exciting because my family is going to make this trip. They haven’t been on a trip in a long time and for my mom to get to go where her grandfather played is going to be very special. It’s going to be a great trip for the family to go where a relative played, get to see Scotland and England. We love to travel and see new places and to play where Manchester United plays, the team is going to be pumped.”

U.S. midfielder LORI LINDSEY
On the group…
“I am excited. I think it’s a tough group, but obviously all the groups are going to be tough. It’s exciting to finally find out who we will play against and look forward to all our preparation paying off against these teams. If you can prepare for each game quickly and get good results, it just prepares you as you get into the knockout rounds.

On facing France…
“We had a huge game against them at last year’s World Cup, so they will be looking to get a little revenge. We’ll be excited to play them again. They are one of the best teams in the world and it’s always good to get an opening match against a tough team to really kick off the tournament.”

U.S. WNT goalkeeper NICOLE BARNHART
On the draw…
“We’ve all anxiously been waiting to see who were going to get so it’s exciting to finally know and now we can start really preparing for the first game against France and moving on from there. Every game is going to be tough. Every world championship game is never easy and you can’t take anything for granted so we have to play each of these games like it’s the final games.”

On the shift in focus once the Final Draw takes place…
“Once you know the schedule, it kind of hits you more as being real and that it’s getting closer and closer. Once we qualified, there was a lot of time between qualifying and the actual Olympics. Now we are down to under 100 days and it’s really go time now, so you can’t take your foot off the pedal from here on out. You have to just go-go-go, really prepare and hit it hard.”

On getting to play in some famous stadiums in Great Britain…
“It’s going to be such a remarkable experience to play in these historic stadiums. You are always watching the English teams on TV and seeing the huge crowds and the excitement behind the sport over there. So to actually be able to experience that first hand is going to be awesome and I think a lot of people on this team will be really excited about it because you have some pretty gung-ho supporters of the teams in the EPL.”

U.S. WNT forward ABBY WAMBACH
On the draw…
“I’m excited. Obviously, the fact that we know who we are playing, and that the groups are set, makes it a little more real for all of us and gives us even more of an opportunity to focus ourselves. We all know that Colombia and Korea are both great teams. We played them in the World Cup so we are very familiar with their styles, and of course we played France in the semifinal, so we know we have a lot of work to do between now and when the Olympics start. France is going to be a good game and I’m really excited about that.”

On facing France in the first game…
“You want to start every tournament off well and the France game is obviously going to be on all of our minds. But we can’t get too ahead of ourselves. It’s one game, we want to get out of our group, that’s the most important thing, and the way to do that is to get points through the group stage so that’s what we are focused on.”

On finding out what teams await in group play at the Olympics…
“It gives us another goal. Right now for a lot of us, (our goals are) to make the roster, to stay healthy to get better as a players individually and collectively, but it also gives us the ability to put something else on that goals sheet – France, Colombia, Korea. Having more specific goals and more detailed goals will allow you to be able perform better, train better and prepare better.”

U.S. WNT defender KELLEY O’HARA
On waking up and finding out the USA’s draw…
“I felt like it was Christmas morning. I woke up, grabbed my phone and checked my email and there was the Olympic Draw. It’s so nice to know what we are doing, who we are playing and where we are going. It makes it very real.”

On the USA’s first round opponents…
“The teams all play different formations and styles, so we will have to be prepared to face different systems and different styles of attack. I think it’s a well-rounded group as far as what it offers on the field.”

U.S. WNT midfielder CARLI LLOYD
On the draw…
“We are obviously familiar with all three teams as we played them in the World Cup, but any group that you are placed in is not going to be easy. We’re going to be facing a little bit of a tougher opponent in the first match so we have to come out and be ready for anything. That last Olympics we lost our first game and still ending up winning but I don’t think we want to route this next Olympics so we just have to stay focused and we’ll be fine.”

On getting to prepare for three opponents…
“We know who we are facing and the coaches can go over film, we can watch our opponents and study them, but the main thing is to remain focused on what we are going to do and I’m really confident going into the tournament.”

On France…
“France is obviously very technical and they attack in numbers. They throw not only their front six, but their outside backs forward so we have to be more concerned about that. I think that last time we played them in a World Cup, it was right after a huge game against Brazil and we had two days rest and we were a little more fatigued, so now I think it’s going to be a great match. They are great on the ball and I like the way they play, but again we’ve just got to remain focused on what we are going to do and how we are going to bring it, how we are going to defend and how we are going to attack.”

On Colombia…
“Colombia we can’t take lightly. They are physical, strong and fast. We’ve got to be patient in our defending and we can’t dive in.”

On Korea DPR…
“North Korea is very disciplined in their attack and defending. We didn’t know what to expect before the World Cup, but when we faced them, we were confident in the way we played against them. They are good on the ball and we’ve just got to be organized, patient and remain focused on what we have to do.”

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