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U.S. WNT Takes on Italy in Decisive Second Leg of FIFA Women's World Cup Qualifying Playoff

U.S. Women's National Team vs. Italy
Bridgeview, Ill.
2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Playoff
Nov. 26, 2010

U.S. WOMEN HEAD INTO SECOND LEG AGAINST ITALY WITH 1-0 LEAD: The U.S. Women’s National Team faces Italy on Nov. 27 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., in the crucial second leg of the two-game series that will determine the final berth to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Fans can watch the historic match live on at 1 p.m. CT or follow along on’s MatchTracker. The weather has been quite cold in Chicago during this week of training, but the forecast is for a relatively mild 40 degrees and sunny on Saturday. The USA has been training once a day since arriving last Sunday from Italy.

HOW TO GET TO GERMANY: The two-leg series will be determined on total goals, which means after earning a dramatic 1-0 victory in Padova, Italy, on Nov. 20 with a 94th minute goal from Alex Morgan, the U.S. needs a win or a draw in this match to make the World Cup. A 1-0 victory for Italy would send the match into two 15-minute overtimes followed by penalty kicks, if necessary. A victory by Italy in which it scores more than one goal would send the Italians to Germany.

STUDIO 90 FROM CHICAGO: It’s cold and it’s grey, but we’ve got some very nice video cameras that shoot some cool videos which keeps you in updates on the U.S. WNT via Studio 90 as the USA prepares for the second leg of the Women’s World Cup qualifying series.

TICKETS IN CHICAGOLAND: Tickets for USA vs. Italy at Toyota Park start at $10 and are on sale through, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout Chicagoland (including Carson Pirie Scott and Walmart stores), and at the Toyota Park ticket office (open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Groups of 15 or more can obtain a discount order form at or call 312-528-1290. For those that are already headed to the game, please review the U.S. Soccer's transportation guide for directions and parking information.


  • Forward Alex Morgan’s goal against Italy was her fourth in just eight caps. 
  • The match at Toyota Park will mark the 100th career cap for U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd. She will become the 26th player in U.S. history to reach the century club. 
  • U.S. captain Christie Rampone played in her 225th career game in Padova. 
  • The three substitutes used by Pia Sundhage in the first leg against Italy were forward Lauren Cheney, who actually entered the match at flank midfield, defender Ali Krieger and Morgan. 
  • Italy made just one sub in the first leg and it came in the 93rd minute as Pamela Conti replaced Marta Carissimi. 
  • The captains for the USA – Christie Rampone and Patrizia Panico – are teammates on Sky Blue FC of the WPS. 
  • This will be the 18th and final match for the USA in 2010. The U.S. women come into this game with a 14-1-2 record on the year. 
  • Nine of the USA’s 17 matches this year have been against European teams.
  • The USA has allowed two goals in a game six times in 61 matches under Pia Sundhage, but only two of those were losses. In 2008, the U.S. Women defeated Australia, 3-2 and 5-4, in consecutive games. The USA also lost to Norway 2-0 and defeated Japan 4-2 at the 2008 Olympics. This year, the USA has defeated Germany 3-2 in the Algarve Cup Final and lost to Mexico 2-1 in CONCACAF qualifying. 
  • Pia Sundhage brought 24 players to Italy and Chicago – the 21 who were in Mexico for CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying, plus midfielders Leslie Osborne, Lindsay Tarpley and Tina DiMartino. 
  • The U.S. roster that suits up for the Italy match will be numbered 1-18. 
  • These games mark the first ever Women’s World Cup playoff match for the United States, which has qualified directly to the past five Women’s World Cup tournaments from the CONCACAF qualifying event. 
  • Abby Wambach has 11 career Women’s World Cup qualifying goals, moving her past Carin Gabarra into third place on the USA’s all-time WWC qualifying goal scoring list. She now sits behind only Michelle Akers (17) and Mia Hamm (12). 
  • Kristine Lilly’s nine WWC qualifying goals ranked her fifth all-time behind Akers, Hamm, Wambach and Gabarra (10). 
  • Since the end of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the USA is 56-2-6. 
  • The USA is 73-1-2 when Abby Wambach scores a goal. 
  • Under Pia Sundhage, the USA has a 21-1-2 record against European teams while scoring 48 goals and allowing nine. 
  • The USA has allowed just 26 goals in 60 matches under Sundhage; 20 from the run of play, four from set plays and two on own goals. 
  • The USA’s 47 goals this year have been scored by 12 different players – Abby Wambach (16), Lauren Cheney (7), Amy Rodriguez (6), Megan Rapinoe (4), Alex Morgan (4), Carli Lloyd (3), Heather O’Reilly (2), Yael Averbuch, Kristine Lilly, Shannon Boxx, and Rachel Buehler, plus an own goal by Iceland in the Algarve Cup. 
  • Lori Lindsey, who did not play in the first leg, leads the USA in assists in 2010 with seven. Heather O’Reilly has six while Shannon Boxx and Carli Lloyd have five each. 
  • The referee for the match will be Cha Sung Mi of the Korea Republic. Her assistants will be Allyson Flynn of Australia and Ho Sarah May Yee of Australia. 
  • The match against Italy will be broadcast in 75 countries – all of Europe and a good part of Southeast Asia. Not all broadcasts will be live.

FIRST MATCH RECAP: On a chilly night in front of 5,000 fans at Stadio Euganeo in Padova, Italy, the Americans met a stout Italian defense that defended extremely well for most of the match, but also got a bit fortunate at times, clearing three balls out of the goalmouth and seeing one shot clang off the left post towards the end of the game. The USA out-shot Italy 19-6 for the match, but the Italians did create two or three really good scoring opportunities and star forward Patrizia Panico was menacing as always. Still, the match was scoreless deep into stoppage time before Alex Morgan’s heroics gave the USA a critical goal and victory on the road. Both of Italy’s yellow cards came in the second half and were given after an Italian player grabbed a fist-full of jersey to stop a U.S. attack.

USA vs. Italy
Nov. 20, 2010 – Padova, Italy
Scoring Summary:  1   2   F

USA                         0   1   1
ITA                          0   0   0

USA – Alex Morgan (Abby Wambach) 94+

USA: 18-Nicole Barnhart; 2-Heather Mitts (16-Ali Krieger, 75), 6-Amy LePeilbet, 3-Christie Rampone (Capt.), 4-Rachel Buehler; 9-Heather O’Reilly (12-Lauren Cheney, 62), 7-Shannon Boxx, 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe; 8-Amy Rodriguez (5-Alex Morgan, 86), 17-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 1-Jill Loyden, 11-Lori Lindsey, 13-Kristine Lilly, 14-Stephanie Cox
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

ITA: 1-Ana Maria Picarelli; 3-Roberta D’Adda, 2-Raffaella Manieri, 6-Laura Neboli, 5-Elisabetta Tona; 7-Giulia Domenichetti, 11-Marta Carissimi (18-Pamela Conti, 93+), 8-Carolina Pini, 4-Alessia Tuttino; 10-Elisa Camporese, 9-Patrizia Panico (Capt.)
Subs not used: 12-Chiara Marchitelli 13-Viviana Schiavi, 14-Maria Sorvillo, 15-Tatiana Zorri, 16-Silvia Fuselli, 17-Evelyn Vicchiarello
Head Coach: Pietro Ghedin

HISTORY WITH ITALY: The USA’s history with Italy can be divided pretty much into two sections: ancient history (the six matches from 1995 and before) and modern history (the eight matches since 1997, which includes the first leg of this series on Nov. 20). The Americans did not get off to a good start in ancient history, losing its first three matches to the Italians while scoring just one goal. That included the USA’s first-ever international match in August of 1985, a 1-0 loss in Jesolo, Italy. After the three losses, the USA rebounded to win the next three games over 1993-1995 by a combined 9-0 goal difference. The USA has lost just once to Italy in modern history, but that was a 1-0 setback in March of 2001 when the U.S. team consisted of all young players in a match prior to the Algarve Cup as the U.S. veterans were involved in pre-season training camps for the WUSA. Since then, with both team’s full squads, the USA won 4-0 at the Nike U.S. Cup in 2001 in Cary, N.C., a match that featured Heather O’Reilly’s first career goal, drew 2-2 in Oct. of 2003 in a match following the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup (which was the most recent on home soil), and then won a pair of 2-0 matches in 2008 at the Algarve Cup in Portugal and the Peace Queen Cup in South Korea. Lindsay Tarpley and Heather O’Reilly scored at the Algarve Cup while Abby Wambach tallied both goals in South Korea.

USA RETURNS TO TOYOTA PARK: The return leg will mark the third match for the U.S. at Toyota Park in the last five years, with victories against China and Ireland coming in 2006 and 2008, respectively. Including a perfect six wins in six tries at Soldier Field, the U.S. has a 9-0-0 record in Chicagoland dating to a May 4, 1997, victory against Korea Republic at Norris Stadium in St. Charles. In five other meetings with Italy at home dating to 1993, the U.S. has posted five wins and a 16-1 goal differential. The teams have met three times at neutral sites and the U.S. has won all three of those meetings, including the 2008 games at Algarve Cup and Peace Queen Cup.

ALL-TIME SERIES: The U.S. holds a 9-4-1 all-time record against Italy with 27 goals scored and eight against. The USA’s win in Padova was its first-ever over victory against Italy on Italian soil after losing all four of the previous meetings, including the first-ever international match for the U.S. women in 1985, a game in 1986 which was the 10th-ever match for the team and one in 1988 (Kristine Lilly’s 13th cap).

ITALY’S LONG ROAD TO THE WWC: While the U.S. path to qualification was a five-game, eight-team tournament, Italy played 14 matches to earn fifth place in Europe and a spot in the playoff against CONCACAF’s third-place team. Italy’s qualifying included a group stage against Finland, Portugal, Slovenia and Armenia that resulted in seven wins and one draw while outscoring opponents 38-3. After falling to France 3-2 in a two-game aggregate playoff in September, Italy got past Ukraine 3-0 and Switzerland 5-2 on aggregate in October in subsequent two-game series’.

Date Opponent Result Italy Goal Scorers
UEFA Group 7
Sept. 19, 2009 Slovenia 8-0 W Conti (3), Gabbiadini (2), Carissimi, Fuselli, Panico
Sept. 23, 2009 Portugal 2-0 W Panico (2)
Oct. 24, 2009 Armenia 8-0 W Tona, Conti (2), Gama (2), Fuselli, Schiavi, Panico
Nov. 25, 2009 Armenia 7-0 W Tona, Conti, Gabbiadini, Panico, Camporese
March 27, 2010 Portugal 3-1 W Tona, Panico, Camporese
March 31, 2010 Finland 1-1 T Gabbiadini
June 19, 2010 Slovenia 6-0 W Gabbiadini, Domenichetti, Camporese, Own Goal, Conti, Panico
June 23, 2010 Finland 3-1 W Conti, Gabbiadini, Parisi

UEFA Playoffs
Sept. 11, 2010 France 0-0 T --
Sept. 15, 2010 France 2-3 L Panico, Domenichetti
Oct. 2, 2010 Ukraine 3-0 W Conti, Panico, Pini
Oct. 6, 2010 Ukraine 0-0 T --
Oct. 23, 2010 Switzerland 1-0 W Tuttino
Oct. 27, 2010 Switzerland 4-2 W Panico, Camporese (2), Tona

THE SCORPION AND GABBIADINI LEAD WAY FOR ITALY: Italy is not only hardened by the long road through European qualifying, but the squad features several talented players that are among the best in Europe. Leading the way is 35-year-old Patrizia Panico, nicknamed “The Scorpion,” who played 10 matches for Sky Blue FC (making three starts) this past season after joining the squad late into the campaign. Panico has been scoring goals for Italy for years (87 total and 10 alone during UFEA qualifying) and true to her nickname, is extremely dangerous striking inside the penalty area. Italy’s best player is perhaps Melania Gabbiadini (71 caps, 22 goals), a dynamic attacking player who gave the USA the most problems during the two recent meetings in 2008. She missed the first leg with an ankle injury but may be ready to go for the return leg. She is fast and a crafty dribbler who an eye for the half-chance. Italy also features veteran defenders Elisabetta Tona (73 caps) and Sara Gama (51 caps), who was also injured for the first leg. In the midfield, Italy has loads of experience with veterans Tatiana Zorri (151 caps and 22 goals), who along with Panico are the two remaining alumni of Italy’s 1999 Women’s World Cup squad, Pamela Conti (69 caps), Giuli Domenichetti (60 caps) and Alessia Tuttino (94 caps). Another one of Italy’s other dangerous attackers is Elisa Camporese (60 caps, 17 goals).

IN GOAL, THE AMERICAN PICARELLI: In goal, Italy features one of the more unique players in the women’s game in Anna Picarelli who hails from California and was born and raised in the Los Angeles area. She played four years of college soccer at Pepperdine in Malibu, Calif., where she was one of the best ‘keepers in the West Coast Conference. The 26-year-old Picarelli, who stands just 5-foot-4, plays much larger and is extremely talented and athletic. She was called into a U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team camp after college, but decided to pursue her career in the homeland of her father and has turned into an important contributor for Italy, starting all 14 of their UEFA qualifying matches while allowing just eight goals. She has learned to speak the language and played for Italy at the 2009 UEFA Women’s Championships in Finland where she was in goal as the Italians upset England by a 2-1 score. Although she has since moved back to California where she plays club soccer, she played several seasons in Italy where she was a part of three Serie A title winners for Bardolino. She came to the attention of Italian National Team head coach Pietro Ghedin after a stirring 3-3 tie in the UEFA Women's Champions League against Arsenal in 2007. She won her first cap in January 2008 and worked her way into the starting spot before the European Championships. She has played once against the USA, starting in the match at the Peace Queen Cup in 2008.

ALEX MORGAN CLUTCH SO FAR: The USA’s youngest player, 21-year-old Alex Morgan, has scored four goals in just eight caps in her short WNT career, but two of them have come dramatically late in matches. Her first career goal came in the 83rd minute against China on Oct. 6 in Chester, Pa., a goal that tied the game at 1-1 and kept the USA’s 48-game unbeaten streak at home intact. She scored twice at CONCACAF Qualifying and then came her 94th minute score against Italy on Nov. 20 which was called by Abby Wambach, perhaps a bit hyperbolic or perhaps not, as one of the “top-five most important goals in U.S. history.” Morgan, who played a key role for the U.S. team that won the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile, completed her college career in early November when UC Berkeley fell to Duke in the first round of the NCAA playoffs. Morgan won the Bronze Shoe and Bronze Boot in Chile, scoring while tallying against France, twice against Argentina and in the final against North Korea on perhaps the greatest goal for a U.S. women’s player in a FIFA final in history. She scored 14 goals as a senior to match the 14 she scored as a junior for the Golden Bears in 2009. She possesses tremendous speed and a rocket left-footed shot, both of which make her a dangerous goal scorer. Morgan earned her first-ever cap against Mexico on March 31 in Salt Lake City, coming off the bench in the snow to play the second half and then got 27 minutes against Germany on May 22 when she scored a goal that was called back for offside.

U.S. WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride), Ashlyn Harris (Washington Freedom), Jill Loyden (Chicago Red Stars)
DEFENDERS (7): Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride), Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), Ali Krieger (FFC Frankfurt), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Philadelphia Independence), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (Washington Freedom)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Yael Averbuch (Sky Blue FC), Shannon Boxx (FC Gold Pride), Tina DiMartino (Philadelphia Independence), Kristine Lilly (Boston Breakers), Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Leslie Osborne (Boston Breakers), Megan Rapinoe (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsay Tarpley (Boston Breakers)
FORWARDS (4): Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (California), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)

Italy WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Chiara Marchitelli (Graphistudio Tavagnacco), Ana Maria Picarelli (Ajax of Los Angeles), Sara Penzo (Venezia)
DEFENDERS (8): Roberta D’Adda (Brescia), Sara Gama (Chiasellis), Raffaella Manieri (Torres), Maria Sorvillo (Graphistudio Tavagnacco), Laura Neboli (Reggiana), Viviana Schiavi (Brescia), Elisabetta Tona (Torres), Alia Guagni (CF Firenze)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Pamela Conti (Levante), Giulia Domenichetti (Torres), Marta Carissimi (Torino), Carolina Pini (Bayern Monaco), Alessia Tuttino (Roma), Tatiana Zorri (Lazio)
FORWARDS (5): Elisa Camporese (Torres), Silvia Fuselli (Torres), Melania Gabbiadini (Bardolino), Patrizia Panico (Sky Blue FC), Evelyn Vicchiarello (Chiasellis)

THE GOAL IS GERMANY: Hosting on their own soil the two-time defending Women’s World Cup champions will be favorites to hoist a third consecutive trophy and there is no doubt that the Germans will run a fantastic Women’s World Cup, scheduled for June 26-July 17 in nine cities spread out all over the country: Berlin, Frankfurt, Mönchengladbach, Sinsheim, Wolfsburg, Augsburg, Bochum, Dresden and Leverkusen. Almost all of the cities will host four matches, but unlike past Women’s World Cups, there will be no doubleheaders. The largest stadium is in Berlin (74,244), which will host just the opening game featuring the Germans. The smallest stadium is in Bochum, which seats 23,691. The Women’s World Cup Final will take place in Frankfurt (49,240) on July 17 and 15 of the 16 spots are set. The qualifiers are: host Germany, Korea DPR, Japan and Australia from Asia and Sweden, Norway, France and England from Europe, New Zealand from Oceania, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea from Africa and Brazil and Colombia from South America.

BLOGS AND BRATS: No, the U.S. team hasn’t had the time to sample the great cuisine of Chicago, but you can find out what they have been doing on the WNT Blog (mostly training, truth be told).

FOLLOW THE WNT ON TWITTER: Keep up with all U.S. women’s National Team news (in short form, of course) by following at

Through her 148 caps, Abby Wambach has averaged one goal for every 97 minutes she’s been on the field. Through just eight games in her short WNT career, Alex Morgan has averaged a goal for every 58 minutes she’s been on the field.