Kristine Lilly and Greg Ryan to Attend 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup Draw on April 21
CHICAGO (April 17, 2007) – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Greg Ryan and team captain Kristine Lilly will travel to China at the end of this week to attend the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final Draw, taking place in Wuhan on Sunday, April 22, at 6:45 p.m. local / 6:45 a.m. ET. In addition, Lilly will be the U.S. representative playing for the FIFA Women’s World Stars against host China in an exhibition game on Saturday, April 21, that is part of the pre-draw festivities.
The 16 teams in the Women’s World Cup will be drawn into four groups of four teams each, with the top two finishers in each group advancing to the quarterfinal stage, at which time the tournament becomes a knockout competition. The results of the draw as well as post-draw reaction from Ryan and U.S. players in the form of quotes and podcasts will be available Sunday morning on ussoccer.com.
“I am so exited about the draw because that sets the tone for the whole competition,” said Lilly, who is on the verge of playing in her fifth Women’s World Cup. “It puts a face on the games and really brings the tournament a little bit closer.”
The 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be staged from Sept. 10-30, 2007, in five Chinese cities: Chengdu, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Tianjin and Wuhan. Four of the venues are in the eastern part of China, while Chengdu is in central China. Tianjin is the northernmost venue and is approximately 125 miles south east of Beijing, host of the 2008 Olympic Games. The opening match and Women’s World Cup Final will both be played in Shanghai at the Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium.
This will be the fifth Women’s World Cup staged by FIFA, and the second by People’s Republic of China, which also hosted the inaugural tournament in 1991.
While the U.S. team will not know its home base, travel schedule, opponents or venues for the first round until the Final Draw, host China and defending Women’s World Cup champion Germany have already been seeded atop two of the four groups. China is seeded in Group D at D1 and will be based in Wuhan while the Germans are seeded into Group A at A1 and will be based in Shanghai. If the USA is seeded, a virtual lock with the new No. 1 world ranking, the Americans will be at either B1 or C1. All teams will play their first and second matches of group play in the venue to which they are assigned, then all teams will travel for their third (and final) first-round match.
“The draw is an exciting event for all of the qualified teams,” said Ryan. “It will allow us to focus our preparation for the World Cup as we make specific plans for each of our first round opponents. The U.S. team had a very tough draw for the 2003 Women’s World Cup and this year the field is even stronger. I am looking forward to seeing who we will play in September and getting back to work as our preparation in Residency Camp will be the key to our success.”
Lilly, who will travel to the Final Draw with 121 career goals and a world record 324 caps, will likely captain the World Stars against China in a match that kicks off at 7:45 p.m. local / 7:45 a.m. ET. The Final Draw for the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup also featured an exhibition match as the Women’s World Stars defeated the United States, 2-1.
The Women’s World Stars will be led by former Germany head coach Tina Theune-Meyer, who won the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup title, and current England head coach Hope Powell. Joining Lilly on the World Stars, which feature players from all 16 qualified teams, is legendary goalkeeper Bente Nordby of Norway, Australian captain Cheryl Salisbury, Sweden forward Lotta Schelin and Birgit Prinz of Germany, among others.
“I think it’s a huge honor to be selected to play in a World All-Star game,” said Lilly. “It really is a lot of fun to play with players from all around the world. I remember playing against the World All-Stars in 1999 when we had the game before that Final Draw and it was just a great event to prepare for the World Cup. This game will let the fans in China see the great players from the other countries and hopefully they’ll cheer for them during the World Cup in September.”
With the exception of Europe, which has five teams in the tournament, no teams from the same Confederation will be drawn together into the same first-round group.
2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Berths By Confederation
Asia: Australia, North Korea, Japan
Africa: Nigeria, Ghana
CONCACAF: USA, Canada
Europe: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, England
Oceania: New Zealand
South America: Argentina, Brazil
2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Venues and Stadiums
City - Stadium (# of Matches)
Wuhan - Wuhan Sports Center Stadium (4 first round matches, 2 quarterfinal matches)
Chengdu - Chengdu Sports Center Stadium (6 first round matches)
Shanghai - Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium (6 first round matches, Third Place Match and Final)
Hangzhou - Zhejiang Dragon Stadium (6 first round matches, 1 semifinal match)
Tianjin - Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium (2 first round matches, 2 quarterfinal matches and 1 semifinal match)
Group A will be based in Shanghai
Group B will be based in Chengdu
Group C will be based in Hangzhou
Group D will be based in Wuhan