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Quote Sheet: 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup Final Draw


U.S. WNT HEAD COACH GREG RYAN - Listen (.mp3)

On North Korea:
“I think North Korea is the best team in Asia over the past few years. I’ve watched them many times in Olympic qualification and in the 2003 qualification for the World Cup and I think there is no doubt that they are the best team in Asia and we’ve certainly drawn the strongest group. I think we’ve drawn the best teams from every pot into our group.”

On Sweden:
“Sweden is one of my favorite teams. They are dynamic, and have great team play, but they also have great individual play. They cut their players loose and let them take risks. They are just fun to watch. I think right now, they are definitely playing the best soccer that is going on in Europe.”

On the Swedish attackers:
“They have two of the best strikers in the world. They have a great combination with (Victoria) Svensson, who is quick and good off the dribble, has great vision and is a great all-around player, and (Hanna) Ljungberg, who is just a great player running in behind defenses and finishing goals. Now you’ve added a young player, Lotta Schelin, who can take players down the flank. They are just a very dynamic team. Again, fun to watch. We’ve had great games with Sweden and they haven’t even had their full cast yet because the last two games they were missing Ljungberg. It’s definitely a great team to watch in this World Cup.”

On Nigeria:
“I actually have watched them quite a bit. I went and scouted them in Germany prior to the last World Cup and (I watched them) in the Olympics. They had a great run in the Olympics. They gave Germany all they could handle once they got out of their group and they are a very talented team. If you look at Pot 4 (where Nigeria was drawn out of and into Group B), I don’t know what the rankings are, but they are by far the best team in Pot 4.”

On North Korea:
“We’ve got to try to see North Korea in the next several months. We had (asst. coach) Phil Wheddon over watching the Asian games and we have video on North Korea and other undisclosed scouts around the world who have great soccer minds that will help us with that one. I think we will be prepared, but they are a great team. It will be a very pivotal game in our group.”

On Group A:
“It’s got to be one of the easiest routes among the four groups. I think Germany, even though they lost three of four in the recent Algarve Cup and they are not on form yet, should be able to escape a very weak group A.”

On Group C:
“That is the most physical group in the tournament without any doubt. You have three teams that are just battlers and they are going to battle from minute one to minute 90. They are three teams I have great respect for in Norway, Australia and Canada. It’s going to be difficult for Ghana to get out of that group into the second round, and with their legs. It’s going to be a very, very tough group and I don’t know which two are coming out of that one.”

On Group D:
“I think China got exactly what they wanted out of this draw. They are in a good situation. The key for them is, can they get past New Zealand? Yes. Can they beat a Brazil that hasn’t played a lot in the past 16 months? Maybe they can. And can they beat a pretty good Denmark side? So I think China’s got a very good chance to get out of their group based on the group that they’ve drawn.”

On the depth of the Women’s World Cup:
“I do think it’s a great World Cup, and every four years, the teams become more and more talented, the investment in the women’s game is greater and the growth of the women’s game is greater, so I can say that without any doubt that the best teams and the best players ever will be in this Women’s World Cup. And I can certainly say that the best teams from all the pots will be in our group.”

On what a difficult draw does for his team’s mentality:
“(The first-round draw) is certainly going to give us added focus once we get to the World Cup. There’s going to be no easy games. We have to go in there knowing that we are playing a great team in North Korea and need to get a result, then an incredibly talented Sweden team and then we play African champion Nigeria. Every game is going to require great focus and intensity to get the results we want.”

On the challenge of having three of the world’s top-five teams in Group B:
"It presents an incredible challenge to this team. We’re a young team, we’ve got great veteran leadership and we’ve got great young players. But I think it’s here where you say, ‘OK, everything that you could have go against you in this draw did, so you will have to play every game like an elimination game, even the first game.’ If you lose the first one, you are in trouble to get through the group. So it’s an incredible challenge to this team. Let’s take that challenge and go out and prove to the rest of the world that we can get this done against the worst odds they could possibly throw at us.”

U.S. CAPTAIN KRISTINE LILLY - Listen (.mp3)

On the Draw:
“When the group was finally set, I was excited because now we have a face to the games we are going to play. Before this, we’ve been looking forward to the World Cup but wondering who we are going to play and who we are getting ready for. Now we know the countries and the order in which we are going to play them, so now we can really get behind it and say our first match is Korea, let’s get ready for that.”

On the Draw Show in Wuhan:
“The Chinese did a great job. They had kids performing some dancing, and then they had some acrobats. They had the song of the World Cup. I don’t know any of the words to it, it’s all Chinese, but it sounded pretty good. There were lots of people there. The World All-Stars were there, the Chinese National Team was there and tons of FIFA delegates.”

On North Korea:
“Asian teams are similar in a sense that they are very technical and organization behind the ball, but the one thing I remember about North Korea that they did to us in the game in 2003 was that they threw a lot of numbers forward. At one point I think we saw four people on the front line, so I know they will be coming strong at us. They are a strong team on the ball as well, but it will be a great game for us, a great start in the World Cup. I am looking forward to playing great teams because that’s what you have to do in the World Cup.”

On Sweden:
“Through the years, I think they’ve played more direct soccer, but I think they also have a bunch of personalities that are standing out. They have Lotta (Schelin) who was out here for the World All-Star Game, as one of their new players. Svensson is always up top causing trouble and I think their midfield is strong. Plus, they have been getting better though the years and obviously being second in the world championships in 2003 is something they have to build on.”

On Nigeria:
“Nigeria has fast players, athletic players, but are very unpredictable. Seeing that we have only played them in two past world championships, we don’t really have that much experience seeing how they play or how they have developed through the years. One of their players, Cynthia (Uwak) was out here for the World All-Star game and she was a very crafty player, so I think we should expect a lot of that when we play Nigeria.”

On being drawn into the most difficult group in the tournament:
“I say, ‘Bring it on.’ I’m looking forward to it. People say, ‘You guys got the hardest group,’ and this or that. But the World Cup is hard. You have 16 teams from around the world competing to be the best. So whether we face them early on in group play, or later on once we get out of group play, you’re going to have to play the best. For me, I’m excited, we have a face to each of the games and each team you will come across and Korea is our first goal. Probably six points will get us out of the group, so it’s about winning now when you start the World Cup.”

On how China has changed since she played in the 1991 Women’s World Cup:
“China has grown in many aspects. It’s more modernized. I remember back in the late 80s, early 90s, when everyone was just riding bikes. Now there are cars everywhere, and obviously the economy has gotten better. There seems to be more and more people every year. But what I remember from 1991 is what a good show the Chinese put on to host the World Cup and how great their fans were.”

On playing for the FIFA World Stars against China:
“It was cool. It was so great to be here for that game and meet all the players. All the girls were great. Obviously, a lot of them I’ve played games against, so it was neat to play with them. It was really one of those moments in my career that I will think about and appreciate.”

U.S. FORWARD ABBY WAMBACH - Listen (.mp3)

On the Draw
“Well, obviously it felt a eerily similar to 2003. But we are training right now and our focus is on North Korea, Nigeria and Sweden and doing everything we can to get out of the group.”

On what getting a difficult draw does for the team;
“It’s our mentality that when you are in a championship event like the World Cup will bring, you want to be prepared for everything. Being in the toughest group brings us excitement. In order to be the best, you have to beat the best and that’s always been the mentality of this team.”

On playing three teams with three distinct styles in the first round, an Asian team, a European team and an African team:
“It suits us. What (U.S. head coach) Greg (Ryan) has been bringing to the table is different formations and different personnel starting. I think a lot of players will get their first World Cup experiences that are long overdue. It’s exciting to know that going into each game, it will present a different challenge to overcome, so that if we do eventually get out of our group, we’ll be more confident playing the quarterfinal game.”

On playing North Korea and Nigeria, teams the USA has rarely faced, and very familiar foe Sweden:
“You are just not as completely prepared in terms of scouting. The only experience you can really get is going on the field and going head-to-head against certain teams. I’m exited that we did play against Sweden (at the 2007 Algarve Cup) because they are a fantastic program. They bring so many different aspects to the game, and their players, when they come ready to play, can beat any team in the world.”

On her advice to young players who will be playing in their first Women’s World Cup:
“Just one game at a time. You can’t get too far ahead of yourself. You can’t get all messed up in the hoopla of it being such a huge event. It’s a simple game played by complicated people and in order to get through the group we need to be one of the top two teams. That’s our focus right now.”

U.S. DEFENDER CAT WHITHILL - Listen (.mp3)

On the Draw:
“You look at every World Cup Draw and you see some really tough teams out there. Overall, there isn’t excitement or disappointment on our part about facing North Korea, but I’m excited because it means the World Cup is getting started. If we have to play North Korea first, bring them on. Let’s see how we match up against them. We are going to do a whole lot of video scouting and figuring out how to beat North Korea and all the teams in our group.”

On Sweden:
“Sweden is always a tough game for us. It’s been back-and-forth. The last game we played them it was 3-2. It was a ‘they scored a goal, we scored a goal’ type of game. It’s going to be a tough game. You could tell when we played them in Portugal that they are hungry. They were in the finals of the World Cup in 2003, and they want to come back, reach the finals and win it this year. So we know they will be extremely difficult.”

On Nigeria:
“Nigeria is one of those African teams that will be scrappy. They will be diving all over the place. They will do whatever it takes to keep that ball out of the back of their net and doing whatever it takes to get the ball in the net. My first start in the World Cup was against Nigeria, so I have fond memories of them. But let’s just get this World Cup started!”

On narrowing the team’s focus now that the WWC opponents are set:
“Absolutely, it gets more focused. Finding out the World Cup draw today really puts it in perspective. It really is just around the corner. We are really leaving for China soon. I think we’re excited, but at the same time, we really need to start to have tunnel vision. For so long we’ve been in Residency looking at all the possibilities of who we may face, but now, it’s like tunnel vision. We have these three teams and this is how we need to get into the quarterfinals.”

2007 FIFA Women's World Cup Home

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