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U.S. Women's World Cup Team Notes & Quotes

The U.S. Women's National Team departed Philadelphia this morning in high spirits after a convincing 5-0 win over Nigeria to take control of Group A in the FIFA Women's World Cup 2003. The U.S. team boarded a charter flight to Columbus, Ohio, and arrived around 1:45 p.m. ET, got settled in their rooms and went for a jog and stretch later in the afternoon. After the light workout, a few players took part in the daily interview session with the media (see quotes below).
Rain, thunder and lightning hit Columbus around sunset, but that did not dissuade several U.S. players, rallied by movie-lover Aly Wagner, from taking in "Under the Tuscan Sun," a romance staring Diane Lane.

With a win or a tie against North Korea on Sunday, Sept. 28, at Columbus Crew Stadium (live at 3:45 on ABC and TeleFutura), the USA will win "The Group of Death" and advance to the quarterfinal at Foxboro Stadium in Boston, Mass., on Oct. 1 against the second place finisher in Group B. 

The USA and North Korea squared off in the final group match of Group A at the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup, with the USA winning 3-0 on two goals from ESPN sideline reporter Tisha Venturini and one from Shannon MacMillan.  All three goals came in the second half.  Two days out from the re-match with the reigning Asian champions, several U.S. players and head coach April Heinrichs spoke with the media.


Forward Abby Wambach

On being on the Women's World Cup Team…

“I’ve learned the past few weeks that I can make an impact.  It’s not easy to play on this team because you have so much riding on playing well. But this is a dream for me and I’m having a great time.”

Midfielder Kristine Lilly

On North Korea, the USA's next opponent…

“You can expect a very organized, quick and technical team. That’s what teams from the Asia are like. We played them in 1999 and every team from that World Cup is better, so I’m sure they have improved as well. I’ve heard a lot of good things about them.”

On what the U.S. team is doing well…

“We are finishing chances, which was huge in the Nigeria game because (who finishes first in Group A) may come down to goal differential. When we play the game and knock it around is when we play our best. I think we had moments in the Nigeria game toward the end. The quicker we can get into that rhythm, the better we are."

Defender Kylie Bivens, who played her first Women's World Cup match vs. Nigeria.

On North Korea…
“We respect all our opponents, but I don't know if we are worried about.  We respect every team we play, especially a team that has beaten China, but we focus more on what we have to do to win the game."

On finding out she was starting against Nigeria

“I found out the night before the game in our pre-game meeting. I was pretty anxious that night, but I slept OK. The next day, I was trying to keep busy and keep my mind off the game because if I think about it too much, nervousness might set in.”

On playing in her first Women's World Cup…
“I’m still in disbelief. I’m still trying to take it all in. I’m a little overwhelmed that I’m still here. I really don’t have the words to explain how I felt.”

U.S. Head Coach April Heinrichs

On what she’s expecting from North Korea…
“We know what they do and their tendencies, system and style. But what we don’t know is how they are going to match up against us or what they might do differently.”

On changing the a 4-4-2 lineup against Nigeria…
“When you have world class players like we do, we are getting closer to being able to make changes without it taking three games for the players to get used to the system or having it unsettle the team.”