TIANJIN, China (Sept. 22, 2007) – The U.S. Women’s National Team scored three goals in a 13-minute span early in the second half to defeat England, 3-0, putting on a commanding quarterfinal performance to qualify for the semifinals of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The USA got goals from Abby Wambach in the 48th minute, Shannon Boxx in the 57th and a capper from team captain Kristine Lilly in the 60th minute to effectively put the match out of reach with a half hour remaining.
The USA, which has advanced to the semifinals in all five Women’s World Cups that have been contested, will now play the winner of Sunday’s Brazil-Australia quarterfinal. The USA’s semifinal will be played at Dragon Stadium in Hangzhou on Thursday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m. local. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 starting at 7:55 a.m.
It was the first game the USA has played in this Women’s World Cup that featured both good weather and a perfect pitch, as almost 30,000 fans saw both teams knock the ball around well on a beautiful night at Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium. After a tight first 45 minutes that saw few chances for either team, the USA blew the match open starting with Wambach’s goal off a corner kick just three minutes into the second half.
The USA earned two quick corner kicks to start to start the half, and on the second, Lilly drove the ball from the left corner to the far post where Wambach freed herself from the English defenders to power a header home from close range. It was Wambach’s fourth goal of the tournament and 81st of her international career, coming in her 100th career cap. She becomes the 20th U.S. player to hit the century mark.
“The first goal is always critical in a match,” said U.S. head coach Greg Ryan. “It was difficult for England to get their game going after that because they lost the momentum and we kept pressing and going after them. It’s very difficult to play from one down, but it was great for us. We were able to put in one and then two others fairly quickly.”
After the goal, the Americans continued to put pressure on England and the second goal came after Cat Whitehill won a tough tackle at the edge of England’s defensive third. The ball ricocheted to Boxx, who evaded a defender and scorched a left-footer from the top of the penalty box that skipped into lower right corner past the diving England goalkeeper Rachel Brown.
Three minutes later the USA was up 3-0, courtesy of a long service from Whitehill that caught Brown rushing too far out of her goal. Under pressure from Lilly, Brown was too aggressive and the ball skipped over her head and off her gloves. Lilly continued her run and squeezed past England defender Faye White for the easy tap in from close range. It was her first goal of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the 127th of her international career and eighth career score over five Women’s World Cups. Lilly has also three assists in the tournament.
The U.S. defense was once again stellar, posting its third shutout in a row in this tournament, and kept England star Kelly Smith out of dangerous areas for the entire match. Midfielder Leslie Osborne was charged with shadowing England’s leading scorer, but the back line of Stephanie Lopez, Whitehill, Kate Markgraf and Christie Rampone were rock solid in the air and on tackles the entire night.
Markgraf showed her recovery speed in the 20th minute, toe-poking the ball away after Eniola Aluka had briefly burst free in the left side of the penalty box.
Lopez took a cleat to the head from Jill Scott in the 23rd minute and had to leave the game momentarily, getting five staples in her scalp on the sideline to stem the bleeding. The gash was not as severe as the 11-stitcher suffered by Wambach against North Korea, but the USA’s youngest player got the staples removed and did need three stitches after the game.
Lopez was stellar at left back for the USA and also sent in several dangerous crosses early in the match while attacking down the wing. She also found Wambach at the edge of six yard box just a few minutes before halftime, but the U.S. forward’s lunging volley went high.
The USA had two more chances in the dying minutes of the first half, one when Lilly ran onto a header flick from Wambach into the left side of the penalty area and cracked a left-footed half-volley that Brown had to push over the top. Lori Chalupny also had a shot go wide off a short corner.
The USA out-shot England 17-9 and piled up an 11 to six advantage in corner kicks, but the English certainly did well to build the ball out of the back and challenged U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo on several crosses. Solo also had to palm away a dipping free kick from Smith in the 69th minute.
White, the England captain, went down hard in the 37th minute after taking an inadvertent elbow in the nose from Wambach, but returned to the match after a getting treatment on the sideline.
The USA came close to adding to the lead later in the game as Lilly hit a drive off Brown’s chest in 79th minute and three minutes later, Wambach almost blocked Brown’s clearance into the net.
The USA will travel back to Shanghai tomorrow and take Monday off from training. The team will train in Shanghai on Tuesday morning before heading to Hangzhou on Tuesday afternoon. The USA is scheduled to train at Dragon Stadium on Wednesday.
In the other quarterfinal played today, Germany sent North Korea home with a hard-fought 3-0 win. In the semifinals, Germany will face the winner of the China-Norway quarterfinal being played tomorrow in Wuhan.
Fans can follow the 2007 Women’s World Cup on the ESPN family of networks, which is broadcasting all 32 games live, as well as on ussoccer.com, which is providing daily information via podcasts, videos, features, the WNT blog and much, much more.
U.S. Women's National Team Match Report
Match-up: USA vs. England
Competition: 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup – Quarterfinal
Venue: Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium – Tianjin, China
Date: Sept. 22, 2007; Kickoff – 8 p.m. local / 8 a.m. ET
Weather: Cool, clear – 72 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 3 3
ENG 0 0 0
USA – Abby Wambach (Kristine Lilly) 48th minute.
USA – Shannon Boxx (Cat Whitehill) 57.
USA – Kristine Lilly (Cat Whitehill) 60.
USA: 18-Hope Solo; 3-Christie Rampone, 15-Kate Markgraf, 4-Cat Whitehill, 14-Stephanie Lopez; 7-Shannon Boxx (11-Carli Lloyd, 82) 12-Leslie Osborne, 17-Lori Chalupny; 9-Heather O’Reilly, 20-Abby Wambach (6-Natasha Kai, 86), 13-Kristine Lilly – Capt.
Subs not used: 1-Briana Scurry, 2-Marian Dalmy, 5-Lindsay Tarpley, 8-Tina Ellertson, 10-Aly Wagner, 16-Angela Hucles, 19-Marci Jobson, 21-Nicole Barnhart.
Head Coach: Greg Ryan
ENG: 1-Rachel Brown; 2-Alex Scott, 3-Casey Stoney, 5-Faye White, 6-Mary Phillip (18-Lianne Sanderson, 80), 12-Anita Asanta; 4-Katie Chapman, 16-Jill Scott, 7-Karen Carney, 10-Kelly Smith; 9-Eniola Aluko (11-Rachel Yankey, 46).
Subs not used: 13-Siobhan Chamberlain, 14-Rachel Unitt, 15-Sue Smith, 17-Jodie Handley, 19-Vicky Exley, 20-Lindsay Johnson 21-Carly Telford.
Suspended: 8-Fara Williams.
Head Coach: Hope Powell
Statistical Summary: USA / ENG
Shots: 17 / 9
Shots on Goal: 8 / 4
Saves: 4 / 5
Corner Kicks: 11 / 6
Fouls: 7 / 10
Offside: 0 / 1
Referee: Jenny Palmqvist (SWE)
Asst. Referee Susanne Borg (SWE)
Asst. Referee Hege Steinlund (NOR)
Fourth Official: Mayumi Oiwa (JPN)
Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Kristine Lilly