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U.S. WNT Ready to Defend Algarve Cup Title Against Sweden


U.S. Women’s National Team
Faro, Portugal
Tuesday, March 10, 2009


USA AND SWEDEN MEET FOR ALGARVE CUP TITLE ON MARCH 11: The U.S. Women’s National Team is set for its seventh consecutive Algarve Cup title game, where it will take on Sweden on Wednesday, March 11, in Faro at the fabulous Estádio Algarve, built for the 2004 European Championships. No other country has made more than three consecutive finals since Norway played in the 1996, 1997 and 1998 title matches. The USA-Sweden game will mark the second time U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage has faced her country of birth, but first time in a tournament final. The USA played Sweden last July 5 in Skelleftea in northern Sweden, picking up a 1-0 victory. The championship game is set for 4 p.m. local / 12 p.m. ET and fans can follow live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The time of the final was moved later in the day from the originally announced kickoff time to accommodate German television, which will be showing the third place match between Germany and Denmark. For complete Algarve Cup results and standings, as well as links to other U.S. content, click on the Algarve Cup competition page.

Road to the 2009 Algarve Cup Final
USA – Group B
Opponent Result U.S. Goal Scorer(s) Venue
Denmark 2-0 W Woznuk, DiMartino Estádio Municipal; Lagos
Iceland 1-0 W Kai Parque Desportiva da Nora; Ferreiras
Norway 1-0 W Rapinoe Parque Desportiva da Nora; Ferreiras

SWEDEN – Group A
Opponent Result Sweden Goal Scorer(s) Venue
China PR 0-0 T -- Estádio Municipal; Lagos
Finland 1-0 W Fischer Estádio Municipal; Albufeira
Germany 3-2 W Fischer, Schelin (2) Estádio Algarve; Faro

Championship
Date Match Time (Local / ET) Venue
March 11 USA vs. Sweden 4 p.m. / 12 p.m. Estádio Algarve; Faro

GROUP A RECAP: In a fantastic Group A finale, Sweden rolled to a 3-0 first half lead and then held on as Germany scored twice in the final 13 minutes for the final 3-2 score. The win sends the Swedes to the Algarve Cup Final for the first time since 2001, when they beat Denmark in the title match. China PR defeated Finland 1-0 on a 77th minute goal from captain Bi Yan to take third place in the group and earn a meeting with Iceland in the fifth place match.

GROUP C RECAP: Host Portugal is enjoying a fine tournament, winning its third straight match with a 1-0 victory over Austria on a goal from Sofia Vieira in the ninth minute. Portugal earned a meeting with 2009 UEFA Women’s Championship host Finland in the match for seventh place. Wales put the hurt on Poland as Jayne Ludlow, who plays for Arsenal Ladies in London, and Gwennanh Harris, each scored two goals in a 5-1 victory. The two teams will meet for 11th place with the Poles getting the chance to gain some redemption.

Placement Matches
March 11
Match Teams Time Venue
11th Place Match Wales vs. Poland 11:30 a.m. / 7:30 a.m. Estádio Municipal; Albufeira
9th Place Match Austria vs. Norway 11:30 a.m. / 7:30 a.m. Estádio Municipal; Loulé
7th Place Match Portugal vs. Finland 11:30 a.m. / 7:30 a.m. Estádio Municipal; Lagos
5th Place Match China vs. Iceland 11:30 a.m. / 7:30 a.m. Estádio Jose Arcano; Olhão
3rd Place Match Germany vs. Denmark 1:15 a.m. / 9:15 a.m. Estádio Algarve; Faro
Championship USA vs. Sweden 4 p.m. / 12 p.m. Estádio Algarve; Faro

OPPONENT CAPSULE: Sweden
Current FIFA World Ranking: 4
All-Time Algarve Cup Results: 33-15-14
Overall Record vs. USA: 3-16-5
Sweden record vs. the USA at Algarve Cup: 2-4-3
Last Meeting vs. USA: July 5, 2008 (a 1-0 U.S. win in Skelleftea, Sweden)
Head Coach: Thomas Dennerby
Algarve Cup Finals: 3 (1995, 1996, 2001) Sweden has won all three Algarve Cup Finals in which it has participated

U.S. vs. Sweden Fast Facts: Since the USA’s 2-0 victory over Sweden in group play at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China, the teams have played just once, that coming last July in northern Sweden, a 1-0 U.S. victory on a goal from Carli Lloyd … Beside Brazil, and maybe Japan, Sweden was the best team the USA played in 2008 … The USA has two players who have played club in Sweden: Hope Solo played for Kopparbergs/Goteborg and Kacey White played for Balinge IF and AIK in Stockholm … Both the USA and Sweden have struggled at times in this tournament – most notably Sweden’s 0-0 draw with China PR and the USA’s wind-blown 1-0 victory over Iceland – but both countries seem to be gearing up for what should be a sparkling final … Sweden features one of the world’s best wingers in Lotta Schelin, who plays her club ball in France with Olympique Lyonnais, the only player on Sweden’s roster who plays outside the country … Schelin is a 5-foot-10-inch glider who put on a show in her country’s first victory over Germany in about six years, creating one goal and scoring two of her own … Forward Nilla Fischer has scored Sweden’s other two goals in the tournament … The USA will get its second look on this trip at Sweden captain Victoria Svensson, who scored her club side’s only goal in the USA’s 5-1 scrimmage win over Djurgardens in a warm-up match before the tournament started … The last time Sweden beat the USA was a 3-1 triumph at the 2004 Algarve Cup … The reward for making the championship game is a match at the 30,000-seat Stadium Algarve, which features a perfectly manicured pitch, great width and length and a fully enclosed and roofed venue to keep out those famous Algarve winds … Sweden has never lost an Algarve Cup Final, winning all three in which it has participated, defeating Denmark in 1995 and 2001 and Norway in 1996 … The USA has won six out of nine finals it has participated in, defeating Norway twice, Denmark twice, China once and Germany once .. The USA fell to Germany on penalty kicks in 2006 final, to China in the 1999 final and to Norway in the team’s first trip to the Algarve in the 1994 final … Sweden is likely the group favorite in Group C during this fall’s European Women’s Championships, where they will face England, Russia and Italy.

2009 U.S. Algarve Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2):18-Nicole Barnhart, 1-Hope Solo
DEFENDERS (6): 7-Shannon Boxx, 4-Rachel Buehler, 17-Lori Chalupny, 13-Kendall Fletcher, 2-Heather Mitts, 3-Christie Rampone
MIDFIELDERS (6): 16-Angela Hucles, 11-Carli Lloyd, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 21-Kacey White, 12-Angie Woznuk
FORWARDS (4): 19-Tina DiMartino, 8-Amy Rodriguez, 6-Natasha Kai, 5-Lindsay Tarpley

2009 Sweden Algarve Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Hedvid Lindahl, 12-Kristin Hammarstrøm
DEFENDERS (7): 2-Charlotte Rohlin, 3-Stina Segerström, 4-Anna Paulson, 6-Sara Thunebro, 7-Emelie Ölander, 13-Alexandra Niilsson, 19-Linda Sembrandt
MIDFIELDERS (7): 5-Caroline Seger, 11-Victoria Svensson, 15-Therese Sjögran, 16-Louise Fors, 17-Kosovare Aslani, 18-Nilla Fischer, 20-Lisa Dahlkvist
FORWARDS (4): 8-Lotta Schelin, 9-Jessica Landström, 10-Sara Lindén, 14-Madelaine Edlund

U.S. Head Coach Pia Sundhage
On the championship game against Sweden:
“I expect a good game with great players on both sides. It may depend on who wins the midfield. Another thing, if Lotta Schelin is a playing, she is a very good player. If our back four can keep her away from the box, I think we will have a good game.”

U.S. Goalkeeper Hope Solo
On the championship game against Sweden:
“In the past, when Sweden has played with three up top, I think they’ve been very dangerous with their wingers who are both skillful and fast. I played in Sweden with Lotta Schelin and she’s only gotten better over the past few years. I know she’s scoring a lot of goals for Olympique Lyonnaise in France and I think our patience and one-v-one defending is going to be very important with their outside players. We also need to put quick pressure outside our box as they are really good at cracking shots from outside.”

U.S. Midfielder Kacey White
On the championship game against Sweden:
“One thing about Sweden is that defensively, they stay really organized. They all know the game and read the game very well so it makes it difficult to attack against them. Their soccer savvy is at a very high level, which means that tactically they can make adjustments during game situations depending on how the match is going. It should be a really fun final.”

VIDEO ALGARVE: Check out all_access video on ussoccer.com to see highlights of the USA’s three wins as well as a unique one-on-one with U.S. asstistant coach Hege Riise and a tour of Albufeira from the one-and-only Heather O’Reilly.

SWEDEN, THEN WPS TRAINING CAMPS: After the Algarve Cup Final, all the U.S. players will head back to the United States and almost immediately join their well-underway pre-season training camps for the inaugural WPS season. It will be a whole new world for the U.S. players as only six on the Algarve roster have played professional club soccer before. The 18-player U.S. roster will spread out among six WPS clubs with Abby Wambach’s Washington Freedom the only club not represented at the Algarve Cup. The season opens on March 29 as the Freedom head to Los Angeles to take on the Sol in the historic first-ever WPS match.

Stat of Note
In the six Algarve Cup finals the USA has won, the team has averaged exactly two goals per game.

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