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U.S. WNT Ready for World Cup Opener With North Korea


U.S. Women’s National Team Notes
2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Chengdu, China
Sept. 10, 2007

USA READY FOR NORTH KOREA TO OPEN 2007 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: The U.S. Women’s World Cup Team conducted its final training on Sept. 10 at the Chengdu University of Information Technology and will open the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup on Sept. 11 at Chengdu Sports Center Stadium on Sept. 11 at 5 p.m. local / 5 a.m. ET (Live on ESPN2). FIFA President Sepp Blatter will be in attendance at the match to watch the two-time WWC champion USA take on rising power North Korea. The final training brought 13 days of excellent preparation in China to a close, and the U.S. players are entering the match with an excitement born from the experiences of a journey almost three years in the making that has included 46 matches under head coach Greg Ryan. This fifth FIFA Women’s World Cup is set to be the most competitive ever, with more strong teams than in any past tournament, including three of the top five ranked teams in the world playing in Group B (#1 USA, #3 Sweden and #5 North Korea). The beginning of the tournament also starts the USA’s second straight Women’s World Cup facing the same three teams, after also playing Sweden, Nigeria and North Korea in 2003. For a complete, schedule, scores and standings, fans can log onto the special Women’s World Cup page on www.ussoccer.com.

2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup
USA First-Round Schedule
Date        Opponent      Venue                                                                             Kickoff TV
Sept. 11  North Korea Chengdu (Chengdu Sports Center Stadium)         5 p.m. / 5 am 4:55 a.m. ET ESPN2
Sept. 14  Sweden       Chengdu (Chengdu Sports Center Stadium)          5 p.m. / 5 am 4:55 a.m. ET ESPN
Sept. 18  Nigeria         Shanghai (Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium) 8 p.m. / 8 a.m. 7:55 a.m. ET on ESPN
Complete WWC Schedule


2007 U.S. WOMEN’S WORLD CUP ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (3): 21-Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), 1-Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), 18-Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.); DEFENDERS (6): 2-Marian Dalmy (Lakewood, Colo.), 8-Tina Ellertson (Vancouver, Wash.), 14-Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif.), 15-Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), 3-Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), 4-Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.); MIDFIELDERS (7): 7-Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 17-Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), 16-Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), 19-Marci Jobson (St. Charles, Ill.), 11-Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), 12-Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), 10-Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif.); FORWARDS (5): 6-Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), 13-Kristine Lilly (Wilton, Conn.), 9-Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), 20-Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.)
Detailed Roster


2007 NORTH KOREA WOMENS WORLD CUP ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS: 1-Phi Un Hui, 18-Yun Hyon Hi, 21-Jon Myong Hui; DEFENDERS: 3-Om Jong Ran, 4-Yun Song Mi, 5-Song Jong Sun,14-Jang Yong Ok, 15-Sonu Kyong Sun, 16-Kong Hye Ok, 20- Hong Myong Gum; MIDFIELDERS: 2-Kim Kyong Hwa, 6-Kim Ok Sim, 7-Ho Sun Hui, 9-Ri Un Suk, 12-Ri Un Gyong; FORWARDS: 8-Kil Son Hui, 10-Ri Kum Suk, 11-Ho Un Byol, 17-Kim Yong Ae, 19-Jong Pok Sim.

USA vs. NORTH KOREA PREVIEW: It’s difficult to scout a team you haven’t seen in four years and only plays outside its country for major confederation tournaments in Asia. Still, U.S. head coach Greg Ryan has done his homework and he’s seen enough to know that the Koreans are fast, athletic and dangerous, especially through forward Ri Kum Suk, who scored five goals in Women’s World Cup qualifying and has struck 40 times in her 65 international matches. The only two meetings between the USA and North Korea came at the last two Women’s World Cups when the teams squared off in group play. A look at the score lines, both 3-0 U.S. wins, is a bit deceiving. In 1999 in Boston, the match was tied 0-0 at halftime before Shannon MacMillan scored once and Tisha Venturini bagged two goals. In 2003, the USA controlled most of the game, but North Korea certainly had good chances and forced goalkeeper Briana Scurry in several great saves, including one early in the match that could have changed the complexion of the game had it gone in. North Korea has certainly become a stronger side since 2003, and Ryan has called them “possibly the most mobile team” in the tournament, meaning the game will likely be a wide-open attacking affair. The USA could have as many as five players in the starting lineup who will be playing their first-ever Women’s World Cup match, and those youngsters ability to step up to the enormity of the moment will go a long way in determining the team’s success. The entire U.S. team is healthy and ready for selection for the game, which will be the 25th match the U.S. women have played all-time in Women’s World Cup play.

North Korea Fast Facts
Current FIFA World Ranking: 5
2007 Women’s World Cup qualifying: Finished third in 2006 Asian Women’s Cup, defeating Japan 3-2 in the third-place match (4-1-1, 16 GF, 3 GA)
Women’s World Cup Finals appearances: 3 – 1999, 2003 and 2007
Overall Record in Women’s World Cup: 2-4-0
Record vs. USA: 0-2-0 (Both matches in Women’s World Cup play)
Last Meeting vs. USA: September 26, 2003, in Columbus, Ohio (3-0 U.S. Win)
Coach: Kim Kwang-Min
Championship Honors: 2001, 2003 Asian Women’s Champions
Leading World Cup Qualifying Scorers: F Ri Kum Suk (5 goals), F Kim Yong Ae (3), M Ri Un Gyong (3)
Other Key Players: D Sonu Kyong Sun, D Song Jong Sun, M Ri Un Suk, M Ho Sun Hui.
Language: Korean
Fast Facts: The North Koreans won the Asian Women’s Championships in 2001 and 2003, dethroning seven-time champion China (now eight-time champs after winning the 2006 Asian Women’s Cup), but fell in the semifinal of the 2006 Asian Women’s Cup to China, 1-0 … In that loss to China, North Korea lost three players to suspension for the all-important third-place match against Japan (due to a post-game brawl in which several players attacked the referee), but rallied to defeat Japan, 3-2, to earn its WWC berth … North Korea also beat Japan, this time for the gold medal, at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar last December … North Korea’s first-ever match in a Women’s World Cup came in 1999 when they lost to Nigeria, 2-1, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. … North Korea would avenge that defeat at the 2003 Women’s World Cup in Philadelphia, Pa., downing Nigeria, 3-0 … The Koreans may have an influx of young talent on their team for their 2007 Women’s World Cup after they won the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship in Russia in resounding fashion, defeating China 5-0 in the Final … The USA has defeated North Korea by 3-0 scores in the past two Women’s World Cup tournaments.

U.S. WNT Quote Sheet
U.S. head coach Greg Ryan
On North Korea:
“North Korea is a fantastic team. Collectively, they’re great in possessing the ball and they try to outnumber their opponents in the midfield…they are very skillful, very creative and confident on the ball. They really play good football.”

On if the U.S. team is ready:
“I think our team is ready. We’ve been working very hard for two years. So I think there is a great confidence in this team. We know it’s going to very difficult, our group is the most difficult of all the groups, but our team has great confidence because of all the preparation we’ve done. For me, I’m almost done with what I needed to do prior to this game, then it’s a players’ game. Players win games and championships and we’re looking forward to letting the players step on the field on Tuesday and show what they can do.”

On the match:
“I think it will be a great game and it could be one of the best matches in the World Cup…it will be a game of two teams that play aggressive, attacking styles, and who are also very organized defensively.”

On the weather in Chengdu, which has been much cooler and dryer than Shanghai:
“The weather is very good right now because it’s not so hot. It’s better for all the teams. I like the rain. I liked playing in the rain when I was a pro and I think if it rains, it sometimes benefits the most aggressive team.”

U.S. forward Abby Wambach
On the pressure felt by being one of the favorites:
“The standard that has been set for this team over the course of two decades (being so successful) has been a way of life. The pressure that people on the outside may perceive is not as great as you may think as we enter a highly competitive training environment every day. When you are on a world’s stage and you’re training for a world championship, the pressure does get increased more, but I actually enjoy pressure. I thrive under pressure.”

On what she learned from losing at the 2003 Women’s World Cup:
“2003 was my first World Cup. It was my first experience in a world championship and I take it very hard that we didn’t win. But the biggest thing we took for that is that it’s just going to get harder and harder every year because teams are getting better, coaching is getting better and funding is getting better. It’s going to create a better level of soccer.”

On playing in a tough Group B containing three of the world’s top five teams:
“No matter what we do, we can’t change the grouping. No matter what do, it’s not going to change the fact we have North Korea, Sweden and Nigeria. Tough group, tough first game, tough second game, tough third game. But I think if we can get through, it’s going to be beneficial during the latter end of the tournament, because the better we can play sooner, it will give us the edge against teams who may not have such a tough group.”

On what the USA has to do to beat North Korea:
“The way we like to see it, it’s not necessarily about other teams. Granted, there are some great teams in the world, but we feel if we play well enough, we’ll be ok.”

U.S. forward Kristine Lilly
On playing in a tough Group B containing three of the world’s top five teams:
“Pretty much every group is tough. At this event, teams are putting everything out there. This is their chance to make an impact on the world so I don’t think any group is easy.”

On if the team is ready:
“The team is feeling good right now. We’ve been training for almost two weeks here now and we are anxious for the first game. I think the nerves are going to be there, even for me and this is my fifth (Women’s World Cup), so it’s just about getting on the field and touching the ball and getting through that first five minutes.”

On if the younger players are more excited:
“Everyone is just as excited. I haven’t seen a difference between me and a younger player. I’m just as excited as they are. Overall, the feeling has been pretty good. Over the last three or four days, we’ve really got the feel of the World Cup. The media is coming in, the teams are here and the training days are getting shorter.”

On North Korea:
“They are very organized, technical and quick. They run up and down the field a lot. The Asian teams are all very technical, and organized, and move up the field in groups with a lot of small-sided passing. The European teams are more combative stronger, taller and play more long ball. But each style you have to play against. North Korea, Sweden and Nigeria offer three different styles. First we’ll focus on North Korea and then move on.”

On finally starting the tournament::
“Everyone makes such big thing about the first game of the World Cup. It is a big thing, but we still have three games in our group. As players, we are excited to get out on the field. We’ve been training for two weeks almost here in China and for over two years for this moment. We couldn’t be more exited to get out on the field and play and we’ll see if we can put on a good show.”

ALL-TIME U.S. SCORERS AT THE WWC: The USA has scored 73 goals in Women’s World Cup play (the most of any team in the history of the tournament), while allowing just 18. The players on the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup roster account for just 14 of those, scored by just four players, meaning numerous members of the U.S. team have a chance to find the score sheet in a WWC for the first time.

U.S. Women’s World Cup All-Time Scorers
Player                   Goals           Women’s World Cups
Michelle Akers          12               1991, 1995, 1999
Mia Hamm                 8                  1991, 1995, 1999, 2003
Kristine Lilly               7                 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003
Tiffeny Milbrett           7                1995, 1999
Carin Gabarra           6                 1991, 1995
Tisha Venturini         5                 1995, 1999
Julie Foudy                4                 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003
April Heinrichs          4                 1991
Cindy Parlow            4                 1999, 2003
Joy Fawcett               3                 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003
Abby Wambach        3                  2003
Shannon Boxx          2                  2003
Cat Whitehill             2                  2003
Brandi Chastain       1                  1991, 1999, 2003
Wendy Gebauer        1                 1991
Debbie Keller            1                 1995
Shannon MacMillan  1                1999
Carla Overbeck          1                1991, 1995, 1999
Own Goal                    1                1999

BLOGS ‘R US: Soon it will be more about games and goals than anything else, but that doesn’t mean the WNT Blog is taking a break. Keep up with the happenings on and off the field as the U.S. team plays in the fifth Women’s World Cup by clicking the WNT Blog button on ussoccer.com.

U.S. WNT Quick Hits:
• Nine players have scored the USA’s 41 goals so far this year (10 if you count the Japanese own goal), with 29 goals coming from forwards (about 70%) and 11 from the midfield (27%).
• Cat Whitehill leads the USA in minutes played this year with 1306. Lori Chalupny has played 1237, followed by Stephanie Lopez at 1203, Christie Rampone at 1080 and Carli Lloyd at 1018.
• The USA has six players with 100 or more caps on the Women’s World Cup roster.
• Kristine Lilly has 163 more caps than her next closest teammate Christie Rampone, who has 168, almost half of Lilly.
• Abby Wambach leads the USA in scoring this year with 11 goals. Kristine Lilly and has nine goals and Carli Lloyd has seven, getting one in each of the four 2007 Algarve Cup matches, where she earned tournament MVP and Top Scorer honors.
• Goalkeeper Hope Solo has moved into second place on the all-time wins (33) and shutouts (24) list behind Briana Scurry. She has also moved past Siri Mullinix and become the second-most capped goalkeeper in U.S. history with 48 games played.
• Abby Wambach has moved into sole possession of fifth place on the all-time U.S. goal scoring list with 75 goals and 32 assists.
• U.S. history to set up 100 goals. Mia Hamm (144 assists) is the other.
• Since the end of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the U.S. Women have gone 38-2-10 against teams that will be participating in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
• The USA has played each of its Group B opponents twice in Women’s World Cup play. The difference is that two of the USA’s group opponents – North Korea and Nigeria – have never met the USA anywhere but in a Women’s World Cup, as they Americans played both teams 1999 and 2003. On the flip side, the USA has played Sweden 22 times.
• Kristine Lilly is 124 minutes away from passing former teammate Julie Foudy as the player who has played the most minutes in FIFA Women’s World Cups. When she plays against North Korea, she will become the USA’s most capped player ever in Women’s World Cup play.

2007 USA WNT BY THE NUMBERS:
0.53   Goals allowed per game by the USA in 2007
1         World ranking of the U.S. Women’s National Team
2.73    Average goals per game for the USA in 2007
3         Decades in which Kristine Lilly has appeared for the National Team
5         Assists for Kristine Lilly in 2007, most on the team
7        Number of players in the USA’s top-20 on the all-time caps list to get a cap this year
7       Number of games the USA has played outside the country this year
8       Number of games the USA has played inside the USA this year
10    Number of players on the U.S. World Cup roster with 50 caps or less
11    Number of players on the U.S. World Cup roster with 50 or more caps
13    Consecutive wins for the USA since tying England on Jan. 28 at the Four Nations Tournament in China
14     Starts (out of 14 games) for Cat Whitehill and Lori Chalupny, tied for most of the team this year
26    Number of U.S. players to earn a cap so far in 2007
30    Streak of matches the USA’s has gone unbeaten in outright
47    Streak of matches in which the U.S. team is unbeaten in regulation time
73    Goals the USA has scored in Women’s World Cup matches
77    Career goals by Abby Wambach, putting her 5th on the all-time list at the age of 27 and tied for 13th all-time in world history
90     Number of minutes that Abby Wambach averages a goal every…
130   Number of minutes that Mia Hamm averaged a goal every…
178   Players who have earned a cap for the U.S. Women’s National Team since the program’s inception in 1985
331  Caps for Kristine Lilly, a world record

SEVEN AWARDS UP FOR GRABS AT WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: FIFA will hand out numerous awards at the end out the tournament and will also choose a Player of the Match after every game. In addition, a FIFA All-Star Team will be chosen at the end of the tournament by the FIFA Technical Study Group. Following is a summary of the awards.

Golden Ball Award
The Golden Ball will be awarded to the outstanding player of the tournament. The short list will be named by the FIFA Technical Study Group after the semifinals and then accredited media representatives will vote on the award. The runner-up receives the Silver Ball, with the Bronze Ball for the player voted third.

Golden Shoe Award
The Golden Shoe will be awarded to the top scorer at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2007. Previous winners include Chinese football icon Sun Wen in 1999 and German’s Birgit Prinz in 2003, both with 7 goals. The record-holder is the USA’s Michelle Akers, scored 10 in 1991. Assists serve as a tie-breaker with the FIFA Technical Study Group deciding whether an assist is to be counted as such. The assists will only be counted if two or more players are equal on goals scored. The second-highest scorer receives the Silver Shoe, with the Bronze Shoe for the third best striker.

FIFA Fair Play Award
The fairest team of the tournament will receive the FIFA Fair Play Award. The winner is determined by a points system and criteria established by the FIFA Fair Play Committee. In 2003, China won this award for the second time in a row.

Best Goalkeeper
The Best Goalkeeper will be selected by the FIFA Technical Study Group based on her performance throughout the final competition. Germany’s Silke Rottenberg, who came back from a torn ACL to earn a roster spot on this year’s team, won the award in 2003.

Most Entertaining Team
FIFA.com users will have the chance to designate the Most Entertaining Team of the competition.
PRIZE MONEY AWARD AT WWC FOR THE FIRST TIME: For the first time in the history of the FIFA Women's World Cup, the participating teams will receive prize money from FIFA, the amount of which will depend on their performance

Prize Money
Winner                   USD   1,000,000
Runners-up          USD   800,000
3rd place               USD   650,000
4th place                USD  550,000
Quarter-finalists   USD  350,000
9th-16th place       USD  250,000
Total                      USD    6.4 million

STUDIO 90: CHINA ‘07 ON FOX SOCCER CHANNEL: “Studio 90: China ’07,” a special 30-minute show previewing the U.S. Women’s National Team’s participation in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China, debuts on Fox Soccer Channel on Monday, Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. ET on the eve of the USA’s opening match in the WWC. It will be shown again that night at 11 p.m. ET and re-aired four more times during the week. The second show on the WNT produced for FSC by the U.S. Soccer Communications Department, “Studio 90: China’07” has several special features. The show includes a behind-the-scenes look at a Day in the Life of star forward Abby Wambach, highlights of the team's Send Off-Series matches in advance of the Women's World Cup, and an introduction of the U.S. Women’s World Cup Team by position. In addition, join young forward Heather O’Reilly for a feature taped last January in China at the Four Nations Tournament. And finally, you don’t want to miss the full glory of “Jim Mike, PR Man” as he shares his “revolutionary” ideas with the U.S. players (whether they like it or not) to help promote women’s soccer in America.

STUDIO 90: CHINA ‘07 IS HERE: It’s has begun. Studio 90: China ’07, the web version, already has one episode up on ussoccer.com with more to come. Check out the first show for an interview with U.S. forward Heather O’Reilly, who is about to play in her first Women’s World Cup, as well as the always popular Back Four Quiz.

Stat of Note
The USA is the top ranked team in the history of the Women’s World Cup, having won the most games (20), scored the most goals (73) and earned the most points (62).
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