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U.S. WNT Set to Face Sweden at 2011 Four Nations Tournament


U.S. Women’s National Team
2011 Four Nations Tournament
Yongchuan Sports Centre; Chongqing, China
Jan. 20, 2011

ROAD TO GERMANY BEGINS AT FOUR NATIONS TOURNAMENT: The U.S. Women’s National Team will open its 2011 schedule with a match against Sweden on Jan. 21 (2:35 a.m. ET) at the Yongchuan Sports Centre Stadium. It will be the first of three matches in five days at the Four Nations Tournament for the U.S. as it kicks off a Women’s World Cup year that will include up to 11 matches before the Americans open Group C play against Korea DPR on June 28 in Dresden, Germany. Sweden will also be the USA’s third Group C opponent in Germany, so this match will be a Women’s World Cup preview of sorts. The U.S. team traveled to China from its pre-tournament training camp in Carson, Calif., flying from L.A. to Beijing and Beijing to Chongqing, before taking a two-hour bus ride southwest to the suburb of Yongchuan. The U.S. team has had a busy schedule in cold weather here in central China, but should be well acclimated to the time difference and climate by the time the games kick off. Fans can follow the USA’s three matches at the 2011 Four Nations Tournament @ussoccer_wnt on Twitter.

USA COMPETES IN FOUR NATIONS FOR EIGHTH TIME: The U.S. team will be playing in this four-nation tournament for the eighth time, having won it during the previous six out of seven competitions. For a history of the USA’s participation in the Four Nations Tournament, click here. This year, three of the four teams competing will also be playing in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer. The only team to miss out is host China, which failed to qualify for the Women’s World Cup for the first time.

U.S. WNT QUICK HITS:

  • U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage brought 23 players to China. Only 20 can suit up for each match, but Sundhage can adjust the roster from game-to-game. Numerous players should see minutes as three games in five days is no doubt a taxing schedule.
  • Since the end of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the USA is 57-2-6.
  • Under Sundhage, the USA has a 22-1-2 record against European teams while scoring 49 goals and allowing nine.
  • The USA has allowed just 26 goals in 62 matches under Sundhage; 20 from the run of play, four from set plays and two on own goals.
  • Of the 21 matches the USA has played in the Four Nations Tournament, 13 of those have been in Guangzhou. Shenzhen has hosted three matches with Huadu, Panyu, Yiwu, Wuhan and Shanghai hosting one match each.
  • All of the matches but two have been played in January. In 2004, the first match was on January 30 and the latter two in the first part of February.
  • The USA has of course played China in all seven previous tournaments, going 4-1-2.
  • During the 21 matches, the USA has gone 13-2-6, with one loss to China and one to Norway.
  • The USA has played eight different countries in the tournament: China, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Canada, France, Finland and England.
  • Goals are hard to come by at the Four Nations, a tournament that has often featured the top teams in the world. The USA has scored just 35 goals in 21 games (an average of just more than a goal and a half a game). Of those 35 goals, 15 came from players on the 2011 Four Nations roster.
  • The tournament champion will be determined by points (three for a win, one for a tie, zero for a loss), with the first tie-breaker goal difference, the second goals scored and the third head-to-head.
  • Each team is allowed five substitutions per game.
  • Four awards will be given out at the end of the tournament: Best Player, Best Scorer, Best Goalkeeper and Fair Play.

THREE TEAMS MISSING TOP STRIKER: Three of the teams in the 2011 Four Nations Tournaments are missing their top scorers and attacking threat. The USA is without Abby Wambach (and her 117 career goals), who is recovering from a heel injury. Sweden is without Lotta Schelin, who is playing club soccer in France and China is without dynamic forward Han Duan who is also injured. Canada is the only team with its top gun on the roster in Christine Sinclair, who has 112 career goals.

ALL-TIME FOUR NATIONS SCORERS: The USA’s 35 goals at the Four Nations Tournament have been scored by 19 different players and five of the USA’s top seven scorers at this competition are on this year’s roster, including Lindsay Tarpley, who scored her first two career goals at this tournament in 2004 against Sweden. She scored three times in the 2004 tournament and three times in the 2008 tournament (including another brace, that one against Canada).

USA’s Career Goals at Four Nations Tournament
Lindsay Tarpley (6), Tiffeny Milbrett (4), Shannon Boxx (3), Kristine Lilly (3), Lauren Cheney (2), Heather O’Reilly (2), Amy Rodriguez (2), Tisha Venturini (2), Thori Bryan, Lori Chalupny, Joy Fawcett, Mia Hamm, Devin Hawkins, Natasha Kai, Debbie Keller, Shannon MacMillan, Cindy Parlow, Abby Wambach, Angie Woznuk

RUNNING OUT THE JET LAG: The U.S. team will have trained for six days by the time this tournament kicks off and two of those days included two practices. The players are adjusting as quickly as possible to a 16-hour time difference from the West Coast where the team was training before departing for the Far East. The U.S. team has been training in icy temperatures and the forecast calls for rain almost every day with the thermometer dipping into the low 40s and high 30s. The USA will play two games with late afternoon kickoff times and one – against Canada on Jan. 23 – that kicks off at 7:05 p.m. local time which should be quite chilly.

TOP-10 TOURNAMENT: The 2011 Four Nations Tournament features three teams ranked in the top-10 of FIFA Women’s World Rankings. The USA is number one (just above Germany), Sweden is fourth and Canada is tenth. China is currently at thirteenth.

OPPONENT CAPSULE: Sweden
Current FIFA World Ranking: 4   
USA’s Overall Record vs. Sweden: 18-3-7
Last Meeting vs. USA: July 17, 2010 (a 3-0 U.S. win in East Hartford, Conn.)
Coach: Thomas Dennerby
Key Players: G Hedvig Lindahl, D Sara Larsson, D Stina Segerström, D Charlotte Rohlin, M Kosovare Asllani, M Therese Sjögran, M Lisa Dahlkvist, M Nilla Fischer, M Therese Sjogran

USA vs. Sweden Fast Facts: These two teams met three times in 2010, with the USA coming away with two wins and a tie … The USA won 2-0 in group play at the Algarve Cup and 3-0 in the second of two friendlies last summer in the USA, with a 1-1 tie sandwiched into between … Lauren Cheney scored both goals in the Algarve Cup victory while Megan Rapinoe and Abby Wambach (two goals) tallied in the win in Connecticut … Amy Rodriguez scored the USA’s lone goal in the draw … The teams also met in the championship game of the 2009 Algarve Cup, a 1-1 tie that went directly to penalty kicks where the USA fell 4-3 … Sweden hasn’t defeated the USA in regulation time since 2004, a 3-1 win at the Algarve Cup … Sweden has two players who played in WPS last season Sara Larsson (Philadelphia Independence) and Kosovare Asllani (Chicago Red Stars) while defender Johanna Frisk played for the Los Angeles Sol during the inaugural season … Caroline Seger, who also played for the Independence but is now with the Western New York Flash, is in China but will not play as she recovers from an injury … Star midfielder Therese Sjogran has signed with Sky Blue FC for next season and forward Madelaine Edlund played for the St. Louis Athletic before it folded … The USA has met Sweden in group play in the 2003 and 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and will meet them again in 2011 as the teams square off in the third Group C match in Wolfsburg on July 6 … The USA has four young forwards on its roster and Sweden has a rising star of its own in Antonia Goransson, who scored four goals for the Swedes in the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup last summer in Germany … The USA’s Sydney Leroux scored five.

U.S. WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Nicole Barnhart (out of contract), Ashlyn Harris (Western New York Flash)
DEFENDERS (7): Rachel Buehler (Boston Breakers), Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Atlanta Beat), Christie Rampone (out of contract) Becky Sauerbrunn (Washington Freedom), Brittany Taylor (Sky Blue FC)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Yael Averbuch (Western New York Flash), Shannon Boxx (out of contract), Tobin Heath (Sky Blue FC), Meghan Klingenberg (Washington Freedom), Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), Carli Lloyd (Atlanta Beat), Kelley O’Hara (Boston Breakers), Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Philadelphia Independence), Lindsay Tarpley (out of contract)
FORWARDS (4): Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers), Sydney Leroux (UCLA), Alex Morgan (Western New York Flash), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence)

Sweden WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Kristin Hammarström (KIF Örebro), Hedvig Lindahl (Kristianstads)
DEFENDERS (7): Johanna Frisk (Tyresö FF), Sara Larsson (KIF Örebro), Lina Nilsson (LdB FC Malmö), Charlotte Rohlin (Linköpings FC), Stina Segerström (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC), Linda Sembrant (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC), Annica Svensson (Hammarby IF)
MIDFIELDERS and FORWARDS (12): Johanna Almgren (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC), Kosovare Asllani (Linköpings FC), Lisa Dahlkvist (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC), Madelaine Edlund (Tyresö FF), Nilla Fischer (LdB FC Malmö), Louise Fors (Linköpings FC), Linda Forsberg (LdB FC Malmö), Antonia Göransson (Hamburger SV), Marie Hammarström (KIF Örebro), Linnea Liljegärd (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC), Therese Sjögran (LdB FC Malmö), Josefine Öqvist (Linköpings FC)

SWEDEN QUALIFIES FOR GERMANY IN DRAMATIC FASHION: Sweden qualified for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup by easily winning Group 8 in UEFA qualifying over the Czech Republic, Belgium, Wales and Azerbaijan, and then edged Denmark in a dramatic two-game playoff. A stoppage time header from Charlotte Rohlin in the second leg gave the Swedes a 4-3 victory on aggregate. Trailing 2-1 after the first leg, Denmark put themselves ahead on aggregate with two goals in quick succession before half-time. Sweden forced extra time in the 73rd minute as Rohlin nodded in Kosovare Asslani's cross. Sweden then struck for the goal that sent them to Germany four minutes into seocnd half stoppage time as Rohlin headed in Sara Thunebro's set piece.

NO STRANGERS TO CHINA: Of the 23 players on the U.S. roster, just six have never previously been to China and two of those are uncapped midfielder Meghan Klingenberg and forward Sydney Leroux. Twelve players have played in the Four Nations before, led by Christie Rampone, Lindsay Tarpley and Heather O’Reilly who have played in five each. When you combine the Olympics, the Women’s World Cup and youth National Team trips (several players traveled to China with the U.S. U-19s or U-21s), Rampone and O’Reilly have each been to China nine times. This is Tarpley’s eighth trip here. Heather Mitts, Carli Lloyd and Shannon Boxx have been in China six times each. Prior to this year, the combined U.S. roster had made 62 trips to China.

OPENING DAY: The U.S. Women’s National Team has gone 20-2-4 all time in the first game of a calendar year dating back to the first game in 1985. The USA hasn’t lost an opened since 2001, a 1-0 setback to China in Panyu, China. The USA has opened up a year against Sweden twice before, both coming at the Four Nations Tournament. The first came at the USA’s first-ever Four Nations Tournament in 1998. The USA prevailed that day 3-0 in Guangzhou. The second was in 2004, another 3-0 win for the USA. That one took place in Shenzhen.

STUDIO 90 FROM CHONGQING: From Los Angeles to China, we’ve got you covered on Studio 90. Log onto to ussoccer.com for video updates and features from the USA’s trip to China for the Four Nations Tournament. You can see how the USA jumps right into acclimating in Asia as well as a special feature on the U.S. team’s four young forwards, all of whom are 23 or younger and all of whom played in the Pac-10 Conference, and for one season, all at the same time.

FOGGY BLOG: Yes, it’s a bit hazy in Chongqing, China, but that hasn’t stopped the WNT Blog from posting plenty of pictures and updates. Long onto ussoccer.com’s third place finisher for Best Blog in the 2010 Best Of Awards.

FOLLOW THE WNT ON TWITTER: Keep up with all U.S. Women’s National Team news (in short form, of course) by following on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt. It’s also where you will be getting live updates from the USA’s three matches in China.

COACH QUOTES: All four head coaches attended a pre-tournament press conference today at the Yongchuan Sports Centre Stadium. It always seems there is no shortage of media in China and they are not known to be kind to the home team. Go to the U.S. WNT Blog for a selection of quotes from the coaches.

STAT OF NOTE: The USA won its first three matches that started a World Cup Year (in 1991, 1995 and 1999) by a combined 22-0. The first matches of 2003 and 2007 both ended in 0-0 ties, against Japan and Germany, respectively.

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