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U.S. Team Faces Norway For Berth in Algarve Cup Championship Game

Sunday, March 9, 2007
U.S. Women’s National Team
Notes from The Algarve, Portugal

U.S. TEAM FACES NORWAY FOR BERTH IN ALGARVE CUP CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: With two excellent results so far at the 2008 Algarve Cup, the U.S. Women’s National Team has put itself in position to earn a spot in the championship game with a win or a tie against Norway in the final Group B game for both teams. The match will take place on March 10 at Restinga Stadium in Alvor, kicking off at 3 p.m. local / 11 a.m. ET. Fans can follow the match live on’s MatchTracker. The USA is guaranteed no worse than a spot in the third-place match, but the Norwegians need a win to leap-frog the USA in Group B standings and earn a shot at the title. A tie would give each team seven points, but would get the USA into the final due to a superior goal difference. The USA is at plus-6 while Norway is at plus-four, although the Scandinavians have scored seven goals to the USA’s six. Heading into its final group game at the Algarve Cup last year, the USA needed a win or a tie against Sweden, and pulled out a 3-2 victory. Log on to the Algarve Cup competitions page at for a complete schedule and standings, plus features and exclusive all_access video coverage of the WNT in Portugal.

U.S. WNT 2008 Algarve Cup Schedule
Date Matchup Venue Stadium Kickoff Time
March 5 USA 4, China 0 Albufeira Municipal Stadium  
March 7 USA 3, Italy 0 Alvor Restinga Stadium  
March 10 USA vs. Norway Alvor Restinga Stadium 3:00 p.m. local / 11 a.m. ET
March 12 Placement Match TBD TBD TBD

Current FIFA World Ranking:
2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Results: Canada, 2-1 W; Australia, 1-1 T; Ghana, 7-2 W; China, 1-0 W; Germany, 0-3 L; United States, 1-4 L
Overall Record vs. USA: 18-21-2
Norway record vs. the USA at Algarve Cup: 4-4-1
Last Meeting vs. USA: Sept. 30, 2007, in Shanghai, China (4-1 U.S. win in WWC Third-Place Match)
Coach: Bjarne Berntsen
Algarve Cup Finals: 7 (Champions in 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998)
Key Players: NORWAY: Ane Horpestad, Gunhild Følstad, Marit Chistensen, Ingvild Stensland, Marie Knutsen, Lene Storløkken, Solveig Gulbrandsen, Melissa Wiik, Leni Kaurin.

USA vs. Norway Fast Facts: This will be the first meeting between the two teams since the USA’s rousing 4-1 victory at the Women’s World Cup last September to take the bronze medal … Norway has one of the tightest all-time series’ of any U.S. opponent in the world, but the Americans have won an amazing eight straight games over Norway, by far the longest winning streak in a series that goes back 41 games since 1987 … Norway’s star midfielder Solveig Gulbrandsen was injured in their first match of the tournament against Italy and came out of the game in the 35th minute … She did not play against China … Norway and the USA are staying at the same hotel and Gulbrandsen’s baby son, Christie Rampone’s baby daughter and Kate Markgraf’s baby son have had play dates at the team hotel, not something not often seen in international soccer … Denmark, Sweden and the USA are the only three teams that have yet to receive a yellow card through their two matches … Norway split their goalkeepers playing time in the first two games, with Erika Skarbø playing against Italy and Christine Nielsen getting the nod against China … All 20 players on the U.S. roster have played so far in the tournament as U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage has made all six of her allowed subs in both matches … Norway head coach Bjarne Berntsen has also been rotating players, as 18 of their 20 players have seen minutes … Norway usually plays some version of a 4-4-5-1 formation that morphs into a 4-3-3 in the attack as they send their flank midfielders forward as wingers … Count on the USA’s back line being under pressure both offensively and defensively if Norway decides to high pressure with all three forwards … 15 players on Norway’s Algarve Cup roster were on their 2007 WWC Team, 10 of whom played against the USA in the World Cup …15 players on the USA’s Algarve Cup roster were on their 2007 WWC Team, nine of whom played against Norway in the World Cup.

2008 U.S. Algarve Cup Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 24-Nicole Barnhart, 18-Hope Solo;
DEFENDERS (7): 26-Rachel Buehler, 17-Lori Chalupny, 14-Stephanie Cox, 13-Tobin Heath, 15-Kate Markgraf, 3-Christie Rampone, 4-Cat Whitehill;
MIDFIELDERS (6): 7-Shannon Boxx, 16-Angela Hucles, 11-Carli Lloyd, 12-Leslie Osborne, 5-Lindsay Tarpley, 10-Angie Woznuk;
FORWARDS (5): 8-Lauren Cheney, 6-Natasha Kai, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 19-Amy Rodriguez, 20-Abby Wambach.

2008 Norway Algarve Cup Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Erika Skarbø, 12-Ingrid Hjelmseth, 13-Christine Nielsen;
DEFENDERS (6): 2-Ane Horpestad, 2-Gunhild Følstad, 5-Siri Nordby, 15-Marita Lund, 18-Runa Vikestad, 19-Marit Chistensen;
MIDFIELDERS (5) 4-Ingvild Stensland, 6-Marie Knutsen, 7-Lene Storløkken, 8-Solveig Gulbrandsen, 9-Isabell Herlovsen;
FORWARDS (6): 10-Melissa Wiik, 11-Leni Kaurin, 14-Guro Knutsen, 16-Elise Thorsnes, 17-Lene Mykjaland, 20-Kristin Lie.

GROUP A UPDATE: Germany rebounded from its opening game 1-0 loss to Denmark to thump Finland, 3-0, but even a win over Sweden (smarting from its own 1-0 loss to Denmark on the second match day), may not be enough to earn a spot in the final. Denmark needs just a tie against Finland in its final group game to make the final for the second straight year. Finland has scored one goal in their two games, allowing six, so the Danes are certainly fancied for a place in the championship while the long-time rival Germans and Swedes may be battling for a spot in the third place match. German star Brigit Prinz scored twice against Finland before the match was 30 minutes old. Renate Lingor added a goal on a penalty kick in the 38th minute. Denmark’s hero was Cathrine Sørensen, who scored the winning against Sweden just six minutes into the game.

GROUP B UPDATE: The USA and Norway played for the group title as both teams won their first two matches. China and Italy will play for third place in the group. Italy can take third place with a tie, which would relegate China to the 7th place match. The Norway-China game was a bit unusual. Consider that, 1) It was scoreless until the 41st minute when Chinese forward Yue Guo scored an own goal, 2) China tied the game in the 62nd with a goal from Yue, only to 3) lose the lead two minutes later when Lene Storløkken scored to make it 2-1, and then 4) Norway scored its final goal in the second minute of stoppage time through Melissa Wiik. The USA and Denmark are the only two teams in the tournament that have yet to allow a goal.

GROUP C UPDATE: Portugal is on a roll. The hosts have won two games in a row in their own tournament for the first time, defeating Ireland 2-0 and Poland, 3-1. Still, Iceland has also won its game handily, 2-0 over Poland and 4-1 over Ireland, and need just a tie to win the group and face the best fourth place finishing in either Group A or B. Portugal has a new head coach in Monica Jorge and are starting to invest a bit more resources in its women’s team. Organizers are hoping that Edite Fernandes, Sofia Viera and Carla Couto, who have scored five goals between them, can give Portugal the result needed to win the group.

VIDEO ALGARVE: You can check out the videos from the Algarve Cup on, including highlights of the USA’s 2-0 win over Italy. Coming soon: all_access video goes One-on-One with U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage.

SUN, SOCCER…BLOG: Check out the WNT Blog if you haven’t already. It will only be going for a few more days while the team is in Portugal so check it out to read about the fun, funny and flat out fantastic happenings of the U.S. team at the Algarve Cup.

VIDARSDOTTIR IS ICEY IN FRONT OF THE NET: Iceland’s Marget Vidarsdottir is the leading scorer in the 2008 Algarve Cup after two match days following her brace against Ireland. Five other players have scored twice, including the USA’s Lindsay Tarpley. Twenty-four players have one goal, including four U.S. players.

2008 Algarve Cup Leading Scorers:
Player (Country) Goals
Margret Vidarsdottir (ISL) 3
Birgit Prinz (GER) 2
Lindsay Tarpley (USA) 2
Lene Storløkken (NOR) 2
Sofia Viera (POR) 2
Edite Fernandes (POR) 2

Stat of Note
There have been 16 goals scored in Group B, and average of four goals per game, but just nine in Group A. Group C has scored 13 goals in the four matches.