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Post-Match Quote Sheet: U.S. WNT 1, Nigeria 0


Post-Match Quote Sheet
USA 1, Nigeria 0
2007 FIFA Women's World Cup - Group B
Shanghai, China - Sept. 18, 2007

U.S. head coach Greg Ryan
Opening Comments:
“I would like to congratulate Nigeria on a great tournament and three very strong performances. I thought they played against every team with tremendous heart and passion and skill and great ability to play the game of football.

“I am also very proud of my players because this is a very difficult group. Tonight’s games allow us to go first in our group, which was an important goal for our team. To go through without a loss in this group, I’m very, very happy that we’ve reached this stage.

“I also want to give great credit to my young players who are in their first World Cup. Heather O’Reilly, Lindsay Tarpley, Carli Lloyd, Lori Chalupny – who had a fantastic game tonight, Stephanie Lopez, Hope Solo, all players that are experiencing their first World Cup and as you can see there is tremendous pressure, difficulties with the weather. Hope Solo, our goalkeeper, who I thought had another very strong performance tonight, made some important saves at the end of the game. I’ve very proud of this group because even though everything is not the way you want it or smooth, they are playing with tremendous commitment and unafraid to go after games and try and win for the U.S.

“I am proud of Abby Wambach who is leading this team and dominating the game in the striker position. The Nigerians defended her very well tonight, but I think she is still helping us dominate games with her play in the front line.”

On the quarterfinal matchup:
“We know that England is a very strong team. We played them in January in the Four Nations Tournament and it was a very good game. They’ve come a long, long way. It’s not surprising that England is in the second round. I expected them to make it out of their group, and I think their performance against Germany showed how strong they are. I think there was only one chance in the game between the two teams.”

On the conditions:
“One of the great things about football is that it’s played in all sorts of weather. You have to adjust and adapt to the conditions. I think that we could have played better possession tonight. I feel like we gave the ball away too easily. We played passes too strong in the wet conditions and too far in front of players in the first half. I thought that in the second half maybe we settled down and played a little bit better. But the field conditions were difficult for both teams, and again I am very impressed with the skillful play of the Nigerians, their ability to settle the ball and play attractive soccer.”

On the team’s chances to win the tournament:
“I think what you see in the U.S. team is that we have all the talent that we need to go to the final stages of this tournament. Our team defending, as a group, makes it very difficult to beat us. Even when we are not playing our best football, I think we will be able to take that into the next round and the round after and I do believe that this team has the ability to advance to the final and win this World Cup.”

On Lori Chalupny:
“Lori Chalupny is a fantastic midfielder and first and foremost, her work rate both directions, defending and attacking. She went from 18 to 18 tonight, scored the goal, and you think ‘how can she keep running,’ but she does and what she does to our midfield and our front line is she runs through our opponents back line, gets in on the other side of it and creates great attacking chances for us. She’s a very good striker of the ball, a good goal scorer. She got the best chance at the end of the game as well. She just really makes our midfielder much more dynamic than we have been in the past.”

U.S. forward Heather O’Reilly
On the result and advancing:
“We got the win. We’re first in the group. We should hold our heads high, but I think it’s mixed feelings right now because we know that we have better soccer in us.”

On her role on the team:
“I try to use my attributes to the best of my ability and do my job the best that I can. One of my obvious qualities is my speed. If there is a ball coming down the wing I’m going to work my butt off to try to get to it and serve it in. Obviously, Abby’s one of the best headers in the world, so, it’s nice to have her as a tag-team partner for that.”

U.S. forward Kristine Lilly
On the team’s chances against England:
“I think that if we play better soccer we have a chance of winning, but both teams are going to be fighting to go on. It’s going to be a great match. I believe in our team and if we do well I think we can move on.”

On facing tough competition:
“To be the best you have to play against the best teams. That’s what it takes to win and we have three games under us now. Now we have to play some better soccer to continue our quest to win the World Cup.”

U.S. defender Cat Whitehill
On Nigeria pushing forward:
"Nigeria's athleticism is equal to none and we prepared for it. We knew they would be coming out and pushing forward as they had a chance to advance. We have to give credit to them, they had a lot of opportunities to score and I'm just glad that we won 1-0."

U.S. Goalkeeper Hope Solo
On England, the USA's quarterfinal opponent:
“England is one of my most favorite teams to watch. I think they are classy on the ball, and they know how to break down a team by knowing when to go forward, when to go back. They are just organized team, it's just fun to watch.”

On England's Kelly Smith:
“I played with Kelly Smith in Philadelphia (during the WUSA), so I know a lot of her tricks. She is one of my favorite players to watch, one of the classiest players I've ever played with and I have the utmost respect for her.”

On staying focused during the match:
“I think every single person's role on this team is important. We went up 1-0 early in the game and I didn't get much action until later in the game, but I knew it was going to come, it was only a matter of time. That's the life of a goalkeeper. You would think that it's easy to get unfocused when you don't touch the ball for so long, but my job is to stay focused for 90 minutes, which I did, and it came in handy during the final five minutes of the game.”

On the USA's backs:
“Our back four has been under so much pressure these last three games that I'm surprised they're not putting their feet up after the games with ice bags all over their legs. They're running so much out there, so I'm incredibly proud how our defenders are playing. They're tough, tenacious, they're going in for slide tackles, they're going after headers, they're getting banged up but they're still out there for 90 minutes.”


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