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U.S. WNT Arrives in Chengdu in Advance of Their First Match of the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup

U.S. Women’s National Team Notes
2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Chengdu, China
Sept. 6, 2007

U.S. TEAM TOUCHES DOWN IN CHENGDU: The U.S. Women’s World Cup Team landed in Chengdu on the afternoon of September 6 to begin final preparations for its opening match, taking place at the Chengdu Sports Center Stadium on Sept. 11 at 5 p.m. local time (5 a.m. ET). The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. The U.S. team traveled from Shanghai, where it spent eight days training, but will now lock in their focus as the beginning of FIFA’s fifth Women’s World Cup is just five days away. While the U.S. team did not train on its travel day, it will practice almost every day in Chengdu leading up to the game, including a session at the stadium on Sunday, September 9. The U.S. players got their first real taste of Women’s World Cup excitement at the Chengdu airport, as they were met by quite a few photographers and cameramen, all in a frenzy to get a glimpse of the world’s top-ranked team. The 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup officially kicks off the day before the U.S. match, on Sept. 10, as defending champion Germany takes on Argentina to get things rolling at the 34,000-seat Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium at 8 p.m. local time (8 a.m. ET) in the only match on that day. FIFA president Sepp Blatter will attend the Germany-Argentina match, and then will travel to Chengdu to watch the USA vs. North Korea game as well as the second half of that doubleheader, featuring Nigeria and Sweden. Blatter will also attend China’s opening game against Denmark in Wuhan on September 12.

OPENING CERMONIES KICKOFF TOURNAMENT IN SHANGHAI: Prior to the Germany-Argentina match, there will be a 30-minute opening ceremony that will include a total of 1,800 people, of which 1,600 will be women. "Visitors will see many soccer balls and roses during the ceremony, which reflects the combination of strength and beauty," said Teng Junjie, organizer of the Opening Ceremony. China’s Women’s National Team is nicknamed “the Steel Roses.”

2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup
USA First-Round Schedule

Date Opponent Venue (City) Kickoff / TV
Sept. 11 North Korea Chengdu (Chengdu Sports Center Stadium) 5 p.m. / 5 a.m. ESPN2 (4:55 a.m. ET)
Sept. 14 Sweden Chengdu (Chengdu Sports Center Stadium) 5 p.m. / 5 a.m. ESPN (4:55 a.m. ET)
Sept. 18 Nigeria Shanghai (Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium) 8 p.m. / 8 a.m.  ESPN (7:55 a.m. ET)

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. 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-OffSeries 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.

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.).

CLUB OF ONE: Add another milestone to her sterling resume. As it turns out, Kristine Lilly is the only player in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup that will be playing in her fifth World Cup tournament. The U.S. captain is one of just four players in China ’07 who were at the 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup when it was first held in China, but she is the only player who played in the next three tournaments as well. Only two men can match Lilly’s record of five World Cups: Mexico’s Antonio Carbajal from 1950 to 1966 and Germany’s Lothar Matthäus from 1982 to 1998. The most capped player in the history of international soccer (331), Lilly has started in every Women’s World Cup game the USA has ever played. Norwegian goalkeeper Bente Nordby, Brazil’s Pretinha and New Zealand’s Wendi Henderson also took part in the 1991 Women’s World Cup, although Nordby did not play in any of her nation’s matches. Pretinha missed the 2003 WWC, while Henderson has helped New Zealand return to the WWC after a 16-year absence.

EXPERIENCE ON THE SIDE: While only nine of the players on the USA’s 21-player roster have played in a Women’s World Cup at the senior level before, an additional five players have played in the Olympics and/or a FIFA youth tournament, meaning only seven have never played in a FIFA championship at any level. Heather O’Reilly and Lindsay Tarpley were members of the 2004 Olympic Team, and along with Leslie Osborne and Lori Chalupny, played on the U.S. team that won the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in 2002. Stephanie Lopez played for the USA at the 2004 FIFA U-19 WWC and the 2006 U-20 FIFA WWC.

I’D LIKE THE BLOG, PLEASE?: The U.S. Women’s National Team is very close to “go time” at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, but it’s not all shots, headers and tackles in China. The American team is a fun group and you can get some insight into the zaniness via the WNT Blog. Want to know who is teaching Hip-Hop classes to the U.S. team? Who is buying the most pearls? And who was the big winner at Bingo? The WNT Blog is the place for you.

LLOYD HAVE MERCY: When the USA opens the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup against North Korea on Sept. 11 in Chengdu (ESPN2 at 4:55 a.m. ET), it could have as many as five players in the starting lineup who have never played in a Women’s World Cup before. One of them could be midfielder Carli Lloyd, who has developed into an impact player this year, scoring seven goals, good for third best on the team. During some down time in China (there is a lot of it), Carli sat down with’s Center Circle and answered 11 questions, ranging from her canon shot, to her thoughts on her World Cup debut match, to the quality of pearls in China.

THE WOMEN’S WORLD CUP – IT’S GLOBAL: The fifth FIFA Women’s World Cup, returning to its birthplace of China, is expected to reach new heights in global TV viewership. More than 200 countries/territories covered by the TV rights holders across all confederations will be able to watch the 2007 Women’s World Cup. This represents not only an increase of 25 percent in terms of transmission to territories compared to 2003, but also significant growth in the number of broadcasters in the various regions with sometimes up to three TV stations in the same country covering the competition live. Only eight years ago, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 1999 was broadcast in 67 countries. By 2003, the TV audience had grown to 144 territories worldwide, covering nearly 3,000 hours of tournament play with a total cumulative TV audience of 526 million viewers worldwide.

OF COURSE, IN THE USA, IT’S ON ESPN: Of those 200 countries/territories, the most important to the U.S. team is the United States of America, where fans can watch all the games live on ESPN or ESPN2. The USA’s 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup opener will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Sept. 11 at 4:55 a.m. ET, with a re-air at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN Classic and at 11 p.m. on ESPN2. For a complete Women’s World Cup TV schedule, click here.

WWC Fun Facts

  • Of the 335 players in the tournament, 223 have appeared in a FIFA Final Competition before and 136 players have appeared in a Women’s World Cup. 120 of the players played in the 2003 WWC and 16 players played in the 1999 WWC.
  • Of the 122 players who have never competed in a FIFA Final Competition, only one is from Brazil.
  • 15 of Brazil’s players have competed in a past FIFA Women’s World Cup, more than any other country. Canada and Ghana have 13 players with WWC experience, while Germany has 12 and China and Japan have 11. The USA has nine.
  • 35 players in the tournament have played more than 100 “A” internationals for their country, seven from Germany and six from both the USA and China.
  • Denmark and Canada are the tallest teams in the tournament with an average of almost 5-foot-8, with Sweden, the USA’s second Group B opponent, just a smidge shorter.
  • The three youngest players in the tournament are all from North Korea and are all under the age of 16 in Yun Hyon Hi (09/09/92), Yun Song Mi (01/28/92) and Ho Un Byol (09/07/92).
  • The oldest players will all be over the age of 36 when the tournament kicks off in New Zealand’s Wendi Henderson (07/16/71) and Americans Kristine Lilly (07/22/71) and Briana Scurry (09/07/71).
  • Argentina and North Korea are the youngest teams, averaging 22 years and five months. Even with all of the USA’s youth, armed with six 30-somethings, the USA is the oldest team in the tournament with an average age of 27 years, four months. Score one for experience? 2006 World Cup champion Italy was one of the oldest teams in Germany.

STUDIO 90: CHINA ‘07 IS COMING: It’s only a matter of days until’s award winning web show (ok, we haven’t won any awards, yet…but we’re waiting for our invite to the webEmmys) hits all_access video. The web version of Studio 90: China ’07 will debut in the coming days with interviews, features and, as always, other fun stuff. Stay tuned.

Stat of Note
About 7,500 people applied to be volunteers for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup and only 630 were accepted. Now that’s a tough screening process for a non-paying position, just another sign of China’s dedication to putting on a world class tournament.