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U.S. Women Face Sweden For Spot In Algarve Final

U.S. Women’s National Team
2010 Algarve Cup Notes
The Algarve, Portugal
Sunday, Feb. 28

U.S. WOMEN FACE SWEDEN FOR SPOT IN ALGARVE FINAL: Last year, the U.S. and Sweden met in the Algarve Cup championship game. This year, they will meet to see who gets there. The USA heads into the match against the Swedes on March 1 in Ferreiras (10 a.m. ET live on’s MatchTracker) needing a tie or a win to make the title game which will be played on March 3 at Stadium Algarve. The USA has won both its games so far in the tournament and has six points while Sweden has four points from a win and a tie and has to defeat the USA to earn a ticket to the final. The USA has been training at the stadium in Ferreiras, so it knows the pitch quite well, but it also knows it’s a bit small and not in the best of condition due to the Algarve weather, which should make for a combative match. Both the USA and Sweden had big wins on the second match day of the tournament. The USA scored a 92nd minute game-winner to defeat Norway, 2-1, and Sweden rallied from a 1-0 halftime deficit to score five goals in the second half in defeating Iceland, 5-1. In five of the last seven Algarve Cups, the USA has headed into the last group game needing a win or a tie to make the championship game. Those five games produced four wins and a tie. For complete Algarve Cup results and standings, as well as links to other U.S. content, click on the Algarve Cup competition page. (LINK)

U.S. WNT 2010 Algarve Cup Schedule

Date Opponent  Result/Time (ET)  Goalscorers  Venue 
Feb. 24 Iceland  2-0 W  Own goal, Cheney  VR de SA 
Feb. 26 Norway 2-1 W Wambach (2) Olhao
March 1 Sweden 10 a.m.   Ferreiras
March 3 Placement Match TBD   TBD

Group B
Team W  L  T GF GA  GD  Pts. 
USA  2  0  0  4  1  +3  6 
SWE 1 0 1 7 3 +4 4
NOR 0 1 1 3 4 -1 1
ISL 0 2 1 1 7 -6 0

Feb. 24
USA 2, Iceland 0
Sweden 2, Norway 2

Feb. 26
USA 2, Norway 1
Sweden 5, Iceland 1

March 1
USA vs. Sweden
Norway vs. Iceland

GROUP A RECAP: It looks like Germany is the best team in Group A. The Germans rolled against Finland with a 7-0 win, tying the USA and Sweden for the largest ever margin of victory in 17-year history of the Algarve Cup, and now need just a tie against China on March 1 to earn a place in their third Algarve Cup Final. China gave itself an outside shot of making the championship game by downing Denmark 2-0 on a brace from Xu Yuan, but asking for a victory against the Germans is a tall order. Germany got three goals from striker Inka Grings, giving her a tournament-leading five goals, and also got two scores from 18-year-old Alexandra Popp, who will play for Germany when they host this summer’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Nadine Kessler and Marina Muller added the other two goals.

GROUP C RECAP: Host Portugal tied Romania 0-0 and is now in danger of not winning the group. In its final Group C match, Romania will play the Faroe Islands, 5-0 losers to Portugal and 3-0 losers to Austria, while Portugal has to face the Austrians. Both Portugal and Romania have four points from a win and a tie, but the Portuguese do have a better goal difference. If both teams win, Romania would have to make up three goals on Portugal to win the group.

Current FIFA World Ranking: 4
All-Time Algarve Cup Results: 34-15-16
Overall Record vs. USA: 3-16-6
Sweden record vs. the USA at Algarve Cup: 2-4-4
Last Meeting vs. USA: March 11, 2009 (a 1-1 tie in regulation, won 4-3 on penalties by Sweden)
Coach: Thomas Dennerby
Algarve Cup Finals: 4 (1995, 1996, 2001, 2009) Sweden won the Algarve Cup in 1995, 2001 and 2009. Sweden has finished third five times.
Key Players: D Stina Segerström, M Caroline Seger, M Therese Sjögran, M Lisa Dahlkvist, M Nilla Fischer, F Lotta Schelin, F Jessica Landstrom, F Kosovare Asllani

USA vs. Sweden Fast Facts: These two teams 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 has many of the same players back from the Algarve Cup squad a year ago, while the USA has just eight of the 18 that were on the roster … Three of the last five meetings have been one-goal wins for the USA, plus the 2-0 victory in group play at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup … The other game was the 1-1 tie last year in the Algarve Cup Final … The meeting before that was Sweden’s 3-1 victory at the 2004 Algarve Cup … In fact, Sweden is the last team to beat the USA at the Algarve Cup … Since then, the USA has gone unbeaten in regulation time in 23 straight Algarve Cup matches (two them ended in penalty kick losses in the final) … The USA has one player who has played club soccer in Sweden in goalkeeper Hope Solo who for played for Kopparbergs/Göteborg … Sweden has three players who will play in the WPS next season: Jessica Landstrom for Sky Blue FC, Caroline Seger for the Philadelphia Independence and Kosovare Asllani for the Chicago Red Stars … All are talented attacking players … Five players have scored Sweden’s seven goals this tournament, two each from Lisa Dahlkvist and Linnea Liljegard and one each from Linda Sembrant, Landstrom and Asllani … Three players have scored the USA’s four goals, two for Abby Wambach, one for Lauren Cheney and one for an Iceland defender … Sweden features one of the world’s best wingers/forwards in Lotta Schelin, who plays her club ball in France with Olympique Lyonnais … Schelin is a 5-feet-10-inch glider who is remarkably dangerous running at defenses and, when paired with 5-feet-11-inch Landstrom, forms a devastating and very tall forward line … The reward for making the championship game is a match at the 30,000-seat Stadium Algarve, which features a perfectly manicured pitched, great width and length and a fully enclosed and roofed venue to keep out those famous Algarve winds … Sweden has won all three of its 2011 Women’s World Cup qualifiers so far, defeating Belgium 2-1, Azerbaijan 3-0 and Belgium again 4-1 … Landstrom has scored three goals during those qualifiers, Seger has four and Asllani has one, meaning eight of the nine goals in Sweden’s WWCQ campaign so far have been scored by players headed to WPS … Sweden should win the group handily, which also features Wales and Czech Republic, to earn a spot in the UEFA WWC qualifying playoffs.

2010 U.S. Algarve Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): 18-Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride), 24-Jill Loyden (Chicago Red Stars), 1-Hope Solo (St. Louis Athletica)
DEFENDERS (6): 26-Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride), 14-Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), 6-Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), 2-Heather Mitts (Philadelphia Independence), 17-Meghan Schnur (Sky Blue FC), 4-Cat Whitehill (Washington Freedom)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 12-Yael Averbuch (Sky Blue FC), 7-Shannon Boxx (St. Louis Athletica), 5-Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), 10-Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), 9-Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC), 13-Megan Rapinoe (Chicago Red Stars)
FORWARDS (4): 11-Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers), 15-Casey Nogueira (Chicago Red Stars), 8-Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), 20-Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)

2010 Sweden Algarve Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Hedvid Lindahl (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC), 12-Kristin Hammarstrøm (Linköpings FC) DEFENDERS (7): 2-Charlotte Rohlin (Linköpings FC), 3-Stina Segerström (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC), 4-Anna Paulson (UmeÅ IK), 6-Sara Thunebro (FFA Frankfurt, GER), 7-Sara Larsson (Philadelphia Independence, USA), 13-Linda Sembrandt (AIK), 20-Lina Nilsson (LdB FC Malmo)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 5-Caroline Seger (Philadelphia Independence, USA), 14-Louise Fors (R.C.D. Espnayol, ESP), 15-Therese Sjögran (LdB FC Malmo), 16-Petra Larsson (Linköpings FC), 17-Lisa Dahlkvist (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC), 18-Nilla Fischer (LdB FC Malmo)
FORWARDS (5): 8-Lotta Schelin (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA), 9-Jessica Landstrom (Linköpings FC), 10-Kosovare Asllani (Chicago Red Stars, USA), 11-Linnea Liljegard (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC), 19-Sara Linden (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC).

FOE TO FRIEND: U.S. Women’s National Team assistant coach Hege Riise was one of the greatest players of her generation. A sublime passer and phenomenal goal scorer from the midfield, she gave the USA fits for many years, but now she is giving her knowledge and experience to the U.S. team.

SCHNUR CHECKS IN: Meghan Schnur checks in from the Algarve with an e-postcard. She talks about her first cap and why you want to room with Shannon Boxx when you’re on the road with the WNT.

BLOGARVE: If you haven’t been keeping up with the WNT Blog, with two days between Algarve Cup games, now is a good time to catch up. You can find out which Winter Olympic sport some of the WNT players would have liked to have done, why Lauren Cheney might get a red card from Lori Lindsey and see some good pictures from the past two matches.

Stat of Note
Two of the top scorers in Algarve Cup history are Swedish, but Hanna Ljungberg (15 goals) and Victoria Svensson (14) are retired from international play. Abby Wambach (14) needs one more goal to tie Ljungberg on the all-time Algarve Cup scorers list. In a testament to how long this tournament has been going on, nine of the top 14 scorers in this tournament all-time are retired.