US SoccerUS Soccer

U.S. Olympic Women's National Team vs. Germany - Post-Match Quote Sheet

U.S. Olympic Women's National Team vs. Germany
Post-Match Quote Sheet
Heraklio, Greece
Aug. 23, 2004

U.S. head coach April Heinrichs on that match:

"What a pleasure it was to coach in that game.  What a great game it was.  I said after the World Cup loss (to Germany in the semifinal in 2003) that it was the greatest game ever played in women's soccer and I think this one may have surpassed that, and I am not big on making grandiose statements."

Heinrichs on the match:
"Both teams played hard, they played aggressive and attacking soccer.  There was a flair, a team orientation to the way both teams played, so my compliments to the German team.  I really thought we had them knocked out of the game in regulation, but a credit to their mental toughness and belief in themselves to tie it up."

Heinrichs on the tactics of the game:
"We talked about systems and we felt we could confidently play a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3.  That's always a confidence booster knowing that you could go into a game playing any system, but the key is for us to play our style of soccer…Starting in a 4-4-2 helped us get a rhythm and a confidence about ourselves.  It was very important for us to start well today."

Heinrichs on the last four teams, the USA, Germany, Brazil and Sweden:
"I truly believe the Final Four is representative of the best four teams in the world today.  All four of these teams have taken it to another level."

Forward Mia Hamm on Kristine Lilly, who scored her third goal in as many games:
"She was unbelievable today. She was all over the place, fighting and winning balls, getting into the attack and she scored a classic."

Hamm on the team and O'Reilly:
"I am so proud of this team right now. We never gave up. At the end, they made a great run and got a deflection, which is hard for Bri (Scurry) to save…We knew we had 30 more minutes to try to get one back and Heather O'Reilly put it away.  She had a chance early and hit it off the post, but she didn't get down on herself."

Hamm on the USA's defense:
"Our defense was awesome tonight.  (Shannon) Boxx was winning balls and Abby (Wambach) just painted the field with her heart.  I'm just so proud, you can't say enough about this team."

Hamm on the leadership on the team:
"I think the leadership was tremendous.  Julie Foudy, as soon as we came off (at the end of regulation), she's on crutches, but she is looking everyone in the eye and saying we are not losing this thing, and that we had to believe that.  She said we had 30 more minutes to prove that we deserve to be in the Final.  And it inspired everyone."

Hamm on if the emotional game gives the USA a boost for the gold medal game:
"Anytime you compete against the best in the world, you have to find confidence in it, but at the same time, this team has always respected whoever we play and we know when we step on the field that we will get our opponent's best and we expect nothing less.  Now, we have to concentrate on getting our bodies back, because we expended a lot of not only physical energy, but also emotional energy.  We need to enjoy this with our families, but we have a stern test in three days for what we are all dreaming about."

Hamm on the contribution of the bench:
"The players that were on the bench made just as much of an impact (as the players on the field).  (Germany) ties the game and we came off the field and not one of their faces looked like we were beaten.  They just were positive and telling us that we had to believe that in the next 30 minutes that we were going to play that we could get this done.  And that's a huge lift, when you are emotionally exhausted, and a bit deflated after you have just played so hard to have that goal come when it did, they were tremendously positive. We always talk about it being a team victory and it certainly was tonight."

Hamm on O'Reilly:
"Heather just wants to help us win.  She just wants to make a difference.  She's had experiences with the youth national team in big events.  She played in the U-19 World Cup and scored goals for them. She had an unbelievable freshman campaign at UNC and having that leadership role with those teams has hardened her.  It's not easy when you have an opportunity to win the game for your team and you work so hard and you get in and hit the post.  But she came right back and that's not an easy ball to finish.  There were a lot of people in the middle that six yard box and she put it in a great spot."

Forward Heather O'Reilly on hitting the post in overtime:
"I was at an angle where I thought I needed to use my left foot, and it just nicked the post.  Once that happened, I was pretty upset about it.  But I know I had to forget about things like that and keep playing, so that's what I did."

O'Reilly on if it took one or two minutes to forget her shot off the post:
"Less than that.  In this kind of game, 30 seconds can be a matter of a win or a loss.  You take a breath and let it go and that's it."

O'Reilly on the winning goal:
"It was just really hard work from Mia.  It's amazing that these women played 120 minutes.  My respect for them just went up another notch.  She worked hard to get to the end line and I just had to make that near post run for her to slide it in and I just had to get something on it and slip it home."

O'Reilly on her emotions after the game:
"I am really feeling good right now, but I am just one piece to the puzzle.  I did my role today, coming off the bench and providing fresh legs and a spark, which is what I tried to do the whole tournament, and lucky for me it worked out today."

Forward Abby Wambach on the game and looking forward:
"I am a bit overwhelmed at how it was won.  I believed that we could win this game, the whole team did.  When we get into a situation when you are in overtime, I think most things get thrown out the window…it's just about heart. It's about pushing through those last few minutes.  It's a gut check and I think our team showed really well today.  It gives us a sense of confidence going into the gold medal game.  We have one more game in line and that's our goal, we're not at all finished with this tournament."

U.S. captain Julie Foudy about having to watch the second half of the game from the bench after injuring her ankle:

"I was a wreck.  I wanted to vomit. When you are off the field, you don't have the control, so I just kept screaming.  I knew we were going to get tested in this tournament, that there would be moments when things didn't go your way, but you never stop believing."

Midfielder Kristine Lilly on the match:

"We didn't look at this game at all as redemption (for the Women's World Cup loss in 2003).  We looked at it as a semifinal game.  To play a team like Germany, who is obviously the defending world champions, it's a great opportunity.  For people that watched this game, it was a great soccer game.  Neither team gave up, they scored three minutes left in extra time, then Heather hits the post and then scores for us, and the whole time, our team believed to the very end, even when our legs were dying, that we would win the game."

Lilly on what she said to O'Reilly, a UNC sophomore:
"I told Heather she would be the big girl on campus when she gets back to college."

Defender Brandi Chastain on the match:
"Germany gave us a great game from the first whistle to the final whistle.  It wasn't about proving that we were good enough, it was about showing the world what kind of soccer we can play and I think we did that tonight.  We played well, but we can definitely get better for the final."