U.S. Women's National Team Will Open 2000 Down Under; USA to Compete in Australia Cup from January 7-13
The USA will play its first two matches in Melbourne and the third in Adelaide as the U.S. team takes its first steps in becoming acclimated to the conditions, fields and environments they will encounter next September when they defend the Olympic title won in Athens, Ga. in 1996. The U.S. team will depart for Australia on Jan. 2.
The USA is scheduled to play all three of its Olympic first-round matches in Melbourne at the Cricket Ground, but will play its Australia Cup matches at two different stadiums, Olympic Park and Bob Jane Stadium. While there are Olympic matches scheduled for Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide, the site of the USA-Australia tournament finale, the Americans are not scheduled to play in Adelaide during the Olympics. Should the USA qualify for the knockout round in the Olympics, the semifinals will be played at the Sydney Football Stadium or Bruce Stadium in Canberra. The bronze-medal match and gold medal match will be played at the Sydney Football Stadium.
The meeting with the Czech Republic will be the first-ever meeting between the two countries and is reflective of the continued growth of women's soccer in Eastern Europe. The USA is 9-1-2 all-time against Sweden, but the most recent meeting was a 1-1 draw at the Algarve Cup in Portugal in March of 1999. Sweden is coming off a solid performance at the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup, making the quarterfinals and earning a berth in the 2000 Olympics despite losing 3-1 to Norway in the quarterfinals. The Americans are perfect all-time against the Australians -- nicknamed the Matlidas -- and hold an 11-0-0 record. The most recent meeting was a 4-0 victory for the USA in its the second-to-last match before the Women's World Cup.
The tournament marks the 2nd Annual Australia Cup. The Americans only previous appearance in Australia was in late February and early March of 1997 when they swept the Matildas on a three-game tour. The USA's 18-player roster will be announced later in the month. Following is the complete schedule for the 2000 Australia Cup:
|2nd Annual Australia Cup Schedule|
|Jan. 7||USA vs. Czech Republic||Olympic Park||Melbourne||6:00 p.m./ 2:00 a.m.|
|Jan. 7||Australia vs. Sweden||North Sydney Oval||Sydney||6:00 p.m./ 2:00 a.m.|
|Jan. 10||Sweden vs. USA||Bob Jane Stadium||Melbourne||5:30 p.m. / 1:30 a.m.|
|Jan. 10||Australia vs. Czech Republic||Bob Jane Stadium||Melbourne||7:30 p.m. / 3:30 a.m.|
|Jan. 13||Czech Republic vs. Sweden||Hindmarsh Stadium||Adelaide||5:30 p.m. / 1:30 a.m.|
|Jan. 13||Australia vs. USA||Hindmarsh Stadium||Adelaide||7:30 p.m. / 3:30 a.m.|