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U-17 WNT vs. Korea DPR: Post-Game Quote Sheet


U.S. U-17 WNT vs. Korea DPR
2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup – Group B
Bayil Stadium; Baku, Azerbaijan
Sept. 29, 2012


U.S. head coach ALBERTIN MONTOYA
On the match:
“I thought it was a well-played game from both sides. It was probably our best game in the tournament so far, but that’s football. We played with a lot of heart and passion. We went forward and created chances and so did North Korea. I think a 1-1 game was the score it probably should have been. Our team executed and I’m very proud of the way they played. It’s unfortunate to get five points in the group stage and you don’t go through, but this was the Group of Death and we didn’t come out on top. But credit to our team for playing the way they did today.”

On defending a talented North Korea team:

“Those are special players and it’s difficult to defend them for 90 minutes, but I thought our players did a great job for the most part. We limited their chances inside the 18-year box, especially in the second half. Several of their chances came from outside the box and we felt comfortable with them hitting shots from outside as we have one of the top goalkeepers in the world.”

On executing the game plan vs. North Korea:
“They have a very dangerous team. Their four in the midfield can get forward, especially the outside mids, but overall our team did very well with their assignments today and we held an excellent team to just that very good opportunity that they put away. I think we limited their chances in the second half even more so than we did in the first half. I think we did a great job with the game plan, we just didn’t put the ball away when we had our opportunities.”

On if this experience will help his players moving forward:
“I definitely think this will help their game in the future. You learn a lot from an event like this. You can’t take games for granted. Early in the tournament we didn’t play our best football, but going into their next World Cup – and I think that some of these players will have the opportunity to play in the U-20s and maybe one day the senior team – that right from start you have to go out there and get the points that you need. They care about this game and they wanted to make a difference, and when you have experiences like this that really touches your heart and hurts, they will remember this. They will never want to go through an experience like this again, so it makes them fight a bit more next time and that could be the difference between a 1-1 game and a 2-1 game.”

On if he ever thought the team would not advance out of the group:
“Did we expect for this to happen? No. Coming into the World Cup, our mentality was to win a world championship. The USA has never won a world championship in this age group and we wanted to be the first to do so. We played France, another excellent team, in the first game and we didn’t necessarily play our best game, but we got a point out of it. We got three points in our second game and today against Korea we played one of the best teams in the tournament strong and the game could have gone either way…So obviously the players are disappointed because we all know deep in our hearts that we could have done something special, but this is the reality and now we move forward and they’ve got a bright futures ahead of them.”

On if the team felt the pressure after the USA won Olympic and U-20 Women’s World Cup titles:
“I don’t think they were feeling the pressure. It’s not something that they were thinking about and we never spoke about it at all. As a coaching staff, our goal was to come in and play the best football that we could and take it one game at a time. If they felt pressure, they didn’t show it and we got better as the games went on. The reality is that there was a little pressure on us as coaching staff, but I think we did a good job in relaxing our girls and coming out here and playing our best.”

On if he changed tactics when he found out that the USA needed to win to advance:
“It was toward the later stages of our game (that France got the goals it needed) and we let the players know. We also switched our triangle in the midfield because we started with two holding and we went with two attacking, trying to throw a few numbers up. At the same time, you have to be a little careful because Korea is a very dangerous and we didn’t want to get caught in the counter, but we did send some more numbers forward knowing that we needed a goal. The players did their best, but their legs were a little heavy as the game went on. Both teams were exhausted at the end of the game and put everything they had into it. We changed our tactics to try to get a goal, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.”

On if it’s fair that goal difference is the first tie-breaker:
“In the history of the World Cups, it’s always been goal difference and it rewards teams that go forward and score goals and that’s something that’s good for the game. France was able to do that and score 10 goals and it’s fair. I’d like to see teams being attack-minded and taking their chances going forward. It makes it a more entertaining game for the fans. Perhaps today, I don’t think (goal difference should be used), but overall it should be.”

On if North Korea or France can win this tournament:
“This is a very talented age group for this World Cup. Yes, one of those two teams can win it. No disrespect to any teams, you have some great teams in this tournament, but North Korea and France do have a very good shot at winning the championship.”

On the year and a half journey with this team:
“The journey has been amazing. It’s a wonderful group of girls. I told them after the game that I was so proud to be a part of it. I’ve learned a lot from them and they deserved a much more than going out in the first round. This has been a special team from the start and we played some good football against a quality side, against a team that could possibly win the championship. Our girls executed the game plan and we were unfortunate not to score another goal and that’s the difference.”

On lessons learned:
“Some of the lessons learned will serve them very well moving forward because all of these players have bright futures ahead of them with national teams and college teams. In the World Cup, you have to get your points right from the start. The team improved as the tournament went on and today they showed what they were capable of and that makes me very proud. It really is a delightful group, it’s a family, and I feel bad for them because they deserved better.”

U.S. midfielder and captain MORGAN ANDREWS
On what she said to the team in the locker room after the game:
“We cried a lot and then I stood up and I just told them that I loved them and I was proud of them. I said that I’ve got 20 new sisters and I’ll never forget them and we’ll never forget each other and we’ll always be family. We’ll always be there for each other for the rest of our lives. We’ve affected each other in such a way that we will never forget our journey. This is not the end for these players. We’ll keep carrying on.”

On the whole team pushing for the winning goal:
“We never gave up. We had confidence that we could score right up until the final whistle. We weren’t going to quit. We never let each other down. I feel that every single person, whether they were on the bench, whether they came in or whether they started, they were doing everything they could for the team.”

On if the team felt pressure to win after the Olympic gold medal and the U-20 Women’s World Cup title:
“We didn’t feel any pressure because we know we have our support systems at home. We have our families, our friends and each other. It was about working for those people and ourselves and focusing on what is in inside bubble of this team. We did our best.”

On if North Korea or France could win the tournament:
“They are great teams. It was an honor to play two great sides and I think they both can go far in the tournament.”

On lessons learned:
“We know that we have to win every single game if you want to definitely move on. It’s a lesson learned and hopefully we’ll all get a chance to make difference in the next World Cup.”

On the journey for these players together:
“We started out together at U-14 camp and we’ve stayed together the whole time. That last year has been such a journey, but it all came so quick. We grew closer as friends and a family and I’m proud of every single one of our teammates. We’ll always be teammates.”

U.S. goalkeeper JANE CAMPBELL
On the match:
“We definitely scored early in the first half and that was big-time for us. That was our goal going into the game, but they responded really quickly and got a goal right back. We had a game plan to get the ball forward to Darian (Jenkins) and Summer (Green) and I think we executed that very well. We hit the crossbar in the last five minutes and I definitely think we had our chances, but we tied and that happens.”

On the effort the team showed in the tournament:
“It was an incredible effort. We all played with heart. Even though we didn’t get the result, we are all proud of each other. Like coach said, we don’t want to leave with any regrets and I think we are leaving with no regrets. Even though we didn’t win, we played some really god soccer today and we’re happy with that.”

On not losing and still going home:
“We were undefeated in this tournament and didn’t go through. We got five points and still didn’t go through, but that’s just the way it is. We definitely wanted it, we played with a lot of heart in this last game, but one minute of any game can make a difference, and I think that’s what we need to take away. One play can make a difference between going through and not going through.”

On the journey with this group of players:
“This group of girls is the closest team you could possibly imagine. We’ve been through everything together, the ups and the downs. We’ve definitely there for each other and this is one stepping stone in our journey together. We’ll see each other soon and at club events and we can’t wait to get this journey moving again.”
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