US SoccerUS Soccer

U.S. WNT Prepares for Finland in Second Match of the Four Nations Tournament

U.S. Women’s National Team
Notes from Guangzhou, China
Thursday, January 17, 2008

U.S. WOMEN TO FACE FINLAND IN SECOND MATCH OF FOUR NATIONS TOURNAMENT: Coming off a big win in the first match of 2008, the USA will face Finland in the second match of the 2008 Four Nations Tournament on January 18 at 4:30 p.m. local / 3:30 a.m. ET at the Guangdong Olympic Center Stadium. The match will likely be played in chilly temperatures, which should make the Finns feel right at home, as the win over Canada saw the thermometer dip into the high 40s and that match began three and half hours earlier than the kickoff for USA-Finland. With the big 4-0 win over Canada in the first match, a positive result for the USA against Finland will go a long way towards putting the team in position to win the tournament in final match on Jan. 20 against host China. The match against Finland, the second for head coach Pia Sundhage at the helm of the U.S. team, will also be the second consecutive match in which she has faced a team coached by a neighbor of her native land, Sweden. Canada’s head coach Even Pellerud is from Norway and Finland’s Michael Kald is from Finland. Sundhage gave two players their first-ever caps against Canada and has two other players on the Four Nations roster – Tina DiMartino and Tobin Heath – still looking for their first caps at the senior level. With three tough games in five days, Sundhage has said she will likely give younger players some playing time as she continues to evaluate the player pool heading into the Algarve Cup in March and then CONCACAF Olympic qualifying in April.

2008 Four Nations Tournament Standings
Team    W    L     T   Pts   GF   GA   GD
USA       1     0     0     3      4      0     +4
CHN      1     0     0     3      2      0     +2
FIN        0      1     0     0      0      2     -2
CAN      0      1     0     0      0      4     -4

January 16
USA 4, Canada 0
China 2, Finland 0

January 18
China vs. Canada      2 p.m. local / 1 a.m. ET
USA vs. Finland         4:30 p.m. local / 3:30 a.m. ET

January 20
Canada vs. Finland    1 p.m. local / 12 a.m. ET
USA vs. China             3:30 p.m. local / 2:30 a.m. ET

United States Women’s National Team Roster
2008 Four Nations Tournament

GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), 18-Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.);
DEFENDERS (6): 14-Stephanie Cox (Elk Grove, Calif.), 6-Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), 26-Ali Krieger (Dumfries, Va.), 3-Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), 27-Becky Sauerbrunn (St. Louis, Mo.), 4-Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.);
MIDFIELDERS (7): 7-Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 17-Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), 25-Tina DiMartino (Massapequa Park, N.Y.), 16-Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), 11-Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), 12-Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), 10-Angie Woznuk (El Cajon, Calif.);
FORWARDS (5): 8-Lauren Cheney (Indianapolis, Ind.), 9-Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), 19-Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), 20-Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).

Finland Women’s National Team Roster
2008 Four Nations Tournament

1-Tina-Riika Korpela, 2-Petra Vaelma, 3-Jessica Julin, 4-Sanna Valkonen, 5-Tiina Salmén, 6-Miia Niemi, 7-Essi Sainio, 8-Leena Puranen, 9-Sanna Tolonen, 10-Anna-Kaisa Rantanen, 11-Linda Sällström, 12-Haikka Tinja, 13-Anna Westerlund, 14-Tuija Hyyrynen, 15-Maija Saari, 16-Sanna Malaska, 17-Susanna Lehtinen, 18-Annica Sjölund, 19-Heidi Lindström, 20-Katri Nokso-Koivisto.

U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage

On the second match of the Four Nations against Finland:
“First of all they play a system where they get a lot of players in front of the goal. They are also physical, so it will be a great fight, and because they have a great counter-attack, we have to be disciplined to make sure we don’t give up a goal that way.”

On the younger players:
“It’s a great experience for the young players, to be so far from home and actually participate in a tournament where you get three points or not. Whether you play every game or come off the bench and play 45 minutes, I think it’s a great experience. Going into Olympic qualification, that’s what’s it’s all about. It’s about performing no matter how many minutes you get. You have to be ready all the time.”

On facing a coach from a Nordic country in her first two matches as head coach of the USA:
“It’s a strange happening. But it’s funny that our first game with the Chinese team was against Canada (Sundhage was the assistant for China in 2007), and we won, and my first game for the USA was also against Canada. Now, we play another Nordic coach, which I know very well, so it’s a nice part of soccer to have this kind of experience.”

USA vs. FINLAND: The two teams last met in the USA’s final match before leaving for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a 4-0 win at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The USA got goals from Shannon Boxx (who has scored in every career game she’s played at The HDC), Kristine Lilly, Lindsay Tarpley and Heather O’Reilly. It was the USA’s 12th consecutive win over Finland, a series which also includes a 1-0 victory at the 2007 Algarve Cup. The Finns are using the Four Nations Tournament to get some high-level games in preparation for hosting the 2009 European Women’s Championships, which should feature some of the most important matches in Finland women’s soccer history. Finland came very close to earning a berth to the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, needing was a draw at Denmark on Sept. 27, 2006, in its final Women’s World Cup qualifying match. But in front of a record crowd of almost 10,000 fans in Denmark, the home team prevailed 1-0 to win European Group 3 and earned its berth to China. Finland had its best-ever performance in a continental tournament at the 2005 European Championships, making it to the semifinal after a first round that included a tough 3-2 loss to host England followed by a historic 0-0 tie with Sweden and then a 2-1 win over Denmark. Finland was trounced by Norway, 4-1, in the semifinal, but it remained a tremendous triumph for women’s soccer in Finland to advance that far. Several key players that helped Finland to the semis are gone, but Finland still has a large contingent of veteran talent and a few players who play or played college soccer in the United States, including forward Sanna Talonen, who recently helped Florida State to the NCAA Final Four, and Susanna Lehtinen, who is the all-time leading scorer at Florida Atlantic.

Stat of Note
Of the 12 meetings between the USA and Finland, none have taken place in Finland. This will be the first meeting between the teams that did not take place in Europe or the United States. Five of the meetings have been in Portugal at the Algarve Cup and the other seven in the U.S.

They Said It:

Midfielder Angie Woznuk on her one senior team cap in 2005, when she played nine minutes, and how that’s inspired her since:

“When you play soccer all your life, and you finally get to play for the National Team for the first time, but only get 10 minutes on the field, it just gives you a taste and makes you want more. It also goes to show that you can never take this experience for granted, you never know when your next game will be. Every game you get to play with the National Team is special.”