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U.S. WNT Prepared for 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Final Against Japan


U.S. WNT vs. Japan
2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final
Frankfurt, Germany
July 17, 2011 

USA FACES JAPAN FOR 2011 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP TITLE: The U.S. Women’s National Team arrived in Frankfurt, Germany, via bus from Dusseldorf on July 14 ahead of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final against first-time finalist Japan. The U.S. Women will kick off their third Women’s World Cup Final, and first since 1999, on Sunday, July 17 at 2 p.m. ET, live on ESPN, ESPN3.com and Galavision. Fans can also follow along on ESPN Radio, ESPNRadio.com, ESPN Mobile TV, ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and Twitter @ussoccer.

FAMILIAR FOE: The U.S. will face Japan for the fourth time in 2011, and for the third time in FIFA Women’s World Cup history, but this time it’s for all the laurels. Japan worked its way to the team’s first FIFA Women’s World Cup championship game appearance by posting a 2-0-1 record in group play with a 2-1 win against New Zealand and a 4-0 win against Mexico. In the quarterfinals, Japan pulled off a massive victory against host and tournament favorite Germany. Japan’s 1-0 win was one of the biggest upsets in recent women’s soccer history. Japan followed up that performance with a dominating 3-1 win against Sweden in the semifinals to book their spot in the Women’s World Cup Final.

U.S. 2011 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP RESULTS
Date           Opponent        Result/Time (ET)       U.S. Goalscorers/TV                  Venue
June 28      Korea DPR       2-0 W                       Cheney, Buehler                       Rudolf-Harbig Stadium; Dresden
July 2         Colombia        3-0 W                       O’Reilly, Rapinoe, Lloyd             Rhein-Neckar-Arena; Sinsheim
July 6         Sweden          1-2 L                         Wambach                                World Cup Stadium Wolfsburg; Wolfsburg
July 10       Brazil              2-2 T (5-3 pks)          Own goal, Wambach                 Rudolf-Harbig Stadium; Dresden
July 13       France            3-1 W                        Cheney, Wambach, Morgan       Borussia Park; Mönchengladbach

JAPAN 2011 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP RESULTS
Date            Opponent             Result           Venue
June 27       New Zealand         2-1 W           FIFA Women’s World Cup Stadium; Bochum
July 14        Mexico                  4-0 W           FIFA Women’s World Cup Stadium; Leverkusen
July 5          England                0-2 L            FIFA Women’s World Cup Stadium; Augsburg
July 9          Germany               1-0 W          Arena Im Allerpark; Wolfsburg
July 13        Sweden                 3-1 W          FIFA Women´s World Cup Stadium; Frankfurt

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (Philadelphia Independence), Jill Loyden (magicJack), Hope Solo (magicJack)
DEFENDERS (7): Rachel Buehler (Boston Breakers), Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), Ali Krieger (out of contract), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Atlanta Beat), Christie Rampone (magicJack), Becky Sauerbrunn (magicJack)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx (magicJack), Tobin Heath (Sky Blue FC), Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), Carli Lloyd (Atlanta Beat), Kelley O’Hara (Boston Breakers), Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (magicJack)
FORWARDS (4): Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Western New York Flash), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Abby Wambach (magicJack)

Link to Detailed Roster

QUICK HITS
U.S. in the World Cup

  • The USA’s win against Brazil in the quarterfinals was the first time in FIFA Women’s World Cup history a team had come back to win after falling behind in overtime. In fact, it is just the fourth instance in World Cup history, with the rare feat accomplished just three times before in the men's tournament.
  • Rachel Buehler will be eligible to play against Japan after sitting out her suspension against France for the red card received against Brazil. It was the third red card issued to the U.S. in six FIFA Women’s World Cups, but just the second of this tournament.
  • The U.S. is the only team to have advanced to the semifinals in every FIFA Women’s World Cup.
  • The 120+2 minute goal from Abby Wambach in the quarterfinals was the latest strike in Women’s World Cup history.
  • Wambach’s goal against France was her 12th in the Women’s World Cup, tying her for third place all-time with Michelle Akers, behind Marta (14) and Birgit Prinz (14).
  • Wambach also tied Michelle Akers with 26 points in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Wambach has three goals and one assist in 2011, and is behind Mia Hamm (28) in the U.S. record books.
  • Hope Solo earned her 100th cap against France.
  • Japan and the U.S. will be meeting at the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the third time, having faced off in the inaugural event in 1991 and in 1995 in Sweden. The U.S. won 3-0 in 1991, and posted a 4-0 win in the 1995 edition of the tournament.
  • Before the three encounters in 2011, the U.S. had last faced Japan in 2008, playing the Asian power twice at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The U.S. came away with a 1-0 win on Aug. 9 in Qinhuangdao, followed by a 4-2 U.S. win on Aug. 18 in the semifinals in Beijing.
  • Ten players on the U.S. Women’s World Cup roster played in the two matches against Japan in the 2008 Olympics: Solo, Christie Rampone, Heather O’Reilly, Heather Mitts, Shannon Boxx, Carli Lloyd, Amy Rodriguez, Rachel Buehler, Tobin Heath and Lauren Cheney.
  • The penalty kick goal for Sweden in the 16th minute of the USA’s Group C final ended Hope Solo’s scoreless streak at 796 minutes, just 47 minutes short of the longest streak in team history, a record that has stood for 20 years. Kim Maslin-Kammerdeiner played 843 minutes without allowing a goal from 1988 to 1991, which were the first 843 minutes of her international career. Solo’s streak is the second longest in team history.
  • The 10 goals credited to the U.S. in the tournament have been scored by seven different players and five of those players – Lauren Cheney, Rachel Buehler, Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan – scored their first Women’s World Cup goals.
  • Eleven players have made their Women’s World Cup debuts in this tournament: Ali Krieger, Amy LePeilbet, Buehler, Cheney, Amy Rodriguez, Alex Morgan, Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, Lori Lindsey, Kelley O’Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn.
  • U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage has used 18 of the 21 players on the roster so far, with only the back-up goalkeepers and defender Heather Mitts yet to see the field.
  • Four players have played every minute so far: Krieger, Christie Rampone, Solo and Wambach.
  • The U.S. has 91 shots during this tournament, getting 37 of them on goal, scoring 11 times with seven different goal scorers.
  • Updated stats, lineups and results are available on the U.S. Women’s National Team page on ussoccer.com.

VIDEOS FROM GERMANY

FROM THE WNT BLOG
A collection of notes, anecdotes and links:

THREE WNT PLAYERS UP FOR GOLDEN BALL: Lauren Cheney, Hope Solo and Abby Wambach have been nominated for the Golden Ball for the most outstanding player at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup. Twelve players have been nominated by the FIFA Technical Study Group and the top three players will be tallied based on voting by the media.

WNT PLAYER PROFILES: ussoccer.com paired up the Women’s World Cup players for some rapid fire questions and banter in creating the WNT Player Profiles series. The videos highlight your favorite WNT players, releasing some fun facts and information you never knew before in the hopes that you can get to better know the players’ personalities. Check the players’ bio pages on ussoccer.com for their WNT Player Profiles.

BEHIND THE CREST: Get an in-depth look at the U.S. WNT with Behind the Crest, a video series that follows the U.S. WNT during the Women’s World Cup in Germany. Behind the Crest will provide fans with insight into what the players and coaches do to prepare for the most important games of their career, providing access that only ussoccer.com can offer. Visit ussoccer.com’s Media Center for all the episodes, and check back on game day for the final episode of the World Cup.

EMPIRE STATE BUILDING SHINES FOR THE WOMEN’S WORLD CUP FINALS: The Empire State Building will shine with USA and Japan colors for the 2011 Women’s World Cup final from Friday, July 15 through Sunday, July 17, 2011. The north/south sides of the building will be lit in red, white and blue for the USA, while its east/west sides will be lit in red and white for Japan. On Monday, July 18, the Empire State Building will celebrate the champion of the 2011 Women’s World Cup by shining its world-famous tower lights in the winning team’s colors.

SEITZ TO OFFICIATE THIRD PLACE GAME: U.S. referee Kari Seitz will officiate the Third Place match at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup on Saturday between Sweden and France in Sinsheim, Germany. Assistant Referees Marlene Duffy and Veronica Perez comprise the other parts of the referee crew, and Seitz will be refereeing her third game of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Prior to the World Cup ussoccer.com caught up with Seitz in Columbus, Ohio to talk about her journey to Germany. (LINK)

QUOTABLE

U.S. Women’s National Team head coach PIA SUNDHAGE

On what Japan is doing against teams like Germany and Sweden to be effective despite the players’ small stature:
“In my opinion, first of all, they have some good players regardless of how tall or short they are and they do it together. Everybody praises them for the way they attack. They keep possession and that’s a pretty good way to defend. But if you study the defending as well, they are very organized and they get numbers behind the ball. That’s the reason they are here. It’s a really good team. With set pieces, they are so much better today than a year ago.”

On whether the fact that the U.S. beat Japan three times earlier in the year means anything ahead of the World Cup final:
“A little bit of confidence and the fact that we are capable of winning against a technical team. Not only that, we bring up the way we played against Japan three times. Now, it’s a tournament. It’s a World Cup final. It means a little bit but we need to bring out the best performance on Sunday in order to win that game. You can’t rely on what happened a couple of months ago unless you look at it in order to gain some confidence and look at it in a positive way and that is what you should do. It is a balance because you can talk about that but at the same time we need to be on top of our game and on our toes. It’s a balance between how good are they and how good are we, defending and attacking.”

On what she does to keep nerves for becoming a factor for the players:
“I would say it’s a lot of coaching behind Alex Morgan coming off the bench, or Megan Rapinoe. It’s easy for all other coaches to say we have a team and the bench is very important. We have said that but also acted on it. You have to fight for your spot. I think a good example is [Lauren] Cheney. She wasn’t in the starting lineup when the [World Cup training camp] started. But the fact that she played and practiced so well so many times in practice, not only for a week, but consistently, we gave her the chance. And when she got the chance, she took it. Of course you prepare Megan Rapinoe to come off the bench. It’s about the team but also look at the specific individual. I have to say that it is different nowadays with the new generation. They are very good. Sometimes you will say that, look at myself, I can do this, I’m good at this. If they also understand what it takes for team spirit and teamwork, they know what they’re good at and they bring that and they have a lot of courage to do that because they’re good. And, with a good team, they have a chance to perform.”

U.S. midfielder CARLI LLOYD

On Japan’s play:
“Japan’s been coming out very strong and physical when they played Germany and Sweden. We want to continue to do that but I think the message is that we want to possess the ball. That’s what Pia is saying. We want to possess it and we want to win playing pretty soccer and I really believe that we can do that.”

On having Abby Wambach as a teammate:
“It’s great. We always joke around with Abby, she can be having a bit of an off day for her and in the 89th minute she scores a goal with her head. She’s fabulous in the air. She is a true competitor, a true champion. She never wants to lose. She’s always a winner.”

U.S. forward HEATHER O’REILLY

On how the U.S. will approach the game against Japan:
“I think Germany was a little too eager on their final passes. I think it takes a lot of courage and bravery to keep the ball in the attacking third, especially against an organized team like Japan, but I think that’s what it’s going to take. It’s going a lot of courage to keep the ball and when we do have to opportunities, to wait for those best ones and not rush that final ball.”

U.S. goalkeeper HOPE SOLO

On how the team is preparing for the game against Japan:
“I think, physically, we’re where we need to be. We don’t need to go out and have long training sessions at this point. We have a couple meetings tonight to go over some footage from the last game against France to see where we weren’t successful in our defensive shape. We do think that France played a lot like we think the Japanese team will in terms of attacking in numbers. So I think that when we break down the footage we’ll be able to use that and help us against Japan.”

On what kind of support the U.S. is expecting from neutral fans considering Japan’s story:
“That’s a great question. I think going into the Brazil game, the local German fans went into the game with their ticket in hand cheering for Brazil. As the game went on, I think that their fan base is so knowledgeable that they realized that the American team was fighting and I think that was inspirational. In that game, it shifted and we kind of gained the Germans’ support. So going into this game, with the Japanese being the sentimental favorite, I have no idea what way the fan base is going to go. 

OPPONENT CAPSULE: Japan
Current FIFA World Ranking: 4
USA All-time record vs. Japan: 22-0-3 (77 GF, 13 GA)
Last Meeting vs. USA: May 18, 2011 (a 2-0 U.S. victory in the Send-Off Series prior to leaving for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup)
Head Coach: Norio Sasaki
Key Players: M Homare Sawa, M Aya Miyama, F Nahomi Kawasumi

Japan Quick Hits:

  • Japan has scored 10 times in five games at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, compared to 13 goals in 16 games during all five previous editions of the tournament.
  • Half of Japan’s goals have been scored in the first 20 minutes of action.
  • Midfielder Homare Sawa is Japan’s leading cap-winner at FIFA Women’s World Cups, with 17 appearances.
  • Sawa is tied with Brazil’s Marta for the Golden Boot, with four goals scored in the team’s five matches.
  • U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage played against Sawa in the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Sawa was 16 years old.
  • Defender Aya Sameshima is the only player on Japan’s team that currently plays in the U.S., plying her trade with the Boston Breakers of Women’s Professional Soccer.
  • Sawa also played in the U.S., with the Washington Freedom in WPS and the Atlanta Beat in the WUSA.
  • Midfielder Aya Miyama was a key part of the Los Angeles Sol team that advanced to the first WPS championship game in 2009 and she played for the St. Louis Athletica in 2010.
  • Japan’s roster features forward Mana Iwabuchi who won the Golden Ball at the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.

JAPAN WOMEN’S WORLD CUP ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (2): 12-Miko Fukumoto (Yunogo Belle), 21-Ayumi Kaihori (INAC Leonessa), 1-Nozomi Yamago (Urawa Reds Ladies)
DEFENDERS (5): 3-Azusa Iwashimizu (NTV Beleza), 4-Saki Kumagai (Urawa Reds Ladies), 15-Aya Sameshima (Boston Breakers), 2-Nozomi Yamago (INAC Leonessa), 5-Kyoko Yano (Urawa Reds Ladies)
MIDFIELDERS (8):
7-Kozue Ando (FCR Duisburg), 14-Megumi Kamionobe (Albirex Niigata Ladies), 9-Nahomi Kawasumi (INAC Leonessa), 8-Aya Miyama (Yunogo Belle), 6-Mizuho Sakaguchi (Albirex Niigata Ladies), 10-Homare Sawa (INAC Leonessa), 16-Asuna Tanaka (INAC Leonessa), 13-Rumi Utsugi (Montpellier)
FORWARDS (5): 20-Mana Iwabuchi (NTV Beleza), 18-Karina Maruyama (JFF United Ichihara Ladies), 17-Yuki Nagasato (FFC Turbine Potsdam), 11-Shinobu Ohno (INAC Leonessa), 19-Megumi Takase (INAC Leonessa)

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