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U.S. Women Prepare for Denmark at 2004 Algarve Cup

The U.S. Women's National Team entered Day Two of its four-games-in-seven-days schedule at the 2004 Algarve Cup with a high-spirited training which proved the old adage that “training will be loose and fun on the day after you beat one of the world's Top-10 teams by a 5-1 score.” The USA's practice this morning featured some functional training with the midfielders and forwards split from the defenders, and a final “team trains the goalkeepers” drill, which always features excitement, big time goals and spectacular saves as soccer balls are constantly flying through, and off, bodies in the penalty area. Coming off the big win over Les Bleues, the U.S. will take on Denmark in its second Group A match tomorrow (Tuesday, March 16) at 1:45 p.m. local / 8:45 a.m. ET. Fans can follow the action on's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics as the USA meets Denmark in Quarteira, in the first meeting between the two teams since the 2002 Algarve Cup.

The USA's last game against Denmark was at the 2002 Algarve Cup when a 1-1 tie with Sweden and a 3-2 loss to Norway in group play relegated the Americans to the match for fifth place. The USA defeated Denmark, 3-2, as Shannon MacMillan registered the only hat trick in U.S. history to came in a one-goal victory. While Denmark has long been the little sister to Sweden and Norway in European women's soccer, the Danes put up a fight against Sweden in their opening game of the Algarve Cup, falling 1-0 after missing a penalty kick in the 55th minute that would have tied the game. The USA is 9-3-1 all-time against Denmark, but has not lost to the Danes since a 2-0 setback at the 1995 Algarve Cup. Danish coach Poul Hojmose has told European reporters that he feels this is one of Denmark's strongest teams in recent history, and the size and athleticism of his side bears that out. Denmark features several players topping out at almost 6-feet tall and has talented forwards in the pit-bull like Lene Jensen and lanky Janni Lund Johansen, who had her penalty saved by Swedish goalkeeper Sofia Lundgren on Sunday. Danish captain Katrine Pedersen leads a hard-working defense in front of 25-year-old goalkeeper Tine Cederkvist, who had a wonderful match vs. Sweden. Denmark also features former WUSA player Anne Nielsen. Denmark is currently embroiled in qualifying for the 2005 European Women's Championships and off to a good start in Group 2, defeating Holland (3-0) and Belgium (6-1) while drawing Norway (1-1) in Norway on an 88th minute equalizer by Jensen. Denmark’s six goals against Belgium came from double hat tricks by Nielsen and Lund Johansen. Denmark sits in second place in the group, five points behind the Norwegians but with two games in hand. Denmark's roster is made up of players from just five domestic clubs (including seven from Brondby IF), and three play abroad - two in Norway and one for European power FFC Frankfurt in Germany. Denmark will be hard-pressed to keep up with the USA's speed, but may have the size to battle with the USA's twin towers of 5-foot-11 Abby Wambach and Cindy Parlow. This will be the fourth meeting between the USA and Denmark at the Algarve Cup, with the USA's two wins coming by just one goal each time. While all teams are highly motivated when facing the United States, Denmark knows that another loss in group play will eliminate them from championship contention. The USA and Denmark play the first match of the day in Group A while Sweden and France square off in the second game.

GOALKEEPERS (2): Briana Scurry, Siri Mullinix; DEFENDERS (7): Kylie Bivens, Brandi Chastain, Kate Markgraf, Heather Mitts, Amy LePeilbet, Christie Rampone, Cat Reddick; MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx, Lori Chalupny, Julie Foudy, Angela Hucles, Leslie Osborne, Lindsay Tarpley, Aly Wagner; FORWARDS (4): Mia Hamm, Shannon MacMillan, Cindy Parlow, Abby Wambach.

GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Tine Cederkvist (Brondby IF), 16-Lilli Nielsen (Vejle B.);
DEFENDERS (7): 2-Bettina Falk (Brondby IF), 3-Katrine Pedersen (Floya-NOR), 4-Gitte Andersen (Brondby IF), 8-Mariann Knudsen (Fortuna Hjorring), 13-Britt Nielsen (Skovbakken IK), 15-Mary Christensen (Fortuna Hjorring), 19-Charlotte Frisesdahl (Vejle B.); MIDFIELDERS (7): 5-Cathrine Sorensen (Brondby IF), 6-Louise Hansen (FFC Frankfurt-GER), 7-Julie Bukh (Brondby IF), 10-Anne Nielsen (Skovbakken IK), 12-Signe Andersen (Skovlunde IK), 17-Dorte Jensen (Asker-NOR), 18-Pernille Munch (Brondby IF); FORWARDS (4): 9-Janni Lund Johansen (Brondby IF), 11-Lene Jensen (Skovbakken IK), 14-Marie Herping, 20-Jane Madsen (Fortuna Hjorring).

Since the expansion from eight to 12 teams three years ago, the Algarve Cup format has been as follows. The teams in Group A and B will compete for the title as the group winners will play in the championship game on Saturday, March 20. The two second-place group finishers in Groups A and B will play for third place while the third-place finishers will play for fifth. The Group C teams will be competing for a chance to play for spots 7-12 as the winner of Group C will play the fourth place team in Group A, the second place team in Group C will play the fourth place team in Group B and the third and fourth place finishers in Group C will play each other again. For the first time, the final matches in Group A and B will be played concurrently at different sites.

The USA has scored 69 goals in its Algarve Cup history while compiling a record of 19-8-5 all-time. The USA has lost just 48 games in its history, meaning 16 percent of those losses have come at the Algarve Cup. The players on the 2004 Algarve Cup roster have accounted for 41 of the 69 goals, led by Shannon MacMillan's 11 scores in the tournament, bolstered by her seven-goal outburst at the 2002 Algarve Cup. Mia Hamm is next with nine Algarve Cup goals, including her penalty kick against France to open the tournament. Hamm is followed by Cindy Parlow (5), Brandi Chastain (5), Julie Foudy (4), Aly Wagner (2) and Angela Hucles (2), while Cat Reddick, Abby Wambach and Lindsay Tarpley have one Algarve goal apiece. Two players not on the U.S. roster for this tournament have also lit it up in Portugal as Kristine Lilly has scored seven times and Tiffeny Milbrett six. Following are the overall 2004 Algarve Cup goal scorers after one match day:

Player (Country) Goals
Angela Hucles (USA) 2
Abby Wambach (USA) 1
Mia Hamm (USA) 1
Lindsay Tarpley (USA) 1
Salina Olsson (SWE) 1
Sonia Bompastor (FRA) 1
Unni Lehn (NOR) 1
Hege Risse (NOR) 1
Solveig Gulbrandsen (NOR) 1
Jessica Julin (FIN) 1
Ilaria Pasqui (ITA) 1
Anastasia Papadopoulou (GRE) 1
Carla Couto (POR) 1
Monica (POR) 1
Own Goal 1

The Algarve region of Portugal is not a place you would expect to find what might be the world's largest vending machine. Nevertheless, the glass-enclosed behemoth where one can purchase 2-liter bottles of soda, boxes of cereal, soap and microwaveable burritos is just a short walk down the hill from the team hotel. Basically a small 7-11, ordering something from the menu is almost like watching some sort of a strange carnival game as the ordered items roll toward the opening. The convenience store/vending machine serves the many, many tourists who flock to the Algarve every year, as well as the U.S. players in need of a quick snack.

The U.S. players always love coming to the Algarve Cup in March as the races in all the European domestic leagues are heating up, and the UEFA Champions League matches begin to feature the giants of the continent squaring off against each other. All of the games are available on TV at the hotel, or at the many cafes and pubs that line the main street outside the U.S. hotel. On Saturday, several U.S. players took in the Arsenal-Blackburn match, watched side-by-side on big screens with Fulham and relegation-threatened Leeds on the other TV.

She Said It:
"Goal for United States, number 19, Angeeela Ankles!"
-- The P.A. announcer at the USA vs. France match, either horribly mispronouncing Angela Hucles (Hue-clees) or describing which part of the leg she may have used for her second goal.