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U.S. Women Speak after Advancing to the FIFA Women's World Cup Final with 3-1 Win Against France


U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach PIA SUNDHAGE
On the match:
"France played very well, but there's something to be said about our players and their heart. There's a reason why these players come off the bench and make a difference because this team is 21 players and I'm very proud of them. At times, we didn't play well today, but we found a way to win. Credit to the players’ heart and that's what makes it so wonderful to coach for this team."

On what the USA needs to win the championship:
"You need a lot of factors. You need to be tactical and you need to bring the American attitude. Right now, I just want to enjoy this moment but we will look back at the games we played and figure out who will be in the starting lineup is in the final. That's one thing - the second part will be who's coming off the bench because that player will probably change the game."

On Megan Rapinoe coming off the bench:
“Megan and other players coming off the bench have made the difference. That’s something that doesn’t just happen but we work on it. In fact, a couple of months ago she was in the starting lineup. Lauren Cheney has played well every single practice and eventually we made the change just before the World Cup. (Her success of the bench) is a little bit of her character, it’s a little bit of her reading the game and a little bit of coaching as well. It’s the same thing with Alex Morgan coming off the bench. There’s a reason why she’s good and part of that is Amy Rodriguez (tiring out the defense with her running). There’s a reason why these players come off the bench and make a difference because this is 21 players and I’m very proud. At times we didn’t play well today, however we found a way to win. Credit to the player’s heart and that’s what makes it so wonderful to coach for this team.”

On the team’s spirit being a factor in the final:
“You need a lot of factors. You need to be tactical. You need to bring the American attitude. You also need to stay as 21 players and win that game. Right now, I just want to enjoy this moment but we will look back at the games we played and figure out who the starting lineup is in the final. That’s one thing. The second part will be who’s coming off the bench because that player will probably change the game.”

U.S. forward ABBY WAMBACH
On feelings after the win against France:
“First of all, I want to thank France, their team and their coach. They are one of the best teams soccer-wise that we have played. They have a fantastic way of attacking, and it is an exciting game to watch. Sonia Bompastor is a friend of mine, and I think she is one of the best left backs in the world. It was a privilege to take the other side of the field against a great French team. However, our team has this ability to fight through adversity. Our team has this ability to stick together when the going gets rough. I couldn’t be more excited, more proud. I know we have a lot of friends and family here. I know we have a lot of friends and family back home that are watching and supporting us. We can’t do it alone. We know a whole nation is cheering us on. We believe in ourselves, and we are in the final. I couldn’t be happier.”

On going into her first Women’s World Cup final:
“In the last 10 minutes getting the go-ahead goal was a relief. Alex Morgan came on and made a difference scoring that third goal and giving us security. When the final whistle blew, the first thought I had was one more game. Yes, it’s a final, but the degree in which we will approach it is the exact same. It’s a game. It’s 90 minutes, hopefully. We want to go out and play good soccer and play the kind of game we know we can play. It doesn’t matter who we play against. We believe that we’ll be the team left standing because we have that belief in each other. It’s not going to be easy and it’s going to be something that we will have to work for. In the end, we will see what happens.”

On scoring many head goals:
“Obviously there is a lot of courage that goes into heading the ball. I have a unique ability to be able to predict the flight of the ball and my teammates also have a unique ability of finding me. There’s two parts to scoring on set pieces like we do with head goals and the very first and most important component is having a good service. Lauren Cheney has been doing fantastic for us on corner kicks. I’m glad to get the chance today because we believe that we were stronger in the area than the French team.”

On her goal against France:
“I looked at Cheney and as she told me in the locker room just now, ‘Your eyes looked like they were bug-eyed because you were looking at me like just serve the ball to me.’ I told her at halftime to put the ball at the back post and we were going to get a goal. That’s all I was thinking. As soon as the ball went up in the air, I was thinking to just get a head on it. I think I was pretty close to the back post, ran into it in fact, and I’m just glad to have gotten that goal. It was a reliever.”

On the this team in her generation:
“That’s something that’s really cool about this team, because you’re seeing it in terms of the generation that is the changeover from that 1999 generation and that 1999 World Cup team. Nothing to take away from them because obviously what they did was special. What they did gave us the opportunities that all of us have here, and even players from different countries, by putting women’s soccer literally on the world stage and the world map. With the success of the Women’s National Team in the United States, we believe that we set a standard for other federations to put money into their programs and you can see that by this semifinal against France. Who knew that France was going to be such a great team? I think some of the 1999 World Cup players probably would say they knew because they were the ones that put in the hard hours. We’re kind of reaping the rewards of the things they’ve done and this generation, this team, we believe in ourselves like the 1999 World Cup team did and that’s the historical thing that goes on with this team. To have the belief in each other, to never quit no matter what goes on in the 90 minutes or 120 or 123 minutes. It doesn’t matter. This generation is cool because we want to make a name for ourselves. We want the next generation to be ours. I talk about Alex Morgan coming on and getting her first World Cup goal. You can mark my words that she will have many World Cup goals. She’s a talented young player to come in and get that third goal is amazing. For me, I like to give everyone else credit because it’s easier that way, it’s more fun that way. It’s a team sport, and that’s why we do this. I love my job and I love the fact that we’re in a World Cup and now we’ve achieved part of our goal. We are in the final and we want to complete it. Like Hope said (earlier in the week), we want our story book ending. We want to keep the momentum from the Brazil game and this game going forward and whoever we face in the final, we want to be world champions.”

U.S. captain CHRISTIE RAMPONE
On the win against France:
“It's a very good win for the team and I'm very proud of all the girls. It was a battle out there, I think we defended the majority of the game but we stood strong, stayed patient, didn't get too rattled and attacked them in that second half.”

On what the team did after France's equalizer:
“After the goal went in we realized we needed to pick it up and bring it up to the next level. It was the semifinals. We brought the team in together and we looked at each other and said "This is it. This is all we have. Put everything into it." The team responded. We've been coming out a little slow in the second half, which we'll have to fix for the final, but it was amazing once again to battle back and get those two goals. Abby's goal was incredible and for Alex to give us that cushion was amazing.”

On her pride at making the FIFA Women's World Cup Final:
“I'm so excited and I'm very proud. We've been working so hard and all the effort has really paid off. Now it's going for the highest trophy we can get and that's the World Cup.”

U.S. forward ALEX MORGAN
On the match against France:
“It was a great battle. We didn't play the prettiest soccer and Pia came in at halftime and wasn't happy with our performance. We knew we had to pick it up. When I got in we had just conceded a goal and we needed to pick up the energy, raise the level a little bit and that's what we did. Abby's goal was bigtime again.”

On what was said at halftime:
“They told us we needed to keep the ball on the ground and play more. We needed to defend as a team more and I think we needed to be a little bit more passionate. We came into halftime with a 1-0 lead but it wasn't secure; we weren't playing great soccer. Pia really wanted to see us want it a little bit more.”

On her goal:
“With big goals like these I kind of black out. I remember [Megan Rapinoe] giving me a great ball down the line and I think I took one too many touches. But it paid out in the end beacuse I saw the goalkeeper kind of low and thought if I just chip it a little bit i'd get it over her. Finally I scored my first (world cup) goal!”

On the feeling of scoring in the World Cup:
“It was unbelivevable. I don't even think I saw it hit the back of the net. I just saw it cross the line and just turned my head and started screaming my head off. It was great. Forwards count their goals and it's been awhile since I've scored for this team. It's been building and it couldn't have been at a better time. It helped us stay calm throughout the rest of the game once we got that 3-1 lead.”

On making the FIFA Women's World Cup Final:
“Japan has done an incredible job and our journey has been a little up and down also. I think we all believed in each other from the beginning. It's amazing looking at each other and saying: ‘We're in the Final.’”

U.S. defender Becky SAUERBRUNN
On her first career World Cup appearance:
“It's kind of crazy it had to be the semifinals. The coaches had talked to me about playing in the Sweden or Brazil game but it hadn't worked out as planned. I was always preparing and it'd nice to finally get a shot. The girls were great this morning. I got a bunch of letters just telling me that they were confident in me and they thought I was ready and I'd do a good job. That made the biggest difference for me, knowing that my teammates wanted me out there.”

On stepping in to the backline for the match against France:
“The way that France plays was more suited to my defensive style, they play a lot in front and there's a lot of movement. After I got that first touch and maybe the first tackle everything settled down. Second half there was a huge momentum shift and they were coming at us. I took about 15 or 20 minutes before we finally started getting possession and playing our ball again.”

On how the team reacted after France tied the game:
“A lot of it is identifying what the problem is. So we were talking about regaining control. We did that by keeping the ball in the back and giving our attacking players better balls so they had more of a chance to create something from that.”

U.S. midfielder CARLI LLOYD
On the win against France:
“It was great. We're looking forward to the final. It was a great finish but a little bit of a weird game. France wase a great team, very good on the ball, but we scored three great goals. Those two at the end were really big for us. They kept the ball really well and their front block of attacking players were really great on the ball; they casued some havoc. At the end of the day we got the job done but give them a lot of credit, they were a great team.”

U.S. midfielder LAUREN CHENEY
On the fast start and her goal:
“Our energy was great in the first 15 minutes. We were knocking it around. We were composed, but we were still really excited and you could feel that energy in the locker room. I just remember that Heather O’Reilly had it out wide and she sent in a great cross and I stuck my foot out and it hit my foot/shin area and it went into the side netting and it was completely purposeful. “

On her run to score the goal:
“I actually think Heather and I had switched sides and once I saw her going I knew I needed to get into the box and that was one of France’s weaknesses – their marking the box. We had talked about it so I got in and got a goal.”

On the changes made in response to France’s pressure:
“France came out strong in the second half. They had a great attack; they had great buildup. They got in a cross that went in the goal and after they scored we did change our formation, we went to a 4-5-1 and I got pulled into the central midfield next to Boxxy and I think our defense is awesome in the back line. They did a great job of stopping France and we battled the storm.”

On her assist to Wambach for the game winner:
“Abby had been talking about being face marked. She said the girl was just in her face the whole time. I knew that if I just floated it in there she was going to get onto it. I actually saw her jockeying a little bit with the girl at the top of the box so I tried to hit back post. I knew she’d get there.”

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