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U.S. WNT Arrives in Busan for Peace Queen Cup Opener vs. Denmark


United States Women’s National Team
Notes from Busan, South Korea
2006 Peace Queen Cup
Oct. 28, 2006


U.S. WOMEN TRAVEL FROM SEOUL TO BUSAN FOR 2006 PEACE QUEEN CUP OPENER: After spending five days in Seoul, the U.S. Women’s National Team took a short flight on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 28, traveling south to Busan, a bustling city on the southeast coast of Korea to play its first match of the 2006 Peace Queen Cup. The USA opens what promises to be one of the best international women’s soccer events of the year on Sunday, Oct. 29, against Denmark at Gimhae Stadium in Gimhae, which is actually about an hour’s drive from the USA’s hotel in Busan. With team captain Kristine Lilly arriving in South Korea last Wednesday after her wedding the previous Friday, the U.S. team is at full strength with all players healthy and available for selection. The U.S. team practiced at Gimhae Stadium on Saturday afternoon after flying in from Seoul, running through a quick hour session on the perfect, and very wide, pitch. The U.S. team encountered heavy traffic to and from the stadium that more than rivaled anything Los Angeles rush hour has to offer, but passed the time on the return trip with a spirited team sing-along that evoked memories of summer camp. After facing Denmark on Sunday, Oct. 29, the U.S. team will return to Seoul on Monday for the remainder of the tournament. The USA has a record of 13-0-3 in 2006 (view results) and has won nine consecutive matches. Denmark was actually the last team to beat the USA in a 90-minute match, winning 3-1 on Nov. 6, 2004.

TOURNAMENT FORMAT: The two group winners will get an extra game at this tournament, playing for the championship in Seoul on Nov. 4. Each team will be allowed six substitutions in each match. The tie-breakers for this tournament are the standard 1) goal difference, 2) goals scored and 3) head-to-head result.

BRAZIL AND CANADA OPEN TOURNAMENT WITH WINS: The Americas had a good day as the 2006 Peace Queen Cup opened with matches in Group A on Saturday, Oct. 28, with Brazil defeating host South Korea, 1-0, while Canada edged Italy, 3-2, in an exciting match. If Brazil was rusty, it would not be a surprise, as the win for the perennial South American champs came in its first full international in more than two years. The last match for the Brazilians was the 2004 Olympic gold medal game where they fell to the USA, 2-1. Against South Korea, Brazil got its winning goal in the 77th minute as Angelica hit a shot from distance that skipped through traffic and rolled into the left side of the net. Canada got two goals from star forward Christine Sinclair, and one from Jodi-Ann Robinson to edge the Italians, who will not be going to China next year after finishing behind Norway and the Ukraine in European Group 1 qualifying for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Sinclair scored in the 17th and 35th minutes before Italy’s Valentina Boni pulled a goal back in the 70th minute. Italy’s comeback was short-lived as Robinson increased the margin back to two goals in the 81st minute. Italy got to within one goal with an 88th minute strike from Patricia “The Scorpion” Panico. For complete tournaments standings go to the Peace Queen Cup competition page on ussoccer.com.

U.S. WNT Peace Queen Cup Schedule
Date      Opponent        Venue, City                                                          Kickoff / ET
Oct. 29   Denmark        Gimhae Stadium Gimhae, South Korea                 5 p.m. / 4 a.m. ET
Oct. 31   Australia         Cheonan Stadium Cheonan, South Korea           4 p.m. / 3 a.m. ET
Nov. 2    Netherlands    Suwon WC Stadium Suwon, South Korea           2:30 p.m. / 1:30 a.m. ET

2006 Peace Cup Schedule
October 28                       Venue
Brazil 1, South Korea 0     Seoul
Canada 3, Italy 2                Seoul

October 29                          Venue
Australia vs. Netherlands   Gimhae
USA vs. Denmark            Gimhae

October 30                          Venue
Brazil vs. Italy                       Masan
South Korea vs. Canada      Masan

October 31                             Venue
USA vs. Australia                 Cheonan
Netherlands vs. Denmark      Cheonan

Nov. 1                              Venue
Brazil vs. Canada            Changwon
South Korea vs. Italy       Changwon

Nov. 2                               Venue
Australia vs. Denmark      Suwon
USA vs. Netherlands    Suwon

Nov. 4                              Venue
Championship Game     Seoul

USA vs. DENMARK HISTORY: The USA and Denmark have met in the last two Algarve Cups in Portugal with the USA emerging with somewhat surprising 4-0 (2005) and 5-0 (2006) victories (2006 Algarve Cup recap). The dominating win in 2005 eventually led to the resignation of the Danish coach shortly before the 2004 European Women’s Championships. Kristine Lilly scored twice in that match, including a goal directly off a corner kick, while Abby Wambach and Christie Welsh added solo scores. In the match earlier this year, young forward Heather O’Reilly notched the first two-goal game of her career while Wambach and Lilly also scored. Natasha Kai came off the bench to score her first career goal to round out the scoring. In the two meetings prior to the Algarve Cup tussles, Denmark had come to the USA and earned a draw (1-1) and a victory (3-1) over the USA during two matches of the 2004 Fan Celebration Tour. The USA holds a 12-4-2 all-time record against the Danes, which includes meetings in the 1995 Women’s World Cup (a 2-0 U.S. win), the 1996 Olympics (a 3-0 U.S. win) and the 1999 Women’s World Cup (the famous 3-0 win to open the WWC in front of a sold-out crowd at Giants Stadium). The nine goal aggregate in the last two meetings was probably surprising to both teams as the Americans put together stellar performances in both matches. With the Danes coming off their successful Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign, the match at the Peace Queen Cup promised to be more competitive.

U.S. head coach Greg Ryan on facing Denmark in the USA’s first Peace Queen Cup match:
“We want to play well as a team to continue to develop for our CONCACAF qualification games in November, but [Sunday] we are not going to worry about that. We are going to do everything we can do to beat a very good Denmark team.”

Ryan on the organization of the Peace Queen Cup tournament:
“Everything has been fantastic. The hospitality from the organizers of the Peace Cup and everyone that has helped has been fantastic. The venues are first class. Everything’s been great.”

Ryan on Denmark’s strengths:
“Denmark is great at playing balls behind a back four. Merete Pederson, along with Marinette Pichon (France) and Han Duan (China), those three are in a category of their own in the timing of their runs and in making different types of runs to get out of the vision of the defender and then get in. It’s very hard to stop, so our defenders are really going to have to be on top of their game to stop her from getting in behind, because once she does, she’s a great finisher. That’s their greatest strength, but they have some other very talented attacking players. Rasmussen is a great take-on player so they are not just a one-person team, they have a lot of attacking personalities. Denmark has always come out and played an open game. They come out and attack you, so you have to be able to stop them, but because they play open, you have to be able to counter and put your chances away.”

U.S. captain Kristine Lilly on the tournament:
“We come into every game just trying to gel more as a team. With (Women’s World Cup) qualifiers coming up in November for us, this a perfect environment to fine tune everything, play together and hopefully get some wins that we want, because every time we step on the field, we want to win.”

DANES QUALIFY FOR WOMEN’S WORLD CUP ON LAST DAY: Facing a must-win situation in its final qualification match in European Group 3, Denmark pulled out a big 1-0 win over Finland to earn its berth to China. Finland needed just a draw to earn what would have been its first-ever trip to the Women’s World Cup, but Denmark pulled out the win in front of more than 9,000 fans, the largest crowd in Denmark history to watch a Women’s National Team game. Lethal forward Merete Pederson, Denmark’s star who scored twice in the USA’s last loss on Nov. 4, 2004, scored 10 goals in qualifying for her country. Pedersen, who has played 107 times for her country, has scored 52 goals in her career.

Denmark Group 3 European Qualifying for 2007 FIFA WWC
Date                     Opponent   Score      Denmark Goalscorer(s)
Aug. 27, 2005     Poland       5-1 W       Pederson (4), Sorenson
Sept. 25, 2005    Belgium     3-0 W        Pederson (2), Nielson
Nov. 10, 2005     Spain         2-2 T        Sorenson, Rasmussen
March 26, 2006  Belgium     2-0 W       Pederson (2)
April 27, 2006     Spain          5-0 W       Pederson, Pape, Sorenson, Rasmussen
May 7, 2006        Poland        3-1 W       Pederson, Pape, Madsen
Aug. 26, 2006     Finland       1-2 L        Sorenson
Sept. 27, 2006    Finland       1-0 W      Pape

U.S. Roster (Hometown - caps):
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn. - 157), 18-Hope Solo (Richland, Wash - 32);
DEFENDERS (7): 17-Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo. - 24/2), 8-Tina Frimpong (Vancouver, Wash. - 15/0), 14-Amy LePeilbet (Crystal Lake, Ill. - 23/0), 15-Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich. - 148/0), 2-Heather Mitts (Cincinnati, Ohio - 57/2), 3-Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J. – 150/4), 4-Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala. – 93/10);
MIDFIELDERS (6): 16-Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va. – 55/5), 11-Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J. - 16/1), 23-Joanna Lohman (Silver Spring, Md. – 5/0), 21-Marci Miller (St. Charles, Ill. – 8/0), 12-Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis. – 25/1), 10-Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif. – 104/21);
FORWARDS (5): 6-Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii – 11/5), 13-Kristine Lilly (Wilton, Conn. – 313/113), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich. – 53/12), 20-Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y. – 79/64), 19-Kacey White (Arlington, Tex. – 0/0).

Denmark Roster (Club – caps):
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Heidi Johansen (Fortuna Hjørring - 35), 16-Mette Bjerg (Vejle BK – 5);
DEFENDERS (8): 6-Camilla Andersen (Fortuna Hjørring – 4/0), 4-Christina Orntoft (Skovlunde IF – 14/0), 14-Louise Hansen (Djurgarden/Alvsjo – 0/0), 12-Gitta Pederson (BK Skjold – 2/0), 15-Camila Morgensen (Djurgarden/Alvsjo – 122/3), 2-Line Hansen (Skovlunde IF – 2/0), 5-Mariann Knudsen (Fortuna Hjørring – 30/0), 17-Mia Pedersen (Vejle BK – 0/0);
MIDFIELDERS (6): 20-Ditte Larsen (Asker Skiklub – 1/0), 8-Helle Nielsen (Vejle BK – 17/1), 7-Janne Madsen (Fortuna Hjørring – 39/3), 18-Maja Juliussen (Fortuna Hjørring – 0/0), 3-Mette Jensen (Fortuna Hjørring – 0/0), 10-Nanna Johansen (Malmo FF – 21/3);
FORWARDS (4): 13 – Johanna Rasmussen (Fortuna Hjørring – 30/4), 19-Louise Kristiansen (Skovlunde IF – 0/0), 11-Merete Pedersen (OB – 107/52), 9-Mette Jorgensen (Skovlunde IF – 3/0).

LOOK OUT TYRA: As part of the impressive welcome reception for the opening of the 2006 Peace Queen Cup, U.S. midfielder Leslie Osborne and six other players from the other participating teams took part in a spectacular fashion show on Oct. 27 for the winter collection of famed South Korean high-fashion designer André Kim. Officials, Korean celebrities, dignitaries, diplomats, paparazzi and a gaggle of TV cameras packed the Seoul Grand Hyatt Ballroom for the wildly colorful and extravagant show. ussoccer.com’s cameras were there to bring you all the sights as Osborne traded in her cleats for heels and the soccer field for the runway (photos).

WNT IN THE DMZ: On Oct. 26, the U.S. Women’s National Team had the unique experience of a VIP tour of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the buffer zone between North and South Korea that sits on the 38th parallel and has been the center of great tension over the years. The U.S. team was welcomed and escorted by American and South Korean soldiers during their visit. Check out a recap of the once-in-a-lifetime trip plus exclusive photos and all_access video (watch).

WHITEHILL BACK FROM FOOT INJURY: After missing the USA’s last three matches with a foot injury, defender Cat Whitehill is fit and back on the roster. Although a center defender, Whitehill is currently the fourth-leading scorer on the U.S. team this year with four goals, a number that has pumped her career total up to 10 goals, making her the third-leading scorer among defenders in U.S. history.

Stat of Note
The USA and Denmark have played 18 matches in their histories, 11 of those in Europe (although just once in Denmark) and seven in the United States. This will be the first meeting between the two teams in Asia.

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