The defending Women's World Cup and Olympic champions will travel to Germany on July 12 to compete in a tournament that is part of wide-ranging celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the German Soccer Federation (DFB). The competition also features China, Germany and Norway, perhaps making for the finest four-team women's tournament since the 1993 U.S. Women's Cup which included those same four teams and was won by the USA. Following the three matches in Germany, the U.S. team will travel to Norway for a two-game set with its arch-rival. The USA and Norway both own Women's World Cup championships, Germany is the two-time defending European champion and China was the runner-up at the 1996 Olympics and 1999 Women's World Cup, meaning that four of the world's finest women's soccer nations will clash for pre-Olympic bragging rights.
The six-game DFB 100th Anniversary Tournament will be played in doubleheaders on three dates in three German cities, all no more than 100 miles from Hannover in the northern part of the country. The USA will open the tournament against Norway on July 16 in Osnabrück. The Americans face China in Gottingen on July 19 and finish the tournament with Germany on July 22 in Braunschweig in a match that will be televised live nationally throughout Germany. The tournament winner will be determined on total points.
The USA will then travel to Norway for two matches, including a "Midnight Sun" game on July 27 in Tromsø, located in the far northern part of the country just below the 70th parallel. The North Pole is at 90 degrees latitude. The match is set to kickoff at 10:30 p.m. local time, and due almost around-the-clock daylight during that time of the year, stadium lights will not be needed. It will be the northernmost match ever played by the U.S. Women's National Team. Tromsø, which lies about 115 miles north of the Arctic Circle, also holds the distinction of owning the world's northernmost 18-hole golf course, university and brewery. The July 30 match will be played in the capital of Oslo at Norway's national stadium. Large crowds are expected for both clashes.
Although the USA and Norway have played 25 times, in an ironic twist to the long-time rivalry between the two women's soccer powers, not one of those matches has occurred in Norway. The Scandinavians will finally get a shot at the USA on its home soil, but they have done well enough outside the country, holding a 13-11-1 record while remaining the only team in the world with a winning all-time record against the U.S. women. Of those 25 meetings, 13 took place in the USA, five were in Portugal, three were in China, two were in Canada and one match each took place in Cyprus and Sweden.
In another bizarre scheduling twist, the three matches in Europe against Norway will make for six matches so far in 2000 between the two teams. If the USA and Norway also meet at the Olympics, a likely scenario, that would make an amazing seven matches between the two teams this year, by far the most games ever played by the U.S. women against one country in a calendar year.
The USA will meet China before the DFB 100th Anniversary Tournament -- perhaps twice -- as both will compete in the Pacific Cup in Australia in June and in the CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup in July. But any meeting between the two teams will forever invoke images of the historic 1999 Women's World Cup Final. The USA holds an 11-5-6 all-time record against China, but the last five meetings have produced two wins for each team and one draw. That draw being the Women's World Cup Final, which officially counts as a tie in the all-time records after the two teams battled to a 0-0 deadlock through 120 minutes, before the USA nailed all five of its penalty kicks and forever etched its place in American sporting history.
The USA holds an all-time record of 9-3-1 against Germany, but the historic clash between the two teams in their 1999 Women's World Cup quarterfinal was perhaps the most emotional of the tournament. The game saw the USA come back from one-goal deficits on two occasions including a Brandi Chastain score early in the second half that atoned for an own-goal mishap just minutes into the match. A header goal by Joy Fawcett off a corner kick by Shannon MacMillan provided the winning margin and the USA, along with millions of fans, breathed a sigh of relief as the Americans advanced to the semifinals.
The inclusion of a women's tournament among the celebrations for the tradition-steeped 100th anniversary of the German Soccer Federation is an indication of the growth of the women's game in Europe as well as the impact of the 1999 Women's World Cup on the global game. The USA last played in Germany in June of 1998, splitting games with the Germans with a 3-1 loss in Duisburg before gaining revenge with a 3-0 win in Salzgitter. The U.S. women have played 47 matches in Europe since the inception of the program in 1985, going 29-14-4. The 14 defeats represent a full 40 percent of the total losses suffered in the history of the women's national team program.
|DFB 100th Anniversary Tournament Schedule|
|July 16||Norway||--||Osnabruck, Ger.||2:30 p.m./8:30 a.m. ET|
|July 19||China||--||Gottingen, Ger.||4:00 p.m./10 a.m. ET|
|July 22||Germany||--||Braunschweig, Ger.||5:45 p.m./11:45 a.m. ET|
|Friendlies in Norway|
|July 27||Norway||Alfheim Stadium||Tromsø, Nor.||10:30 p.m./4:30 p.m. ET|
|July 30||Norway||Ullevall Stadium||Oslo, Nor.||8 p.m./2 p.m. ET|
Note: Due to the withdrawal of Scotland and North Korea from the Pacific Cup in Australia, the USA will now play five matches in the round-robin tournament with the winner being determined on total points. The revised schedule is reflected below. The stadium venues remained the same.
|2000 Pacific Cup Schedule|
|May 31||China||Bruce Stadium||Canberra||5 p.m. (10 p.m. ET May 30)|
|June 2||Canada||Sydney Football Stadium||Sydney||5:30 p.m. (10:30 p.m. ET June 1)|
|June 4||New Zealand||Campbelltown Stadium||Sydney||1:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. June 3)|
|June 8||Japan||Breakers Stadium||Newcastle||6 p.m. (11 p.m. ET June 7)|
|June 11||Australia||Breakers Stadium||Newcastle||2:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. ET June 10)|