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U.S. Women to Face Japan in Second Match of 2008 Beijing Olympics

U.S. WOMEN READY FOR CRUCIAL GROUP G MATCH WITH JAPAN IN QINHUANGDAO: The U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team will face Japan on Saturday, Aug. 9, at the Qinhuangdao Olympic Sports Center Stadium in a match crucial to the USA chances for advancement to the quarterfinals. After falling to Norway on Aug. 6, the USA will be looking to rebound against a Japanese team that came from two goals down to tie Zealand, 2-2, in its first group encounter. The match, which kicks off at 5 p.m. local / 5 a.m. ET, will be broadcast live on the USA Network and the NBC Olympic Channel. For a complete TV schedule for U.S. Olympic soccer, click here. The USA currently sits at the bottom of the group after the first round of group matches, but could easily leapfrog to second with a victory against Japan.

Group G
Team   W   L   T  Pts  GF  GA  GD
NOR     1    0   0    3     2     0    +2
NZL      0    0   1    1     2     2      0
JPN      0    0   1    1     2     2      0
USA      0    1   0    0     0     2     -2

Aug. 6
Japan 2, New Zealand 2
Norway 2, USA 0

Aug. 9
USA vs. Japan, 5 a.m. ET (Qinhuangdao)
New Zealand vs. Norway, 7:45 a.m. ET (Qinhuangdao)

Aug. 12
Norway vs. Japan, 7:45 a.m. ET (Shanghai)
USA vs. New Zealand, 7:45 a.m. ET (Shenyang)

POINTS NEEDED: While it’s too early to talk advancement scenarios, it is clear that the U.S. team needs three points from the Japan match before heading to Shenyang to face New Zealand. The top two finishers in each of the three groups advance to the second round along with two best third-place finishers based on points. The winner of the USA’s Group G will face the third place team from Group E or F. The second place team from Group G will face the winner of Group F (North Korea, Nigeria, Germany and Brazil). If there is a third-place team that qualifies from Group G, it will play the winner of Group E (China, Sweden, Argentina and Canada).

OLYMPIC DEBUTS: Eight U.S. players made their Olympic debuts in the match against Norway. Hope Solo, Lori Chalupny, Carli Lloyd, Natasha Kai started the match while Tobin Heath, Stephanie Cox and Amy Rodriguez came off the bench to see their first Olympic action. Angela Hucles and Heather O’Reilly also got their first Olympic starts, although O’Reilly played a key role in four matches in the 2004 Olympics. U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage has said she is not planning many changes from the lineup that faced Norway. For quotes from Sundhage, and U.S. players, click here.

U.S. Women’s National Team
2008 Olympic Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): 18-Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), 1-Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.);
DEFENDERS (6): 4-Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif.), 17-Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), 14-Stephanie Cox (Elk Grove, Calif.), 15-Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), 2-Heather Mitts (Cincinnati, Ohio), 3-Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.);
MIDFIELDERS (7): 7-Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 13-Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), 16-Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), 11-Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), 9-Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), 10-Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif.);
FORWARDS (3): 12-Lauren Cheney (Indianapolis, Ind.), 6-Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), 8-Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.).

Japan Women’s National Team
2008 Olympic Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Miho Fukumoto, 18-Ayumi Kaihori;
DEFENDERS (5): 2-Yukari Kinga, 3-Hiromi Ikeda, 4-Azusa Iwashimizu, 7-Kozue Ando, 14-Kyoko Yano,
MIDFIELDERS (7): 5-Miyuki Yanagita, 6-Tomoe Kato, 8-Aya Miyama, 10-Homare Sawa, 13-Aryumi Hara, 15-Mizuho Sakaguchi, 16-Rumi Utsugi.
FORWARDS (4): 17-Yuki Nagasato, 9-Eriko Arakawa, 11-Shinobu Ohno, 12-Karina Maruyama.

Current FIFA World Ranking: 10
Olympic History: 1996 (Group Play), 2000 (Did not qualify), 2004 (Quarterfinals)
Overall Record vs. USA: 0-17-3
Last Meeting vs. USA: July 28, 2007 (a 4-1 U.S. win in San Jose, Calif.)
Head Coach: Norio Sasaki

Key Players: G Miho Fukumoto, D Yukari Kinga, D Azusa Iwashimizu, D Kozue Ando, M Miyuki Yanagita, M Aya Miyama, M Homare Sawa, F Yuki Nagasato, F Eriko Arakawa.

USA vs. Japan Fast Facts: The USA and Japan have not met for more than a year, last playing in the summer of 2007 at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, Calif., a 4-1 U.S. win … Shannon Boxx, Kristine Lilly and Abby Wambach scored in that game, while Japan also knocked in an own goal … The USA has won the last four matches against Japan, the first win in this streak came in the quarterfinal of the 2004 Olympics by a 2-1 score … Prior to that, the Japanese had tied the USA three consecutive times, the first three draws against the USA in their history … That quarterfinal in Greece featured goals from Kristine Lilly and Abby Wambach and started a run of three consecutive 2-1 wins for the USA at that Olympics … This match will be the USA’s fourth meeting with Japan in world championship play as the teams also met in the 1991 and 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments … Japan scored in the 72nd minute through a penalty kick from Aya Miyama and a great volley from Homare Sawa in 86th minute against New Zealand to earn a point … Sawa, a former WUSA star for the Atlanta Beat, is Japan’s all-time greatest player having played in four Women’s World Cups and three Olympics .. She has played well over 100 games for her country scored about 70 goals … She was the MVP of the 2008 Asian Women’s Cup and is the key to Japan’s attack from her center midfield spot … Japan qualified by winning is Asian Olympic Qualifying Group in April of 2007 against South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam … Japan plays excellent pressing defense and has crafty and quick players all over the field, as well as some veteran leaders in the middle of the defense.

Quick Hits

  • All of the first group matches in the women’s competition were close affairs, with two draws, three one-goal wins and the USA’s two goal loss to Norway.
  • Christie Rampone will be playing in her 199th career game against Japan.
  • Japan has had an excellent series of results heading into the Olympics, going 9-3-0 in matches in 2008.
  • Japan owns wins over North Korea, China, Russia, Australia and the Netherlands this year, and finished third in the Asian Women’s Championships last June.
  • The U.S. faced Japan in a two-game series in Japan in May 2006, with the U.S. winning 3-1 behind an Abby Wamach hat trick and 1-0 on May 9 on a Natasha Kai header. Azusa Iwashimizu scored Japan’s lone goal in the two matches.
  • Lori Chalupny, who was injured in the first minute against Norway and replaced in the 15th minute, is listed as day-to-day. She will be evaluated on game day and then a decision on her playing status will be made.
  • Japan out-shot New Zealand 12-3 in their first match, but the Kiwis scored two goals on their three shots. Sawa took four of the shots, as did Mizuho Nagasato.
  • Japan’s goalkeeper Miho Fukumoto is just 5-5, but has excellent range, leaping ability and solid hands.

REFEREES FOR USA-JAPAN: An all-Asian crew will work the USA-Japan match as Pannipar Kamnueng (Thailand) will run the middle with assistant referees Widiya Shamsuri (Malaysia) and Ja Daw Kaw (Myanmar) on the sidelines. The USA will be wearing all white for the second game in a row while Japan will be wearing all blue.

STUDIO 90 WITH NEWS FROM CHINA: The latest edition of Studio 90 News is up and running with a preview of the weekend's U.S. Olympic Soccer action as both the women and men face crucial contests in the second matches of group play. Watch Carli Lloyd and Angela Hucles talk about the need to bounce back from their opening day loss, while Michael Bradley gives a scouting report on a Netherlands squad that boasts four players from his club team, SC Heerenveen, as well as leading Dutch marskman Roy Makaay. Don't forget to check back on all weekend long where U.S. Soccer's all_access video will have post-match reaction and all the news and updates from China.

JOIN U.S. FANS TO WATCH THE OLYMPICS AT A LOCAL WATERING HOLE: What's better than being surrounded by jersey-clad fans that live and die with every breath-taking goal, nerve-racking foul and brilliant save? If that's the tradition that you're looking for - and some great food to boot - head to the Official U.S. Soccer Bars to take in the USA's matches as they search for Olympic Gold. Whether it's at The Globe in Chicago, Summer's Restaurant in D.C. or Nevada Smith's in NYC, you can cheer on the Red, White and Blue alongside fellow die-hards for the USA’s matches during the 2008 Olympic Games at the best darn soccer bars in the country. The Globe in Chicago will be showing U.S. Women vs. Japan on tape delay at 10 a.m., while Summer’s will show the game at 7:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Stat of Note
The USA has played Japan in eight different countries over the years: Australia, China, Canada, Greece, Italy, Japan, Sweden and the USA.