VAASA, Finland (July 24, 2007) – The U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team rolled over arch-rival Germany in the championship game of the 2007 Nordic Cup, winning 4-0 on goals from Danesha Adams, Angie Woznuk, Tina DiMartino and Michele Weissenhofer.
The win marked the USA’s ninth overall title at the prestigious tournament, held annually during the summer in Northern Europe, which features Europe’s top teams in the U-23 age group. The U.S. women have been in 11 straight Nordic Cup championship games, winning their first title in 1997. The USA fell to Norway in 1998, but then won seven Nordic Cups in a row from 1999-2005. The USA lost in last year’s Nordic Cup final game to Germany, but a stellar effort by the young Americans in thrashing the Germans at Hietalahti Stadium took back the trophy.
“We played very well,” said U.S. head coach Bill Irwin, who won his first Nordic Cup as head coach. “It was the way we were capable of playing and every player came to play for 90 minutes. The team followed our game plan very well and we got four great goals. It was a top class tournament and our hosts were great, but this was a valuable experience for these young players. Hopefully it will help push them on the full team. The future looks bright."
Forward Danesha Adams started the scoring in just the 11th minute as she finished a rebound off an Ella Masar shot, tucking the ball into the right corner after German goalkeeper Stephanie Ullrich couldn’t hang on to it.
“We all want to make it to the top, to the full team one day,” said Adams. “We want to be in their shoes, so this experience will hopefully help us do that. We dug deep today. We said before the game that we didn't work this hard for six months, all the traveling and training camps, to come here and lose. We changed our attitude and we refused to lose."
The USA fired 12 shots in the match, limiting the Germans to just four, and only two on goal, but couldn’t double the lead until the 58th minute when Amanda Cinalli was taken down in the penalty area. Woznuk stepped up to bury her shot into the left corner on the ground to make it 2-0.
The USA then scored two goals in a three-minute span to seal the win, getting tallies from DiMartino in the 74th minute and Weissenhofer in the 76th. DiMartino received a pass from Adams, her college teammate at UCLA, and rounded the ‘keeper before finishing easily into the open net. Weisenhofer’s goal came off a header, as she powered home a cross from Sarah Huffman.
It was the first goal for each of the four players in the Nordic Cup after Kiki Bosio had produced both previous scores in 1-0 group play victories over Norway and Sweden. Bosio shared the golden boot award as the tournament’s leading scorer with three other players.
This was the fourth time the USA has faced Germany in a Nordic Cup title game, winning in 2000, 2002, and 2007, while losing in 2006.
"This has been a rewarding experience,” said midfielder Ali Krieger. “We knew we struggled in the first two games and could do better. We knew we could control their work ethic and if we worked hard, we would be successful. We came out committed today and that’s what it took to win."
Held in Northern Europe every summer, the USA has competed in the Nordic Cup for well over a decade, as it has become the focus of the USA’s oldest youth national team during its six-month run-up to the prestigious competition. In response to FIFA moving its oldest world championship for women from Under-19 to Under-20, this year the Nordic Cup moved from an Under-21 competition to an Under-23 tournament (it was staged as a U-20 event from 1990-1997).
For the second match in a row, Irwin got all of his field player substitutes on the field. The U.S. team committed just one foul in the entire game and did not allow a goal during the three matches at the tournament.
Germany's best chance in the first half was off of a corner kick as the ball flew through the six-yard box, but they couldn’t get a boot on it. In the second half, the Germans had a breakaway, but U.S. goalkeeper Cori Alexander, who played every minute of all three matches and earned three shutouts, made a great save while holding her ground 12 yards out of the net.
"We wanted revenge from last year,” said Krieger of the USA’s loss to the Germans. “We are playing against the best teams with the best players at this level. Everyone is trying to get to the full team so this was the perfect atmosphere for us. This helps us to get better and playing the best players from every country is priceless experience."
The U.S. players will now head back to the USA where most will start preparing for their upcoming college seasons.
U.S. UNDER-21 WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. Germany
Competition: 2007 Under-23 Nordic Cup
Venue: Hietalahti Stadium - Vaasa, Finland
Date: July 24, 2007; Kickoff – 5:30 p.m. local / 9:30 a.m. ET
Weather: Cloudy – 68 degrees
1 2 F
USA 1 3 4
GER 0 0 0
USA – Danesha Adams (Ella Masar) 11th minute.
USA – Angie Woznuk (penalty kick) 58.
USA – Tina DiMartino (Danesha Adams) 74.
USA – Michele Weissenhofer (Sarah Huffman) 76.
USA: 1-Cori Alexander; 10-Rachel Buehler - Capt., (16-Stephanie Logterman, 84), 4-Nikki Krzysik, 12-Kendall Fletcher, 13-Manya Makoski; 3-Tina DiMartino, 11-Ali Krieger (23-Becky Sauerbrunn, 79), 6-Angie Woznuk (14-Sarah Huffman, 63); 9-Danesha Adams (5-Kelsey Carpenter, 79), 8-Ella Masar (19-Michele Weissenhofer, 67), 15-Amanda Cinalli (7-Kiki Bosio, 60).
Subs not used: 18-Kelsey Davis.
Head coach: Bill Irwin
GER: 1-Stephanie Ullrich; 2-Anne van Bonn, 5-Andrea Wilkens, 14-Christina Plessen, 3-Corina Schröder (15-Anne Heller, 72); 4-Juliane Höfler (13-Meike Dinger, 90), 10-Lena Goeßling (18-Caroline Hamann, 66), 16-Aferdita Kameraj (17-Jennifer Ninaus, 89), 8-Karolin Thomas (6-Meike Weber, 72); 7-Lydia Neumann (11-Anna Blässe, 46), 9-Shelley Thompson
Shots: 12 / 4
Shots on goal: 6 / 2
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 6 / 3
Fouls: 1 / 10
Offside: 2 / 2
Referees: Pernilla Larsson (Sweden)
2nd: Petra Pohjonen (Finland)
3rd: Jenny Kaarnassaari (Finland)
4th: Lina Langbacka (Finland)
Sierra Mist Player of the Game: Ali Krieger
2007 Nordic Cup Placement Matches
Tuesday, July 24
Fifth Place: England 1, Sweden 1 (England wins 4-2 on PKs)
Third Place: Norway 3, Finland 0
Championship: USA 4, Germany 0