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U.S. Women

Pia Sundhage and Players Speak after Quarterfinal Win Against Brazil


U.S. head coach PIA SUNDHAGE
On the drama of the match:
“I have no words. Phenomenal. The goal and then the PKs. Someone is writing this book. There is something about the American attitude to find a way to win. Unbelievable.“

On her mood after the game:
“Right now I’m the happiest person on earth.”

On the match:
“It’s hard to put together all the thoughts I have. I want to talk about how emotional I became. There’s something to be said about this team. This American attitude of pulling everything together and bringing out the best performance in each other is contagious. I am very, very proud and I’m very, very happy to be the coach for the U.S. team.”

On the re-taken penalty kick in the second half:
“To be honest, it doesn’t matter. I just go with whatever the referee says. She’s the one that decides what is going on out there. I was very happy with the way Hope coped with that whole situation because she saved it and then she comes back.”

On her changes after Rachel Buehler got a red card:
“When Rachel Buehler was sent off, I think we started to play. It’s funny, in the first half we probably got the goal too early because we played too safe and didn’t run as much as we could have. We played too direct. When Buehler was sent off, you could see something happened to the team and it was more than a running game and we explored the width. If you look at how we kept possession, Megan Rapinoe came in, and late in the game Tobin Heath as well. Those [players] prepared off the bench and made a difference.”

U.S. forward ABBY WAMBACH
On the match:
“I really don’t know what to say. I think that is a perfect example of what this country is about, what the history of this team has always been. We never give up. We literally went to the last second it seems. I mean, Hope. How many penalties has she saved legitimately today? We never gave up. Brazil is a great team. I really don’t have many words for this.”

On her goal:
“It was a perfect ball. (Megan Rapinoe) got an opportunity down the left flank and sent the ball in. It just popped over that defender's head. I was sitting on that back post. I’m so happy it went in.”

On the goal and the moments afterward:
“Megan Rapinoe just put that ball on my head. Luckily I didn't miss and the rest is history, I guess. We had the momentum going into penalties. Shannon Boxx being able to re-take that first one obviously gave us a lift. Getting that first goal is huge.”

On playing a man down:
“Stastically, based on what just happened, Brazil usually comes out on top in terms of being down a man. The U.S. National Team has had tough moments in world championships and I think we learned a lot from last night's game against Japan. If you get a chance you have to take it and we went for it.”

On the emotions of the game:
“To be honest, I literally can't believe that just happened. The last three hours of my life have been some of the most emotionally up and down moments I've ever experienced and I'm glad to be able to say I did it with my teammates because in the end it took all of us. It took every single player on the team to win that game.”

On the victory against Brazil:
“Getting the red card and going down in extra time is tough. It's a tough hill to climb. But this team is willing to put their hearts on the line. This team is willing to do whatever it takes to win and I think it showed tonight.”

U.S. goalkeeper HOPE SOLO
On the match:
“Up and down, up and down. Emotional. I didn’t know if we were going to pull it out at the end. It started to look grim, but you felt the energy. It’s not like we held our heads. But you see the clock winding down and you wonder if this is going to be our time, our tournament. And we fought. I knew Abby would come up big. I don’t care if she has two goals or 10 goals. When it counts she comes up big and that’s what she did today.”

On the shootout:
“I was very confident. It’s a hard way to win. It’s a hard way to lose. You want the better team to win and I think the better team did win, but sometimes it doesn’t always go that way. You never know what is going to happen, but I was confident. We’ve been practicing, we’ve been looking good in practice. Everybody was pretty much stone cold. We were ice. I felt like we put them away well.”

On managing emotions during the game:
“You have to really manage your emotions in a game like this. I’ll be the first to admit that I get very emotional, but you have to be able to contain that. We stayed together the entire time until the final minute, and we put that final goal away.”

On the re-taken penalty kick in the second half:
“I was definitely frustrated. I got caught up in the emotions of making that first save. I celebrated. I was excited, and by the time I turned back around they were lined up to take another kick. Again, it was an emotional rollercoaster but we contained emotions and we came out on top.”

On the emotion within the team after the win:
“Even when we lost to Sweden, you could feel the energy, you could feel the confidence. Nobody hung their head. We have a great leader in Pia that brought us together. There’s something special about this group – the energy, the vibe, the leadership. Even going down a man, even going down a goal in overtime, you felt something. You felt something was going to happen. People kept fighting all the way down to stoppage time. When the clock was winding down, this team kept fighting, and we’re down a man. All I can say is that you can’t coach that necessarily. It’s a feeling, and we play with that feeling.”

On her save on the third shot in the penalty kick shootout:
“Going up against two different penalty kicks during the flow of the game by two different players kind of threw me off during the shootout. I had in my head that the first two shooters were going to go a particular way and I didn’t try and read it. After that, once I got those two out of the way, I was able to read it and I was really able to just clear my mind so to speak, play my game and read the shooter. I think that was a benefit to me, not to have seen that third shooter in the run of play.”

On the play of the U.S. defense against Marta:
“I think our defense played great against Marta. I don’t think she was too much of a threat. Yes, she got that goal. That happens, but our defenders did a great job of covering, supporting one another and sending two players to the ball. It was part of the game plan given to us by our head coach, which we all trusted in, executed it and came out on top.”

U.S. Women's National Team defender ALI KRIEGER
On taking the fifth penalty in the shootout:
“I don't think I was really thinking. I just stepped up to the plate. We had practiced in training and I felt confident in making it. I blocked everything out and stepped up. Everybody shot the ball in so perfectly I told myself I had to do it as well. I was confident, knew my place and it worked out.” 

On the momentum shift with Abby Wambach's goal:
“We couldn't be stopped at that point in the game. It was very exciting in the last two minutes after fighting with 10 men against 11. It was amazing that we figured it out in the end. We never give up until the last minute and you can see that from tonight.” 

On her mindset stepping up to her penalty kick:
“I didn't really think that much. All I knew is I wanted to win this game and go to the semifinal and help my team in any way I could. To do that was to make this PK. It's a dream come true, especially in Germany, to be the last shooter. Given that opportunity I did the best I could.”

On her selection as one of the penalty kick takers:
“In training we discussed who would take the [penalties]. I said 'of course, I'd love to take one.' We trained and trained, and two minutes before we had to take it [goalkeeper coach Paul Rogers] said you're gonna be number five. I was confident.”

On the support of the fans in Dresden:
“It was amazing. I don't know if it was because of the game yesterday, which was unfortuante and very unlucky for the German National Team. I have a lot of respect for them. I was so proud to play tonight and all you hear is "USA, USA" and everyone is clapping, whistling at the Brazilians. Having that support just really makes us play even better.” 

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