Eight-Team Tournament Will Run from Oct. 28-Nov. 4
USA Drawn Into Group B with Denmark, Australia and North Korea;
Group A Features South Korea, Brazil, Italy and Nigeria
CHICAGO (August 18, 2006) – The U.S. Women’s National Team will travel to South Korea in October to take part in the Peace Queen Cup that will be staged from Oct. 28 to Nov. 4, in six Korean cities. These will be the final matches for the USA before it enters the 2006 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup where the U.S. women will attempt to earn one of the region’s direct berths to the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The Peace Queen Cup, which previously featured men’s club teams in the first two editions, will feature eight women’s national teams. The tournament is staged in a similar format to the annual Algarve Cup in Portugal, with the teams playing a round-robin format in group play and the group winners meeting for the title.
The USA opens Group B play against Denmark on Oct. 29 in Kimhae in the southeastern part of South Korea. The USA will then face recent 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers Australia on Oct. 31 in Cheonan, outside of Seoul, before finishing group play against North Korea on Nov. 2 in Suwon, also outside of Seoul. The championship match is on Nov. 4 in Seoul. Group A features South Korea, Brazil, Italy and Nigeria. The stadiums in Seoul and Suwon were used for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
“I am excited to take our team to the Peace Queen Cup,” said U.S. head coach Greg Ryan. “The timing of the tournament is perfect as we will play high level international matches just before Women’s World Cup qualification begins in late November. Most of the teams in this tournament have either qualified or will qualify for the 2007 Women’s World Cup, making this a very important event for all teams involved. I am pleased that the Peace Queen Cup Organizing Committee is staging such a fantastic tournament.”
The Peace Queen Cup will have some added intrigue as the games will mark the first official international matches for Brazil since it lost to the USA in the 2004 Olympic final. Nigeria, the perennial champions of Africa, also rarely plays outside of their continent during a non-Olympic or non-Women’s World Cup year. Five of the Top 10 teams in the world are participating - USA (No. 2), Brazil (No. 4), North Korea (No. 7), Denmark (No. 9) and Nigeria (No. 10) - and the tournament features teams from six continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.
The U.S. opens against Denmark, the last team to defeat the USA in a 3-1 win on Nov. 8, 2004, in one of the final matches on the Fan Celebration Tour. The USA has since gone unbeaten in 22 consecutive matches, although the team fell in penalty kicks to Germany in the 2006 Algarve Cup final in a match that goes into the all-time record book as a tie. The loss to Denmark marked the only game in which forward Abby Wambach has scored but the team has lost. The U.S. women rebounded strongly against the Danes, having faced them twice since that setback, both at the Algarve Cup, winning 4-0 in 2005 and 5-0 just this past March.
The USA will be looking forward to facing Australia in the second Peace Queen Cup match as the two teams have tied their last two meetings. The Aussies recently qualified for their fourth consecutive Women’s World Cup by finishing second in the Asian qualifying competition, which is their first qualifying tournament since changing confederations. The USA and the Matildas drew, 1-1, at the 2004 Olympics and then battled to a scoreless tie on Oct. 16, 2005. They were the Aussies’ first-ever draws vs. the Americans after losing their previous 15 matches to the USA.
The meeting with North Korea will be the first for the U.S. outside of a Women’s World Cup. The USA faced North Korea in its third group match in both the 1999 and 2003 Women’s World Cups, winning 3-0 both times. The North Koreans also recently qualified for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup by beating Japan in the third place game of the AFC qualifying tournament. The qualifying win came after a controversial 1-0 loss to China that saw the equalizer disallowed and several Korean players being suspended after attacking the referees.
The Peace Queen Cup was created as a festival of peace in an attempt to bring the world together through soccer. The first two tournaments were won by PSV Eindhoven in 2003 and Tottenham Hotspur in 2005, respectively. This will be the first trip to South Korea for the U.S. Women’s National Team. The U.S. men played all of their 2002 FIFA World Cup matches in South Korea.
Before departing for the Peace Queen Cup, the U.S. WNT will play four more domestic matches, beginning with a friendly vs. China on Aug. 27 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. at 12 p.m. CT (tickets). Two weeks later the U.S. faces Mexico in Rochester, N.Y. at PAETEC Park at 8 p.m. ET (tickets). The team will also play two soon-to-be-announced matches on Oct. 1 and Oct. 8, respectively. Each of the four domestic matches will be televised live on ESPN2, and the USA vs. Mexico match will be broadcast on tape delay on Telemundo. Fans can also follow all the action live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
2006 Peace Queen Cup Groups
2006 Peace Queen Cup Schedule
October 28 Venue
South Korea vs. Brazil Seoul
Italy vs. Nigeria Seoul
October 29 Venue
Australia vs. North Korea Kimhae
USA vs. Denmark Kimhae
October 30 Venue
Brazil vs. Italy Masan
South Korea vs. Nigeria Masan
October 31 Venue
USA vs. Australia Cheonan
North Korea vs. Denmark Cheonan
Nov. 1 Venue
Brazil vs. Nigeria Changwon
South Korea vs. Italy Changwon
Nov. 2 Venue
Australia vs. Denmark Suwon
USA vs. North Korea Suwon
Nov. 4 Venue
Championship Game Seoul