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2007 FIFA Women's World Cup Group B Opponent Capsules: N. Korea, Sweden and Nigeria

U.S. Women’s National Team
2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Opponents Profiles

North Korea
Current FIFA World Ranking:
FIFA Country Code: PRK
2007 Women’s World Cup qualifying: Finished third in 2006 Asian Women’s Cup, defeating Japan 3-2 in the third-place match (4-1-1, 16 GF, 3 GA)
Women’s World Cup Finals appearances: 3 – 1999, 2003 and 2007
Overall Record in Women’s World Cup: 2-4-0
Record vs. USA: 0-2-0 (Both matches in Women’s World Cup play)
Last Meeting vs. USA: September 26, 2003, in Columbus, Ohio (3-0 U.S. Win)
Coach: Kim Kwang Min
Championship Honors: 2001, 2003 Asian Women’s Champions
Leading World Cup Qualifying Scorers: F Ri Kum Suk (5 goals), M Kim Yong Ae (3), F Ri Un Gyong (3), M Kim Than Sil (2)
Other Key Players: D Sonu Kyong, Sun, D Song Jong Sun, M Ri Un Suk, D Ho Sun Hui, G Om Jong Ran
Language: Korean

Fast Facts: The North Koreans won the Asian Women’s Championships in 2001 and 2003, dethroning seven-time champion China (now eight-time champs after winning the 2006 Asian Women’s Cup), but fell in the semifinal of the 2006 Asian Women’s Cup to China, 1-0 … In that loss to China, North Korea lost three players to suspension for the all-important third-place match against Japan (due to a post-game brawl in which several players attacked the referee), but rallied to defeat Japan, 3-2, to earn its WWC berth … North Korea’s first-ever match in a Women’s World Cup came in 1999 when they lost to Nigeria, 2-1, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. … North Korea would avenge that defeat at the 2003 Women’s World Cup in Philadelphia, Pa., downing Nigeria, 3-0 … The Koreans may have an influx of young talent on their team for their 2007 Women’s World Cup after they won the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship in Russia in resounding fashion, defeating China 5-0 in the Final … The USA has defeated North Korea by 3-0 scores in the past two Women’s World Cup tournaments.

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Current FIFA World Ranking:
FIFA Country Code: SWE
2007 Women’s World Cup qualifying: Won Group 2 in European Qualifying (7-0-1, 32 GF, 6 GA)
Women’s World Cup Finals appearances: 5 – 1991, 1995 (host), 1999, 2003, 2007
Overall Record in Women’s World Cup: 9-6-0
Record vs. USA: 3-15-5
Last Meeting vs. USA: March 12, 2007, in Vila Real de San Antonio, Portugal (3-2 U.S. Win)
Coach: Thomas Dennerby
Championship Honors: 1984 European Champions, European Runners-Up in 1987, 1995, 2001, Women’s World Cup Runners-Up in 2003
Leading World Cup Qualifying Scorers: F Hanna Ljungberg (10 goals), F Lotta Schelin (6), M Therese Lundin (4), F Victoria Svensson (4).
Other Key Players: G Caroline Jonsson, D Sara Larsson, M Therese Sjogran, D Hanna Marklund, D 6-Sara Thunebro, F Josefine Oqvist, M Frida Nordin.
Language: Swedish

Fast Facts: Sweden is ranked fourth in the world, but is playing the best soccer of any of the European powers, finishing third in the prestigious Algarve Cup the past two years … Sweden lost to Germany on a “golden goal” in the Final of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup in a match that could have gone either way … Sweden’s Thomas Dennerby takes over from long-time Sweden head coach Marika Domanski-Lyfors, who will be coaching host China in the 2007 Women’s World Cup … Sweden has one of the world’s best strikers in powder keg forward Hanna Ljungberg, so popular in Sweden that after the 2003 Women’s World Cup she got her own stamp (along with teammate Victoria Svensson), but she has struggled with injuries of late … Sweden was the first-ever opponent for the USA in a Women’s World Cup as the teams squared off in the opening match of the 1991 Women’s World Cup, a 3-2 U.S. win … While Sweden has participated in all four Women’s World Cup tournaments so far, they did not meet the USA again until the opening game of the 2003 Women’s World Cup, this time a 3-1 U.S. victory … Sweden has never failed to advance out of the first-round of a Women’s World Cup.

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Current FIFA World Ranking:
FIFA Country Code: NGA
2007 Women’s World Cup qualifying: Nigeria won the 2006 African Women’s Champions (5-0-0, 18 GF, 2 GA)
Women’s World Cup Finals appearances: 5 – 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007
Overall Record in Women’s World Cup: 2-10-1
Record vs. USA: 0-2-0 (Both matches in Women’s World Cup play)
Last Meeting vs. USA: September 25, 2003, in Philadelphia, Pa. (5-0 U.S. win)
Coach: Effiom Ntiero
Championship Honors: 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 African Women’s Champions
Leading World Cup Qualifying Scorers: N/A
Other Key Players: G Precious Dudu, D Yinka Kudaisi, D Kikelomo Ajayi, D Faith Ikidi, D Christie George, M Maureen Madu, M Ifeanyichukwu Chiejine, M Perpetua Nkwocha, M Effiowan Ekpo, F Vera Okolo, F Cynthia Uwak F Stella Mbachu.
Language: English

Fast Facts: The number 24 world ranking for the Nigerian women, nicknamed the Super Falcons (the men’s team is the Super Eagles) is based more on its lack of matches outside the continent than talent level as they have proven their pedigree on the world’s stage when given the opportunity … Nigeria was won all five African Women’s Championships that have been contested … At the 2006 African Women’s Championships, Nigeria booked its place to China with a 5-0 win over Cameroon in the semifinal as Perpetua Nkwocha scored a hat trick … Nkwocha also scored the lone goal in the 1-0 victory over Ghana in the title game … While Nigeria has been in the FIFA Women’s World Cup four times, they have finished in the top-eight just once … While Nigeria seems to be on the harsh end of one blowout loss in every Women’s World Cup they have played, most of the other matches are hard fought and close affairs … Nigeria won its first Women’s World Cup match in 1999, defeating North Korea, 2-1, after going two tournaments without a win and advanced to the quarterfinals, where they fell to Brazil, 4-3, in an epic overtime match after mounting a comeback from a 3-0 deficit … Nigeria and Africa’s most famous female player, Marvelous Mercy Akide, retired from the international game after the 2004 Olympics, but may be coaxed into a comeback as she will be just 32 years old at the World Cup … Nigeria’s second World Cup win came over Denmark in 1999 by a 2-0 score … Nigeria head coach Effiom Ntiero was head coach of the Baby Falcons at the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Canada … He was also the assistant coach for Nigeria at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup in the USA.

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