EDMONTON, Alberta (Thursday, August 29, 2002) - The U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team roared back from a goal down to record a convincing 4-1 victory over Germany in the semifinal of the 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship and will play host Canada for the first-ever world soccer title for youth women on Sunday, Sept. 1, at Commonwealth Stadium.
Kickoff for the final is 2 p.m. MT (4 p.m. ET) and it will be broadcast live on Fox Sports World. Fans can also follow the action as it happens on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
U.S. forward Kelly Wilson scored twice in the first half while captain Lindsay Tarpley added a goal and defender Jill Oakes tallied late in the game, her first goal of the tournament, to provide the final margin. It was Germany, however, which took the early initiative, showing no fear of a U.S. team that had stormed through the tournament with four wins and a 21-1 goal difference after its first four games.
"I couldn't relax until the final whistle," said U.S. head coach Tracey Leone. "The game of soccer always shows that anything can happen during that 90 minutes and that's the beauty of the game. Against a team like Germany, you are never comfortable until the final whistle blows."
The Germans physical strength was evident early on as the European champions clogged the midfield well, not allowing the Americans to get a rhythm, and then counter-attacked with danger.
The first 20 minutes featured end-to-end play. After an early chance by Leslie Osborne, which she scuffed wide right, the Germans went on the attack.
Germany won a header at midfield that got its leading scorer Anja Mittag behind the U.S. defense on the left side. Her shot shook the crossbar before it was cleared away by the scrambling U.S. defense. The USA came right back and Tarpley hit the right post off a short cross from Osborne in the 16th minute, but then Germany drew first blood.
The goal came as Mittag won the ball from Oakes in the USA's defensive third and drove to goal. Jessica Ballweg worked back to recover, leaving the middle open for Mittag to cut a pass back to Linda Bresonik, who finished smartly into right corner from 10 yards out. It was the first time the USA had trailing in the tournament.
The young Americans showed tremendous composure after the German goal and did not panic, then set about tying the game up, turning the momentum in a three-minute span. The equalizer came in the 28th minute and the catalyst was Heather O'Reilly. She received a ball in the left side of the penalty area and beat Jennifer Zietz to the end line before cutting the ball back to Tarpley, who hammered a left-footed shot into net at near post.
Just two minutes later the USA took the lead, as Tarpley slipped a pass through to the cutting Wilson, who beat the German back line and raced in on goal. German goalkeeper Miriam Elling darted out to challenge, but Wilson beat her to the ball and slotted her shot past the 'keeper and into the net from 16 yards out.
The Germans had several more dangerous chances in the first half, but the Americans switched from a three-woman to a four-woman back line and tightened up the defense. The U.S. then scored a huge goal in the last minute of the first half off its first corner kick of the game. Some poor marking left Wilson momentarily free inside the six-yard box and she snapped a header off a Lori Chalupny corner kick into the lower left corner from close range. The two goals gave Wilson nine for the tournament.
"It was great game even though we went down a goal," said Wilson. "We did a great job of keeping our focus and playing to feet. We also did a good job slipping balls through and Tarp found me on that second goal and we got it rolling from there."
Leone put Keeley Dowling in for Jessica Ballweg at halftime and the University of Tennessee sophomore played a tremendous match in the middle of the defense.
The USA almost got another goal in the 56th minute as a corner kick from the left side flew across the goal and Osborne ran it down. She looped a cross into the middle where Tarpley headed it over the goalkeeper, but Alexandra Stegmann saved the ball off line with a diving header.
Oakes also had spectacular clearance in the 63rd minute as substitute Patrizia Barucha beat U.S. goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris to a bouncing ball and lobber her. Oakes raced back and cleared the ball off the goal line with a flying volley.
The USA had numerous chances from the flanks in the second half, but several great catches off crosses by Elling and some solid recovering defense by Germany, as well as some final passes that barely missed their mark, kept the USA off the board until the 86th minute.
The goal against a tiring German side came off a corner kick that was cleared to the top of the penalty area. Oakes collected the ball, took a touch to her left and cracked a swerving blast into the upper left corner from 23 yards out with her left foot.
"We're happy to be one of the last two teams standing," said Leone. "Some of the greatest qualities of this team are their mental toughness and their resiliency. Going down a goal in this environment, the first time we've played in this big, beautiful stadium, can be overwhelming. For our team to come back from a goal down against a team like Germany shows a great deal about this team. Although they are young, they are very experienced and U.S. Soccer's investment and their commitment to this team has been wonderful to see."
In the nightcap, Canada defeated Brazil 4-3 on penalty kicks, after the teams had battled to a 1-1 draw, to advance to the finals of the inaugural FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship where they will face the United States on Sunday afternoon, a rare FIFA World Championship match between two countries from the same confederation.
Clare Rustad scored for the Canadians at the close of the first half to give the home team a 1-0 lead in the 45th minute, but Brazil's Marta capitalized on a defensive error in the 69th minute to tie it. Canada's star forward Christine Sinclair missed a penalty-kick during the early moments of the 30-minute sudden death overtime period, but later notched one of Canada's four successful spot kicks in the tiebreaker.
Fox Sports World will air the championship game on Sunday between the USA and Canada live at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT. Fans can also follow the action live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
U.S. UNDER-19 WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Participants: U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team vs. Germany
Competition: 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship (Semifinal)
Venue: Commonwealth Stadium - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Date: August 29, 2002 - Kickoff 5:15 p.m. MT
Attendance: Sunny, clear - 75 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1st - 2nd - Final
United States 3 - 1 - 4
Germany 1 - 0 - 1
GER - Linda Bresonik (Anja Mittag), 16.
USA - Lindsay Tarpley (Heather O'Reilly), 28.
USA - Kelly Wilson (Lindsay Tarpley), 30.
USA - Kelly Wilson (Lindsay Tarpley), 45.
USA -Jill Oakes (unassisted), 86.
USA - 18-Ashlyn Harris, 2-Rachel Buehler, 4-Jill Oakes, 3-Jessica Ballweg (11-Keeley Dowling, 46), 10-Leslie Osborne, 8-Kendall Fletcher, 7-Lori Chalupny, 13-Manya Makoski (17-Megan Kakadelas, 65), 9-Heather O'Reilly, 15-Lindsay Tarpley-Capt., 16-Kelly Wilson.
Subs not used: 1-Megan Rivera, 5-Kerri Hanks, 12-Angie Woznuk, 14-Sarah Huffman, 19-Stephanie Ebner.
GER - 1-Miriam Elling, 2-Alexandra Stegmann, 5-Sarah Guenther, 6-Viola Odebrecht (14-Andrea Richter, 82), 12-Jennifer Zietz, 7-Annelie Brendel, 8-Anne-Kathrin Sabel-Capt., 11-Isabell Bachor (10-Barbara Mueller, 46), 15-Christina Krueger, 9-Anja Mittag (16-Patrizia Barucha, 46), 3-Linda Bresonik.
Subs not used: 4-Susanne Kasperczyk, 13-Kerstin Boschert, 17-Thomas Karolin, 18-Nadine Richter.
Statistical Summary: USA / GER
Shots: 18 / 6
Shots on Goal: 7 / 3
Saves: 1 / 2
Corner Kicks: 7 / 4
Fouls: 11 / 8
Offside: 2 / 1
GER - Anja Mittag (caution), 43.
Referee: Krystyna Szokolai (AUS)
Asst. Referee: Liu Hongjuan (CHN)
Asst. Referee: Vibeke Larsen (NOR)
4th Official: Mayumi Oiwa (JPN)