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USA to Finish Group B Against Nigeria at 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup


U.S. Women’s National Team Notes
2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Shanghai, China
Sept. 17, 2007

USA TO FINISH GROUP B AGAINST NIGERIA AT 2007 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: The U.S. Women’s World Cup Team heads into its final match in Group B at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in the position afforded a team that took four points off two of the best teams in the tournament during its first two matches. The USA faces Nigeria on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. local (7:55 a.m. ET on ESPN) needing a win or a tie to advance to the quarterfinals. As the USA is knotted with North Korea atop the group – both teams have four points, four goals scored and two allowed – the group title is still up for grabs. The North Korea-Sweden game will be played in Tianjin at the Olympic Center Stadium simultaneously with the U.S. game. In perhaps the most competitive Women’s World Cup ever, where only one team won its first two games (that being Brazil, although its first match was against New Zealand), the USA is looking to emerge from the tournament’s most difficult Group B in first place. While sometimes confusing, the tie-breakers for FIFA tournaments are pretty simple. If two teams are tied on points, goal difference (goals scored minus goals allowed) is the first tie-breaker, followed by most goals scored. If the USA and North Korea post the same score line in victories or ties on Tuesday, they would be knotted on every tie-breaker and the group would then be determined by Fair Play points, in layman’s terms, who has less yellow cards (and/or red cards). The USA currently has one yellow card. North Korea has two.

In order for the USA to win Group B, the following scenarios must play out….

If North Korea defeats Sweden, the USA must:

  1. Win and beat Nigeria by a greater margin than by which North Korea beats Sweden.
  2. Win and beat Nigeria by the same margin than by which North Korea beats Sweden, but score more goals than North Korea.

If North Korea ties Sweden, the USA must:

  1. Defeat Nigeria
  2. Tie Nigeria, and either score more goals in its tie than North Korea, or if both the USA and North Korea score the same amount of goals in their tie, emerge from the match with less overall cards (yellow and red) than North Korea received in its three group matches. The USA currently has one yellow and North Korea has two.

If Sweden defeats North Korea, the USA must:

  1. Tie, or beat Nigeria by any score

For a complete, schedule, scores and standings, fans can log onto the special Women’s World Cup page on www.ussoccer.com.

GROUP A IS FINAL: Germany has won Group A with a 2-0 victory over Japan in Hangzhou while England has finished in second place after downing Argentina in 6-1 in Chengdu. The Japanese, who pulled off two dramatic draws with last second goals in its first two matches, needed to beat the Germans to go through to the quarterfinals. Argentina goes home after losing all three games, but at least they got a goal. The results in Group A mean that the winner of the USA’s Group B will play England and the second place finisher will play the defending champion Germans.

2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup
USA First-Round Schedule
Date          Opponent        Venue (City)                                                                Kickoff        TV
Sept. 11    North Korea    Chengdu (Chengdu Sports Center Stadium)         2-2 T
Sept. 14    Sweden           Chengdu (Chengdu Sports Center Stadium)         2-0 W
Sept. 18    Nigeria            Shanghai (Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium)  8 p.m. / 8 a.m. ET    7:55 a.m. ET on ESPN

2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Group B Standings
Team               W    L    T    PTS    GF    GA    GD    
North Korea    1     0    1      4         4    2    +2
USA                  1     0    1      4         4    2    +2
Nigeria            0     1    1      1          1     3    -2        
Sweden          0     1     1      1         1    3     -2

2007 U.S. WOMEN’S WORLD CUP ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (3): 21-Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), 1-Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), 18-Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.);
DEFENDERS (6): 2-Marian Dalmy (Lakewood, Colo.), 8-Tina Ellertson (Vancouver, Wash.), 14-Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif.), 15-Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), 3-Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), 4-Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.);
MIDFIELDERS (7): 7-Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 17-Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), 16-Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), 19-Marci Jobson (St. Charles, Ill.), 11-Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), 12-Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), 10-Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif.);
FORWARDS (5): 6-Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), 13-Kristine Lilly (Wilton, Conn.), 9-Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), 20-Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).

2007 NIGERIA WOMENS WORLD CUP ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Precious Dede, 12-Tochukwu Oluehi, 21-Aladi Ayegba;
DEFENDERS (7): 3-Ayisat Yusuf, 5-Onome Ebi, 13-Christie George, 14-Faith Ikidi, 16-Ulumma Jerome, 17-Yinka Kudaisi, 19-Lilian Cole;
MIDFIELDERS (5): 2-Efioanwan Ekpo, 6-Gift Otuwe, 9-Ogonna Chukwudi, 15-Maureen Mmadu, 20-Maureen Eke;
FORWARDS (6): 4-Perpetua Nkwocha, 7-Stella Mbachu, 8-Ifeanyi Chiejine, 10-Rita Chikwelu, 11-Chi-Chi Igbo, 18-Cynthia Uwak.

USA vs. NIGERIA PREVIEW

We Meet Again: There is a lot at stake in the match as the Nigerians still have a chance to advance in the tournament, needing a 3-0 win over the USA to move on. That should make the early parts of the game exciting, as the Nigerians will be forced to come out and attack, although they probably don’t know any other way to play. However, an early goal from the USA could be extremely deflating to Nigeria’s hopes and the Americans will be pressing as well, knowing that if both the USA and North Korea win, the USA needs to win by more goals than the North Koreans in order to win the group. The USA has played Nigeria just three times in its history, all in world championship events, winning 7-1 in the 1999 Women’s World Cup, 3-1 in the 2000 Olympics and 5-0 at the 2003 Women’s World Cup. This match is expected to a bit more difficult than the three previous tussles as the Nigerians are coming off a 1-1 tie with Sweden and a 2-0 loss to North Korea, two of the best teams in the world. In 1999, the USA gave up a goal just minutes into the match and roared back for seven unanswered, including six in the first half. In that match, Nigeria committed 29 fouls (to the USA’s three), some of them reckless and dangerous, and the Americans know they are in for a bruising battle.

Rain, Rain, Go Away: Adding to the adverse conditions is that heavy rain is expected in Shanghai on game day as Typhoon Wipha is expected to batter the east coast of China. There is a 90% chance of rain – meaning it’s going to rain – and the already chewed up field at Shanghai Hongkou Stadium will certainly present a most difficult playing surface. Winds could reach between 30 to 55 miles per hour, and as any soccer fan knows, wind wrecks havoc on a soccer game. In short, this probably won’t be a pretty game as both countries will have to gut out the conditions. On defense, the U.S. team will have to keep tabs on the several very fast players who are also elusive dribblers. At the other end of the field, the USA could take advantage of Nigeria on set pieces. Nigeria gave up both goals to North Korea off corner kicks, and in the meeting in 2003, the USA scored four goals off set plays. The only goal in that 5-0 game that was not off a set play was Abby Wambach’s first-ever Women’s World Cup goal. Nigeria has just one goal in the tournament thus far, that coming from star forward Cynthia Uwak, who plays her club ball in Sweden. In fact, seven players on Nigeria’s roster are playing club soccer in northern Europe, four in Sweden, two in Finland and one in Denmark. Forward Stella Mbachu did not have to travel far for the Women’s World Cup. She plays for Tianjin Teda in China.

Nigeria
Current FIFA World Ranking: 24
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  
Key Players:  G Precious Dede, D Yinka Kudaisi, D Faith Ikidi, D Christie George, M Maureen Mmadu, M Ifeanyi Chiejine, M Perpetua Nkwocha, M Efioanwan Ekpo, F Cynthia Uwak F Stella Mbachu.
Language: English

Fast Facts: The No. 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 shown they can compete gamely 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 (she just had a baby girl), but the Falcons still have some talented attacking players … Nigeria’s second World Cup win came over Denmark in 1999 by a 2-0 score … Nigeria had a highly disappointing 2003 Women’s World Cup campaign, failing to score a goal while allowing 11 … 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.

U.S. WNT Quote Sheet

U.S. head coach GREG RYAN
On the Nigeria match:
"Every team in our group is so different. It made it very difficult to prepare in a certain specific style. Nigeria has a lot of skill, great athleticism, speed. In addition to being a very good soccer team they'd make a great track team. They can run. Our approach has been that with each team we face, we have to adjust in order to bring out our best qualities and try to limit theirs."  
 
U.S. captain KRISTINE LILLY
On the Nigeria match:
"I think we play to what our strengths are against different teams. I think we need to play the game more, keep the ball on the ground we have to attack teams, especially Nigeria. We have to go after them and make them be back on their heels and defend. We are looking forward to tomorrow's game, making some things happen and play better soccer overall." 
 
U.S. defender KATE MARKGRAF:
On the Nigeria match:
"As a defender, Nigeria is a team that can lull you to sleep. They will kind of sit in a spot on the field where you don't quite notice them. Then, all of a sudden, they are so fast and so quick that you'll play a ball and they will be able to jump on it and you’re not expecting it. It's going to be a very athletic game. We're going to be running a lot."

U.S. WNT Quick Hits
•    Japanese referee Mayumi Oiwa will be in the middle for the USA’s match against Nigeria. The assistant referees will be Hisae Yoshizawa of Japan and Liu Hsiu Mei of Chinese Taipei.
•    Just five players on Nigeria’s 2007 WWC roster played against the USA during the match in 2003 … Seven U.S. players on its 2007 WWC roster played against Nigeria: Briana Scurry, Kate Markgraf, Cat Whitehill, Shannon Boxx, Aly Wagner, Kristine Lilly, Abby Wambach.
•    Stella Mbachu is the top scorer on the Nigerian squad, have scored 25 goals in 57 career matches. Ifeanyi Chiejine, one of three players left from the team that played in the 1999 Women’s World Cup (when she was 16 years old) has 15 goals in 60 matches.
•    Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium has hosted four games so far in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The stadium will host two more group round games, and the third place and final match on Sept. 30.
•    Despite scoring 12 goals vs. Nigeria in the two previous Women’s World Cups, from this WWC team, only Kristine Lilly (2) and Abby Wambach have tallied against the Super Falcons.
•    With her goals in the first two games of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Abby Wambach joins Mia Hamm (2), Kristine Lilly, Carin Jennings and Tiffeny Milbrett on the list of U.S. players to score each of the first two games. No U.S. player has scored in all three group games at a Women’s World Cup.
•    Cat Whitehill has played 90 minutes in seven consecutive World Cup games, and a total of 675 minutes after coming in at halftime for Brandi Chastain in the opening match of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Carla Overbeck holds the all-time record for field players with 12 games – every game of the 1995 and 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Goalkeeper Briana Scurry played 15 straight complete games.
•    The U.S. team has actually played a match at the Shanghai Hongkou Stadium before, that coming on January 29, 2003, against Germany, a 1-0 win in the Four Nations Tournament. Devvyn Hawkins scored the lone goal for the USA in the match. That match was the last of nine caps that Hawkins earned for the U.S. National Team. A heck of a way to go out.

TARPCARD: U.S. forward Lindsay Tarpley checks in from Shanghai in this latest e-postcard from a player on the U.S. Women’s World Cup Team, giving a bit of insight into the U.S. team coming off the big win over Sweden and heading into the crucial match with Nigeria.

STUDIO 90: CHINA ‘07 IS ONLINE: You can check out “Studio 90: China ’07” on ussoccer.com as the popular web show is rolling in China. Check out the latest episode that includes a Nigeria game preview as well as an interview with U.S. midfielder Leslie Osborne and a special feature on the USA’s Hawaiian forward Natasha Kai.

MIGHT AS WELL FACE IT, YOU’RE ADDICTED TO BLOG: Check out the WNT Blog on ussoccer.com. It’s daily, it’s fun and it only takes a few minutes to read. But like your daily coffee, it can be addictive.

Stat of Note
With three goals in two games, Abby Wambach now has six career Women’s World Cup goals, leaving her just one shy of tying Kristine Lilly and Tiffeny Milbrett for third on the all-time U.S. scoring list in Women’s World Cup matches.
 


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