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U-19 Women Kickoff World Championship on Thursday Against South Korea

Wednesday, November 10, 2004
U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team
Notes from Phuket, Thailand

U.S. U-19 WOMEN SET TO OPEN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP AGAINST SOUTH KOREA: With the U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team less than 24 hours from opening the second FIFA world championship for youth women, the team held a light 45-minute training at Sarakul Stadium in their first look at the venue that will host its three first round matches in Group C.  The USA begins the FIFA Under-19 World Championship 2004 on Thursday, Nov. 11 at 5 p.m. local (5 a.m. ET) against Asian champions South Korea in what will be a difficult opening match in a difficult group.  The Thai organizers have done a fabulous job with the intimate Sarakul Stadium which seats 15,000.  The horseshoe shaped venue has received a total makeover and it now features a cavalcade of colors, banners and decorations, including four large statues of Chang, the female elephant mascot of the tournament.  The pitch is in excellent condition, cut short, and will play fast, which should play up to the strengths of both teams.  There will be live scoring updates on for those with alarm clocks set early. After the game, check right here to get the result and game report.

GERMANS ROLL, BRAZIL GETS BY ON LATE GOAL ON FIRST DAY OF COMPETITION: The tournament kicked off on Wednesday (Nov. 10) in Bangkok and Chang Mai with four matches in Groups A and B.  In Group A, diminutive Thailand battled gamely, but fell to Germany 6-0 as the European runners-up scored all six goals in the first half, a record for goals scored in a half for this tournament.  Lena Goessling and Celia Okoyino Da Mbabi each scored twice while 2002 U-19 WC veteran Anja Mittag tallied once before the Germans took their foot of the gas.  In the other Group A match, Canada picked up a solid 2-1 win over Australia as University of Nebraska star Brittany Timko tallied twice in the first half, just five minutes apart.  In Group B, China edged Nigeria 1-0 on a 77th minute goal from Zhang Ying, the only player on the U-19s who was on China’s 2004 Olympic Team, and Brazil defeated Italy by a 2-1 score, benefiting from an Italian own goal in the first half before Kelly won it in the 84th minute.  Following is the schedule for the first round of the tournament:

FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Championship 2004 Group Standings
Group A
Team    W    L    T    PTS    GF    GA    GD
GER      1     0    0      3         6       0       +6
CAN      1     0    0      3         2       1       +1
AUS      0     1     0      0        1       2        -1
THA       0    1     0      0         0       6        -6

Nov. 10
Germany 6, Thailand 0
Canada 2, Australia 1

Nov. 13
Germany vs. Australia
Canada vs. Thailand

Nov. 16
Germany vs. Canada
Australia vs. Thailand

Group B
Team    W    L    T    PTS    GF    GA    GD
BRA      1    0    0       3         2       1      +1
CHN      1    0    0       3         1       0      +1
NGA      0    1    0       0         0       1       -1
ITA         0    1    0       0         1       2       -1

Nov. 10
China 1, Nigeria 0
Brazil 2, Italy 1

Nov. 13
China vs. Italy
Brazil vs. Nigeria

Nov. 16
China vs. Brazil
Italy vs. Nigeria
Group C
Team    W    L    T    PTS    GF    GA    GD
ESP       0    0    0       0        0        0       0
KOR       0    0    0       0        0        0       0
RUS       0    0    0       0        0        0       0
USA       0    0    0       0        0        0       0

Nov. 11
South Korea vs. USA
Russia vs. Spain

Nov. 14
USA vs. Russia
Spain vs. South Korea

Nov. 17
USA vs. Spain
Russia vs. South Korea
USA vs. SOUTH KOREA PREVIEW: This will mark the first-ever meeting with the Koreans for the U.S. U-19s, and both teams will likely be on edge in the early going as many players get their first taste of world championship action.  The USA has four players who played at the 2002 U-19 World Championship in Canada, including starting goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, so they will have some veteran leadership on the field.  The Koreans, as always, will be committed and passionate in their play, and the U.S. team will be facing a skillful side that will likely play with three forwards.  The USA will also have to be on guard for the athletic Park Eun Sun, an imposing center back who is perhaps the most dangerous player in the world in the air at the U-19 level.  Best described as the Abby Wambach of South Korea, Park sands 5-foot-10 and weighs in at 150 pounds. A menace on set plays, she scored all three goals for the Koreans in the championship game of Asian qualifying, a 3-0 win over China.  With an attack-minded U.S. team featuring dynamic midfielder Angie Woznuk, the match promises to be a most entertaining opening to Group C. 


GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-JUN Min Kyung, 2-WE Sung Hee, 21-KIM Ju Ok; DEFENDERS (9): 3-LEE Jin Hwa, 4-LEE Ye Eun, 5-YOON Young Geul, 6-PARK Mi Jung, 9-PARK Eun Sun, 12-MOON Seul A, 19-CHA Yun Hee, 20-JEON Jae Min, 18-PANG A Lang; MIDFIELDERS (5): 7-KIM Joo Hee, 8-LEE Jang Mi, 14-RYU Ha Yun, 15-JUNG Mi Jung, 16-SONG Yu Na; FORWARDS (4): 10-PARK Hee Young, 11-PARK Eun Jung, 13-JUNG Sey Hwa, 17-HAN Song I.

GOALKEEPERS (3): 21-Laura COMEAU, 1-Kelsey DAVIS, 18-Ashlyn HARRIS; DEFENDERS (5): 3-Rachel BUEHLER, 19-Meagan HOLMES, 15-Nikki KRZYSIK, 6-Stephanie LOPEZ, 11-Becky SAUERBRUNN; MIDFIELDERS (8): 13-Yael AVERBUCH, 5-Sheree GRAY, 2-Stephanie KRON, 20-Stacy LINDSTROM, 8-Stephanie LOGTERMAN, 12-Alexa ORAND, 4-Jen REDMOND, 10-Angie WOZNUK; FORWARDS (5): 9-Kerri HANKS, 7-Megan RAPINOE, 16-Amy RODRIGUEZ, 17-Jessica ROSTEDT, 14-Meghan SCHNUR.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: The USA qualified for the World Championship at the 2004 CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament held in Canada last June, rolling over the Dominican Republic (14-0) and T&T (11-1), before tying Costa Rica (0-0) in a rainy final group match.  The USA earned its berth to Thailand with a resounding 6-0 victory over Mexico in the semifinal, but dropped the title game to Canada, 2-1 in overtime.  The Koreans beat perennial Asian power China twice, in China, at the Asian Qualifying Tournament in May to earn their berth.  South Korea picked up a huge 2-1 win over China in the opening group game, then roared past Guam (9-0) and edged the Philippines (2-1).  The South Koreans got a good draw for the knockout games, taking down Vietnam in the quarterfinals by a 5-1 score, then avoiding China, North Korea and Japan (which had lost to China in their quarterfinal) in the semifinal to ironically beat Thailand (3-0) to earn a berth to Thailand.  South Korea then showed they were worthy representatives from Asia, beating China 3-0 in the final.

HOW THE TOURNAMENT PLAYS OUT: The FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Championship 2004 features 12 teams drawn into three groups of four teams each.  The top two teams in each group, along with the two best third-place teams, will advance to the knockout quarterfinals.  If there are ties in points at the end of group play, the head-to-head result will be the first tie-breaker, followed by goal difference and then most goals scored.  If the teams are still tied, the FIFA Fair Play point system, which counts yellow and red cards, will be used.  If the teams are still tied, lots will be drawn.  In knockout matches, if the games are tied at the end of regulation, two 15-minute overtimes will be played as the “golden goal” rule has been eliminated.  If the matches are still tied, penalty kicks will ensue.  The rosters for the teams in the tournament are 21 players, up three from the 2002 FIFA U-19 World Championship.  FIFA will once again present the gold, bronze and silver boots to the top three scorers and the gold, bronze and silver balls to the top three players.  There will also be a Fair Play award presented at the end of the tournament.

Every so often when a U.S. Women's National Team plays out of the country, a player will write an e-postcard, filling in the fans back home on the happenings of the team, off-field activities, and anything else on their mind. Today, 19-year-old defender Rachel Buehler checks in from Phuket, Thailand, where the USA is preparing to open the FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship on Thursday. Buehler, who was a member of the 2002 U.S. U-19 World Champions, has recovered from two ACL surgeries in the last two years to make it here. Today, she shares her thoughts on Phuket Island, spotting elephants, how she’s like the “team mom,’ and her second go-around at a world championship. 

GOOD THAI-DINGS, by Kerri and Stacy
With a lot of downtime to fill, and being big fans of the U.S. Soccer website, U.S. U-19 National Team players Kerri Hanks and Stacy Lindstrom decided they wanted to write a diary for Not one to stifle young and talented writers, we complied. While admitting that writing a diary is not as easy as it seems, Stacy and Kerri check in with their first installment from Phulet, Thailand, as they get set for their first match against South Korea in the FIFA U-19 World Youth Championship. While the two couldn’t be more different – Lindstrom is a six-foot blond midfielder from Orange County, Calif. (yes, the OC), who attends UCLA, and Hanks is a 5-foot-6 brunette forward from Allen, Texas, who will be attending Notre Dame -- the two combined to chat about Kerri’s dancing talents, the team’s fright and flight reflexes and opening the world championship tomorrow.

U.S. Quote Sheet:
U.S. head coach Mark Krikorian on South Korea:
“For them to have won Asia is fantastic because we have a lot of respect for both the Chinese and Japanese, and for the Korea Republic to come out first gives them a lot of respect in our eyes.  They have a very good team all over the place and have a special player in Sun Park, so we’re going to have to be very organized and disciplined to be successful against them.”

Krikorian on the U.S. team:
“We have a very good team spirit.  We are strong over the field, but the defending and goalkeeping we have is outstanding. Sometimes it’s best in soccer to develop a team from the back.  I think we’ve accomplished that and that will be a strength in the tournament.”

Krikorian on the Group C:
“Our group is very talented.  We have the champion out of Europe, the champion out of Asia and a very good Russian team.  When we saw the draw, we thought we’d been given three very good opponents.  We have respect for all three and know we have to be very good to compete in this group.”

Forward Megan Rapinoe on the first match:
“I’m totally excited.  It’s a real game that means something and we will have a bunch of family watching us. We’ve been training for two years I can’t wait to put on the jersey, warm-up at the stadium and listen to the national anthem.”

Rapinoe on the South Koreans:
“They are going to be a quality team, like all the teams here.  We’ve watched film on them and they have their strengths and weakness just like everyone, but we have to focus on us. If we play our style, I think we’ll be alright.”

U.S. goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris on the team’s focus:
“It’s beautiful here and we couldn’t be in a nicer place.  The team is definitely enjoying it, but we know what we are here for.  We are not here to lay out on the beach all day, and we’re not walking around in the sun.  We’re here for a reason. We’re here to play and we want to win, so we are focused.”

Harris on her role as team captain:
“It’s definitely a pressure.  It’s not easy, but I know I am doing this for a reason and I accept my role.  It’s not a bad pressure, it’s a good pressure.”

Quote of the Day:
U.S. goalkeeper Kelsey Davis hypothesizing why the USA was placed in Group C at the FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Championship:

“I’m pretty sure that Group C stands for Group Coolest!”