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U.S. WNT to Round Out Algarve Cup Group Play vs. Finland


U.S. Women’s National Team
2011 Algarve Cup Notes
The Algarve, Portugal
Sunday, March 6

USA FINISHES GROUP A WITH FINLAND, PREPS FOR ALGARVE CUP FINAL: With the rare luxury of qualifying for the Algarve Cup Final after just two group matches, the USA will face Finland on Monday, March 7, at Municipal Stadium in Quarteira (10 a.m. ET) to finish Group A. With victories over Japan (2-1 on March 2) and Norway (2-0 on March 4), the United States clinched first place in the group and a berth to the Algarve Cup Final on March 9 at the Stadium Algarve with the opponent still to be determined after the winner of Group B is decided. The berth to the championship game is the remarkable ninth straight year that the U.S. team has won its group and advanced to the final, which this year will kick off at 5 p.m. local (12 p.m. ET). Fans can follow the action from the USA’s last group game and the title game on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and Twitter @ussoccer_wnt. Complete Algarve Cup results and standings, as well as links to other U.S. content, are available on the Algarve Cup competition page at ussoccer.com.

U.S. WNT 2011 Algarve Cup Results/Schedule
Date        Opponent            Result/Time (Local/ET)   Venue
March 2   Japan                  2-1 W                           Estádio Municipal; VR de SA
March 4   Norway               2-0 W                           Estádio Municipal; VR de SA
March 7   Finland               3 p.m. / 10 a.m.             Estádio Municipal; Quarteira
March 9   Championship      5 p.m. / Noon               Stadium Algarve

Group A

Team    GP     W    L     T    GF    GA     GD     Pts. 
USA    2    2   0    0    4   1    +3    6 
JPN    2    1   1    0   6   2     +4    3
NOR    2    1   1    0   2   3   -1    3 
FIN    2    0   2    0   1   7    -6    0 


March 2
USA 2, Japan 1
Norway 2, Finland 1

March 4
USA 2, Norway 0
Japan 5, Finland 0

March 7
USA vs. Finland
Japan vs. Norway

GROUP A RECAP: The USA scored a goal in each half and could have had a few more in a 2-0 victory against Norway on the second match day. Japan thrashed Finland 5-0 in the other group match, but that won’t be enough to overtake the USA. Japan and Norway play on March 7 and the winner would total six points, but even if the USA was to lose to Finland to finish group play with six points as well, the first tie-breaker is the head-to-head result, and with the Americans already having wins over Japan and Norway, the group title has been secured. With Finland at minus-6 goal difference, Japan and Norway will be playing for second place in the group and a berth in the third place match.

GROUP B RECAP: Iceland continued its winning ways and pulled within one point of qualifying for its first Algarve Cup Final by defeating China 2-0 on two goals from Margret Vidarsdottir for its second win of the tournament. Not only has Iceland never advanced to the Algarve Cup Final, they've never finished higher than sixth place. Still, the group is wide open as Denmark or Sweden could also make the championship. Iceland faces Denmark in its group final and controls its own destiny as a win or a tie will send them to the title game. Sweden, coming off a 3-1 win against Denmark on two goals from Jessica Landstrom and one from Josefine Oqvist, can win the group with a 1-0 win over China if Denmark edges Iceland by one goal. If Sweden beats China and Denmark beats Iceland that will mean that Iceland, Sweden and Denmark will all have six points. In that case, it comes down to goal difference which is close as well with Iceland currently at plus-2, Sweden at plus-1 and Denmark at minus-1. Therefore, Denmark-Iceland and Sweden-China, which both take place at 10 a.m. ET (the same as the USA-Finland match), hold intrigue. Denmark is attempting to make its sixth final, although it has lost all five previous championship games, two to the USA.

Group B

Team    GP     W    L     T    GF    GA     GD     Pts. 
ISL   2    2   0    0    4   2    +2    6 
SWE   2    1   1    0   4   3     +1    3
DEN   2    1   1    0   2   3   -1    3 
CHN   2    0   2    0   1   3    -2    0 


GROUP C RECAP: After scoring three times against Wales on the first match day, Portugal drew 0-0 with Chile, but those four points still put the hosts atop Group C. Wales rebounded to defeat Romania, 2-1, on the second match day. Portugal faces Chile in its final group match and a win will give them the top spot in the group and a berth to the seventh place match against the best fourth place team from Groups A or B. Wales and Romania, with three points each, could also take top honors in the group with wins in their final matches.

OPPONENT CAPSULE: Finland
Current FIFA World Ranking: 16
All-Time Algarve Cup Results: 8-52-9
Overall USA Record vs. Finland: 13-0-0
USA record vs. Finland at Algarve Cup: 5-0-0
USA most recent meeting with Norway: Jan. 18, 2008 (a 4-1 U.S. win at the Four Nations Tournament in Shanghai, China)
Coach: Andrée Jerglertz
Finland Algarve Cup Finals: 0
Finland Key Players: M Tiina Salmen, M Katri Nokso-Kovisto, M Anna-Kaisa Rantanen,F Laura Kalmari

USA vs. Finland Fast Facts: Finland has never defeated the USA in 13 previous matches, including five at the Algarve Cup … In the most recent meeting at the Algarve Cup in 2007, the USA won 1-0 on a goal from Carli Lloyd … 14 of Finland’s 20-player roster play club soccer outside the country, including Laura Kalmari who plays with Heather O’Reilly and Tobin Heath on Sky Blue FC … Finland has attended all 18 Algarve Cup tournaments and has not found much success … In fact, its 52 losses in the tournament are a tournament record … Finland’s highest finish was fifth, but that was in 1995 in the second Algarve Cup … The USA has gotten goals from four different players so far in the tournament and none of them are named Abby Wambach … Amy Rodriguez, Megan Rapinoe, Lindsay Tarpley and Carli Lloyd have found the net thus far … Wambach’s first career goal came against Finland on April 27, 2002, and just two of her 117 career scores have come against the Fins … Tobin Heath’s first career cap came against Finland in the most recent meeting between the two teams in January of 2008 … In 13 games against the United States, Finland has scored just two goals … The USA has a 4-1-1 all-time record at the Quarteira venue, last playing there in 2006 in a 5-0 victory against Denmark … The match will be a meeting of two Swedish coaches with the USA’s Pia Sundhage and Finland’s Andrée Jerglertz … Carli Lloyd’s goal against Norway was the 25th of her career, making her just the 16th U.S. player to reach that milestone.

2011 U.S. Algarve Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): 18-Nicole Barnhart (Philadelphia Independence), 24-Ashlyn Harris (Western New York Flash)
DEFENDERS (6): 19-Rachel Buehler (Boston Breakers), 14-Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), 25-Whitney Engen (Western New York Flash), 11-Ali Krieger (FFC Frankfurt), 3-Christie Rampone (magicJack's Washington Freedom), 22-Becky Sauerbrunn (magicJack's Washington Freedom)
MIDFIELDERS (8): 7-Shannon Boxx (magicJack's Washington Freedom), 17-Tobin Heath (Sky Blue FC), 16-Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), 10-Carli Lloyd (Atlanta Beat), 21-Kelley O’Hara (Boston Breakers), 9-Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC), 15-Megan Rapinoe (Philadelphia Independence), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (magicJack's Washington Freedom)
FORWARDS (4): 12-Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers), 13-Alex Morgan (Western New York Flash), 8-Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), 20-Abby Wambach (magicJack's Washington Freedom)

2011 Finland Algarve Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Minna Meriluoto (Hammarby IF, SWE), 12-Tinja-Riikka Korpela (Kolbotn IL, NOR)
DEFENDERS (7): 2-Petra Vaelma (Kleep IL), 3-Tuija Hyyrynen (Umea IK, SWE), 4-Maija Saari (Kolbotn IL, NOR), 5-Elina Syrojala (HJK), 6-Tiina Salmen (Kleep IL), 8-Katri Nokso-Kovisto (VFL Wolfsburg, GER), 11-Susanna Lehtinen (KIF Orebro, SWE)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 7-Annika Kukkonen (FC Malmo, SWE), 10-Anna-Kaisa Rantanen (VFL Wolfsburg, GER), 13-Hanne Ojanpera (KF-10), 16-Pernilla Nordlund (Umea IK, SWE), 17-Emmi Alanen (HJK), 19-Essi Sainio (SC Freiburg, GER)
FORWARDS (5): 9-Laura Kalmari (Sky Blue FC), 14-Marianna Tolvanen (HJK), 15-Leena Puranen (Hammarby IF, SWE), 18-Linda Sallstrom (Linkopings FC, SWE), 20-Annica Sjolund (Jitex BK, SWE)

OQVIST BAGS 1000th ALGARVE GOAL: With 990 goals being scored all-time in the Algarve Cup heading into the second match day of the tournament, the lottery of who would score the 1000th came up Swedish as forward Josefine Oqvist scored the M goal, the second of the game for her country, in a 3-1 victory over Denmark. Oqvist’s teammate Jessica Landstrom scored the 1,001st seven minutes later and the USA’s Carli Lloyd scored the 1,002nd four minutes after that.

VIDEO ALGARVE: There are plenty of highlights from the U.S. games on ussoccer.com, but we’ve also put together a few videos. You can check out the USA’s first training, a Trick Shot Battle between Tobin Heath and Yael Averbuch, some highlights of the USA’s training match vs. Portugal, an update on the comeback from shoulder surgery by goalkeeper Hope Solo and a look at Rachel Buehler’s pre-practice rituals.

MEGAN’S TIME: Megan Rapinoe used the Algarve Cup last year to mount a comeback into the U.S. National Team. Now she’s hoping the tournament will give her a push into a consistent starting spot and a place on the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team. Her goal against Japan in the USA’s opening game was certainly a means to that end. Read about Megan’s evolution in this special feature for ussoccer.com.

KICK IT LIKE KRIEGER: Defender Ali Krieger has taken the path less traveled to the U.S. National Team, to say the least. As the USA’s only player based abroad, she’s lived quite an adventure over the past four years. Krieger means “warrior” in German and she’s proved to be just that as she fights for a spot on the USA’s 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team. Ready about her journey, and how it has come full circle, in this exclusive feature for ussoccer.com.

Stat of Note
The USA qualified for its ninth consecutive Algarve Cup championship game this year. The USA has faced five different teams in the final during the past eight years: Germany (three times), Sweden, Denmark (twice), Norway and China. This will be the USA’s 11th overall Algarve Cup Final.

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