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U.S. WNT vs. Denmark: Post-Match Quotes - March 10, 2014

U.S. WNT vs. Denmark
Post-Match Quotes – March 10, 2014
Algarve Cup – Group B

U.S. WNT head coach TOM SERMANNI
On the first half:
“I think we started the game very sluggishly, that’s what went wrong. We were too slow and too predictable and we allowed Denmark to dictate how the game was going to be played. I thought tactically they defended very well, and we really never posed them any problems because we didn’t vary how we played at all. We didn’t threaten in behind them and then they were pretty devastating on the break. To be honest, in transition, we were equally slow and sluggish and we got punished for that and they had some excellent finishes.”

On giving up the first goal against a team content to sit back and defend:
“It just makes them sit in there even more. It also makes every breakdown and every missed pass feel more stressful and it can start to erode the players’ confidence. It starts to affect your rhythm of play and starts to affect your tempo, and as a result of that, things can combine and things can sort of go downhill. I think that was what happened in the first half.”

On rebounding in the second half:
“Credit to the players. They came out in the second half and changed it around. Tactically, we did some things that started to put Denmark under pressure and when we do those things well, we become a really potent team.”

On the Algarve Cup group play:
“It’s been a strange tournament, but that’s a great lesson because that’s how tournament football is sometimes. Things can turn very quickly in your favor or turn against you. If you look analytically at the three games we’ve played, Japan barley had a chance against us and scored on a free kick. We dominated that game and had many chances to score. Similar story with Sweden, who didn’t actually have many shots at goal all game, and again we dominated (possession) and created chances and didn’t score. Today was different, our first half performance was poor, but we got ourselves into the game in the second half, we just never finished it off to get (a positive result.)”

On the halftime topics:
“We talked about what we had to do get back in the game. The few things we had to do were up the tempo with how we played and secondly start winning the second balls to assert some authority on the match, but mostly we talked about getting balls in behind them and putting them under pressure. We had to get them running back towards their goal and start to stretch the game so we could gain more possession on the ground. I think we actually did that in the second half, and as soon as we started doing that, we started creating chances and we started dominating the game. I think if you look at chances in the second half, we could have got ourselves in the game and won the game, but when you are chasing three goals that becomes very, very difficult.”

On Denmark’s counter-attack:
“We gave away some very bad goals on the break and that was something we had dealt with well in the previous two games. We were well-organized defensively to deal with transitions against us, but today, in fairness to Denmark, they broke very well and caused us some more problems and scored on breakaways.”

On having chances to tie the match before giving up a final goal:
“At 4-3, I thought we were going to get back in the game, going to at least get a draw and maybe go onto win the game. We hit the post and had an offside goal, but when it starts to get desperate near the end, you are talking all sorts of chances and there’s always a chance you will get caught on the break and that’s what happened.”

U.S. midfielder MEGAN RAPINOE
On looking forward:

“We’re seven months away from qualifiers and even longer from the World Cup, and for the most part, everyone is fit and healthy going into the NWSL season. Of course, we want to have to better results, but it’s not time to get to down on ourselves or be panicked. No one wins every game in football and these last two games we played excellent teams and just didn’t get it done.”

On the match:
“Obviously, that’s not good enough. I think they jumped all over us early and that set the tone, but we had a ton of fight in the second half and will be positive going forward, but overall we need to put a better game together than that.”

On the match:

“Denmark was a good side. We have to give them credit for their transition and they were well organized definitely and that helped their attack. Unfortunately, we were off today in our spacing and shape defensively, and when we play high level teams, they will exploit mistakes and finishes their chances and Denmark did that today.”

On the second half:
“We came out better in the second half. We came out with energy and focus even though we were down 3-0 and we played well enough to tie that game, but we have to focus on the little things to make it happen.”

On looking forward:
“The results in this tournament are obviously not up to our standards. We have to re-focus and re-evaluate and we will get better leading into the rest of the year. A lot of young players got some time against great teams and that can only help moving forward.”