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Post-Match Quote Sheet: WNT Wins Four Nations Tournament vs. China

U.S. WNT head coach Pia Sundhage and select players discuss the team's 1-0 win against China, which captured the 2008 Four Nations Tournament title and first-ever title with the U.S. team for Sundhage.

U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage

On the match:
“I am of course very happy for the coaching staff and for the players. It is great to win this tournament. I am also very happy with the way we played. The Chinese team forced us to change the system from the first half to the second half. The defending of the China team was also challenging, which was good, because that is what it is all about. At the end of the day, it was speed (that made the difference). You get tired after a while and the header that Boxx put in the goal was just excellent. It was a good finish for us in this tournament.”

On China’s tactics:
“They played low-pressure and were very compact and we had a hard time penetrating. But we kept possession and I am very happy about our defending because at some points, they had a quick transition. The back four did a great job so I felt pretty nice to sit on the bench and watch how they defended.”

On switching formations at halftime:
“The hardest part is to penetrate and that’s why we changed in the second half and put three up top, played 4-3-3 and tried to get as wide as possible. A player like Tobin Heath on the left side did great, and Heather O’Reilly on the right side also had a good performance. It was nice to see our speed and eventually we got that goal.”

On the players, especially young players, coming off the bench:
“It’s great, because I am telling them over and over again that the bench is important. It’s not about 11 players or one coach, it’s about the team. So the fact that they are coming off the bench and doing a great job to make the difference, that is so important. The games we will go and play, we will need everybody.”

U.S. forward Abby Wambach:

On the USA’s performance in the tournament:
“Pia and I talked about this when she first came on as coach, and all around the field, we are just going to have to be more patient. We’re trying not to play as direct a style as we played in the past, and I think it shows….It’s really great to see some of the younger players show up…I’m thrilled for the younger players and also for Pia, who got her first tournament win under her belt.”

“All the way around, what a great experience in China, maybe the best trip we’ve ever had in China…but there is a lot more to come and hopefully in the future we can keep scoring goals in the run of play and keep our style of play as exciting as we can.”

On the impact for the future on the team of playing well and winning the tournament:
“Coming in and playing a tournament like this, and winning it no less, just keeps building the younger players’ confidence. And that’s what we need. It’s something that we lacked during the World Cup and that’s something we’re trying to build on. When there are 50,000 people in the stands if we come back here after we hopefully qualify for the Olympics in the summer time, the pressures change. You get a bigger situation, you get more pressure and you just have to learn how to deal with that and that’s harder for younger players. This is great experience, coming to China, playing against China having a bit of a hostile environment, learning how to deal with not hearing your teammates so well, just having to play soccer and win the game.”

U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo

On young defense performing well:
“I think everyone enjoyed it very much. We didn’t play with nerves like you would think. It was the first cap for many defenders and they weren’t nervous. I think (Christie Rampone) really led the way because she kept them calm and organized and we went out there and posted plenty of shutouts. It was great.”

On her big save of a Han Duan shot early in the game:
“I thought she caught me off my line. I was reading the through ball so I started to cheat off my line and I swear the forward and I made eye contact. I saw that she was about to chip me so I quickly made it back to my line and made the save.”

U.S. midfielder Shannon Boxx

On playing against China’s low-pressure:
“We knew that they were a very patient team on the ball, but I think it kind of surprised how far they sat back. So it took a little bit to get used to that…but it is patience. I think we did a really good job of waiting and trying to find the right moment (to attack) because China is very organized defensively. I think by the second half we had them where we knew we had to let (Heather O’Reilly) beat them one-on-one and that’s how we were going to beat them and get them out of shape.”

On the young players on the roster:
“We have a lot of new players that came on this trip. They got a lot of good looks and I think they all did a great job. That will only help this team improve as we move forward to Olympic qualifiers. We now have the month of February to continue to prepare and I think this gave them much more confidence moving to the next step.”