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U.S. WNT Quote Sheet: Sundhage, OReilly and Wambach Discuss Upcoming Match vs. Germany


U.S. WNT head coach PIA SUNDHAGE
On Germany’s playing style:
“I’m very impressed with the way Germany solves the flank play. They have a solid defense and I would say it’s a little conservative and compact but the interesting thing is how they transition from defending to attacking. They have some personalities in their flank players and they can switch side and that makes a difference. All of the sudden our left back is dealing with a different player with different qualities. When they link up with the forward they’re hard to defend. When you play against them you have to rethink things because they swing the ball around. You have to stay focused at all times and work with the back four because [Germany] is so good in the attacking third. I also think that they connect well with wall passes and diagonal runs, and they have a lot of options going into the attacking third. They’re very interesting.”

On the difference between playing in WPS and the international level:
“First, it’s faster. The decision making has to be so much faster. When you talk tactically, there is a big difference from playing against Germany. You have to change the plans before you go into the game and everything is a bit more crisp and clear, and even more physical. You can ask many coaches and they say the same thing. The league is one thing but when you get to the World Cup or Olympics, it’s another level.”

On how the league has helped with player development and scouting:
“As Abby said, they play day in and day out every week. If you look at a player like Amy Lepeilbet or Buehler, they play every week and improve their game all the time. It’s helped us a lot. Not only that, but they also have a chance to play with different cultures. Buehler now plays with Marta, so she defends against Marta in practice, just to give an example. I think the fact that you mix all of these cultures is very good for the players and that’s good for the national team as well. The fact that we’re watching every week also gives us the chance to keep an eye on some new players.”

U.S. WNT midfielder HEATHER O’REILLY
On the team’s mindset heading into Saturday’s match:
“Our team is full of true competitors, and I think the German team is as well. We are excited about the opportunity. We’re ranked No. 1 and they’re No. 2 right now so it’s very exciting for us to get that kind of quality match and I think both teams love playing against each other and hate playing against each other at the same time. In turn, it makes us each better and stronger.”

U.S. WNT forward ABBY WAMBACH
On the team’s mentality going into a game against one of the best teams in the world:
“The feeling going into a game against Germany is quite different than a game against Mexico, and no disrespect to Mexico. When you go against one of the best teams in the world, it gives you a different emotion where you know you have to be at your best to have even a chance to win. Your teammate to your right has to be feeling the same thing. It’s a different feel. It feels like a World Cup when we step on the field with them. I know when we were there in October, there was a sold out crowd and it was fantastic. Not only to win the game but to do it on their soil was great. I think we have a healthy competitive rivalry that’s been developing over the years and they’ve won the last two World Cups and we’ve won the last two Olympics. I think it’s safe to say that we have a love-hate relationship with them I suppose.”

On how Kristine Lilly’s presence affects the team:
“Kristine is a daily reminder of how we got here and I believe that teams who are confident and successful have to know where they came from before they can take a step. Success isn’t handed to you, it’s earned. And it’s not earned in one moment or one year, this has been going on for many years. Those players from the past are all a part of this, and to have created this tradition, environment and the culture of this team. It’s an evolution absolutely, but it’s a daily reminder of where we came from and the standard that has been set so we have an idea of where we’re going.”
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