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WNT Set for Italy in Second 2008 Algarve Cup Match


U.S. Women’s National Team
Notes from The Algarve, Portugal
Thursday, March 6, 2008


U.S. TEAM FACES ITALY IN SECOND GAME AT ALGARVE CUP: Coming off a dominating 4-0 win over China in its Algarve Cup opener, the U.S. team faces Italy in its second Group B match on Friday, March 7, at Restinga Stadium in Alvor. The match kicks off at 1:45 p.m. local time / 8:45 a.m. ET and can be followed live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. With the other match in Group B seeing Norway down Italy, 4-2, the USA is in first place in the group heading into the second match day of the tournament and will be looking for a good result to set up a Group B decider against Norway on March 10. The USA had a very light training on Thursday, March 6, on yet another wonderful day in the Algarve, highlighted by a game of “cross bar” to end training. (For the winners, check out the WNT Blog.) Log on to the Algarve Cup competitions page at ussoccer.com for a complete schedule and standings, plus features and exclusive all_access video coverage of the WNT in Portugal.

U.S. WNT 2008 Algarve Cup Schedule
Date           Matchup                  Venue          Stadium                         Kickoff Time
March 5     USA 4, China 0      Albufeira      Municipal Stadium
March 7     USA vs. Italy            Alvor             Restinga Stadium       1:45 p.m. local / 8:45 a.m. ET
March 10   USA vs. Norway     Alvor             Restinga Stadium       3 p.m. local / 11 a.m. ET
March 12   Placement Match  TBD              TBD                                TBD

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS: Due to daylight savings in the United States, the USA’s third group match against Norway on March 10 will begin at 11 a.m. ET, not 10 a.m. ET as previously printed. Fans can follow that match on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, which should be easier for fans as it’s closer to lunch time (if you are at work on the East Coast and secretly watching MT instead of working) and not as early to get up (if you are on the West Coast).

OPPONENT CAPSULE: ITALY
Current FIFA World Ranking: 14
2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Results: Did not play
Overall Record vs. USA: 4-6-1
Italy record vs. the USA at Algarve Cup: First meeting
Last Meeting vs. USA: October 23, 2003, in Kansas City, Mo. (2-2 T)
Coach: Pietro Ghedin
Algarve Cup Finals: None (7th in 1995, 3rd in 2004)
Key Players: Patrizia Panico, Melania Gabbiadini, Tatiana Zorri, Pamela Conti.

USA vs. ITALY FAST FACTS: The USA and Italy haven’t met in more than four years, with the last game a 2-2 draw in a match after the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup … In that game, Italy actually scored three goals, two for themselves and one for the USA … U.S. forward Heather O’Reilly scored her first-ever full WNT goal as a 17-year-old against Italy in October of 2002 in a 4-0 win … The USA has never played Italy at the Algarve Cup, but in 2001, the USA traveled to Italy before the Algarve Cup to face Italy and lost 1-0 on a goal in the final minutes … That U.S. team was made up of all young players as the veterans were getting ready for the first WUSA season … The USA and Italy may not play very often (just 11 times since 1985), but the two teams are inextricably linked in U.S. history as the Italians were the opponents in the first-ever full international match ever played by the U.S. women in 1985. Italy won 1-0 and, in fact, won the first three games between the teams, but have won just one of the eight matches since … U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage made all six of her allowed substitutes against China, all in the second half ... Cat Whitehill, Leslie Osborne and Hope Solo (a combined 232 caps) were the only players not to get on the field – Now that’s a deep bench.

2008 U.S. Algarve Cup Roster:
USA: GOALKEEPERS (2): 24-Nicole Barnhart, 18-Hope Solo; DEFENDERS (7): 26-Rachel Buehler, 17-Lori Chalupny, 14-Stephanie Cox, 13-Tobin Heath, 15-Kate Markgraf, 3-Christie Rampone, 4-Cat Whitehill; MIDFIELDERS (6): 7-Shannon Boxx, 16-Angela Hucles, 11-Carli Lloyd, 12-Leslie Osborne, 5-Lindsay Tarpley, 10-Angie Woznuk; FORWARDS (5): 8-Lauren Cheney, 6-Natasha Kai, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 19-Amy Rodriguez, 20-Abby Wambach.

2008 Italy Algarve Cup Roster:
ITALY: GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Chiara Marchitelli, 12-Anna Picarelli; DEFENDERS (7): 2-Sara Gama, 3-Roberta D’Adda, 6-Giulia Perelli, 12-Giorgia Motta, 14-Cristina Cassanelli, 15-Laura Neboli, 18-Nene Bissoli Nhaga; MIDFIELDERS (5): 4-Alessia Tuttino, 10-Tatiana Zorri, 16-Pamela Conti, 17-Carolina Pini, 20-Giulia Domenichetti; FORWARDS (4): 8-Melania Gabbiadini, 9-Patrizia Panico, 11-Silvia Fuselli, 19-Ilaria Mauro.

GROUP A UPDATE: Germany lost its first Group A match last year, 2-1, to Norway, and was upset again this year, falling 1-0 to Denmark as the Danes star strikef Merete Pederson tallied in the 47th minute. The Germans lost a shocking three matches last year at the Algarve, but then of course went on to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Lesson from the Germans: results of the spring can mean little come Fall, but still, it was a surprising defeat for the full-strength Germans whose club season is in full swing. Long-time goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg made her return to the nets after recovering from ACL surgery.

GROUP B UPDATE: The USA’s four goals – and resulting +4 goal difference – could come back to make a big difference in winning the group, especially after Norway also scored four, but let in two against Italy. After Elise Thorsnes opened the scoring for Norway in the ninth minute, Patrizia “The Scorpion” Pancio tied the game in the 35th minute. Norway went ahead two minutes into the second half and then got a penalty kick in the 63rd and a capper in the 74th. Italy’s goal in the 86th by Melania Gabbiadini meant little to the match, but a lot to the goal difference in a tournament where a place in the championship game can often come down to just that.

SHE’S A PLAYER: U.S. defender/midfielder Lori Chalupny is quite a versatile young lady. Check out her positional history and her thoughts on bouncing form the midfield to the back line in this story on ussoccer.com.

TERRIFIC TEEN: U.S. defender/midfielder Tobin Heath scored her first full WNT goal against China in the opening match. ussoccer.com sat down with Tobin as she answered 11 questions before the tournament started. To read about her thoughts on getting comfortable with the environment of the senior team, her unique name and her future as a big wave surfer (not), click here.

VIDEO ALGARVE: Tou can check out the videos from the Algarve Cup on ussoccer.com, including highlights of the USA’s 4-0 win over China to open the tournament. Coming soon: all_access video goes One-on-One with U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage.

BLOGARVE: The WNT Blog has been chugging away at the Algarve Cup, and despite some Internet connectivity issues, we’ve managed to add a bunch of photos and even videos. If you’ve missed it, you can catch up by logging onto the WNT Blog.

19 PLAYERS, ONE GOAL: There were 19 goals scored on the first match day of the Algarve Cup, and like last year (when there were 18), all were scored by different players, meaning the race for this year’s Top Scorer Award is wide open.

2008 Algarve Cup Scorers:
Player (Country)                  Goals
Merete Pederson (DEN)       1
Leena Puranen (FIN)            1
Hanna Ljungberg (SWE)      1
Nilla Fischer (SWE)               1
Therese Lundin (SWE)         1
Lindsay Tarpley (USA)          1
Tobin Heath (USA)                1
Abby Wambach (USA)          1
Carli Lloyd (USA)                   1
Elise Thorsnes (NOR)         1
Lene Storlokken (NOR)        1
Ane Horpestad (NOR)          1
Leni Kaurin (NOR)                1
Patrizia Panico (ITA)             1
Melania Gabbiadini (ITA)     1
Carla Couto (POR)               1
Sofia Viera (POR)                  1
Dora Stefansdottir (ICE)       1
Margret Vidarsdottir (ICE)    1

OLYMPIC QUALIFYING LOOMS: While the focus of the U.S. players is on the next game against Italy as well as advancing to the Algarve Cup championship game, the qualifying tournament for the 2008 Olympics is, of course, on their minds. The Algarve Cup matches will be the final official games before the USA heads to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, at the end of March for the 2008 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying to be held from April 2-12. The USA opens the tournament on April 4 vs. Jamaica before facing Mexico on April 6. Both games will be played in the Estadio Olímpico Benito Juarez, which will host all 10 games during the qualifying tournament. The top two teams from Group A will advance to the semifinals, where they will cross over to face the top two teams from Group B, which includes Canada, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago. The winners of the April 9 semifinals will qualify for the 2008 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Beijing.

2008 U.S. Women’s National Team Upcoming Schedule
Date       Opponent              Location                                                                                         Kickoff
April 4     Jamaica                Estadio Olímpico Benito Juarez (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico)   7:30 p.m. CT
April 6     Mexico                    Estadio Olímpico Benito Juarez (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico)   1:30 p.m. CT
April 9     Semifinal               Estadio Olímpico Benito Juarez (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico)   TBD
April 12   Final/Third Place Estadio Olímpico Benito Juarez (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico)    TBD

Stat of Note
Sweden took command of the group with a 3-1 win over Finland as their star forward Hanna Ljungberg scored her 72nd career goal, passing – you guessed it – Pia Sundhage, as the all-time leading scorer for Sweden.

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