U.S. TEAM FACES DENMARK NEXT IN ALGARVE CUP: Coming of a 0-0 tie with China in the Algarve Cup opener, the U.S. team faces Denmark in both teams’ second Group B match on Saturday, March 11, at Municipal Stadium in Quarteira, Portugal. The match kicks off at 3 p.m. local time / 9 a.m. ET and can be followed live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. With Thursday’s other match in Group B also ending in a draw, as France and Denmark tied, 2-2, each team has one point heading into the second matchday. Should the Americans win their last two games, and score more goals than China, they would book a place in the championship game, but it is still too early to look that far ahead as any one of the four teams in Group B could take first place. The USA had a very light training on Friday, March 10 (photos), with the players who played major minutes against China just jogging and stretching while some of the younger players went 4 v. 4 to big goals on a 20-yard field. The final score was 10-9, with defender Stephanie Lopez scoring the winning goal. Visit the 2006 Algarve Cup competitions page at ussoccer.com for a complete schedule and standings, plus features, podcasts and exclusive all_access video coverage of the WNT in Portugal.
USA vs. DENMARK HISTORY: The USA and Denmark last met at the 2005 Algarve Cup, a somewhat surprising 4-0 victory for the USA that eventually led to the resignation of the Danish coach shortly before the 2004 European Women’s Championships. Kristine Lilly scored twice in that match, including a goal directly off a corner kick, while Abby Wambach and Christie Welsh also added tallies. In the two meetings prior to that game, Denmark had come to the USA and earned a draw (1-1) and a victory (3-1) during two matches of the 2004 Fan Celebration Tour. The USA holds an 11-4-2 all-time record against the Danes, which includes meetings in the 1995 Women’s World Cup (a 2-0 U.S. win), the 1996 Olympics (a 3-0 U.S. win) and the 1999 Women’s World Cup (the famous 3-0 win to open the tournament in front of a sold-out crowd at Giants Stadium). The USA is 4-1-1 all-time against Denmark at the Algarve Cup, with the lone loss coming in 1995.
DANES EYEING CHINA 2007: Denmark is currently atop Group 3 in European Qualifying for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Danes have taken seven points from three games, while second place Spain has seven points from four games. The front-runners tied, 2-2, in Spain in their first WWC qualifier, and a Women’s World Cup spot may hang in the balance when the teams meet in Denmark on April 27. Denmark’s next Group 3 match is on March 26, at Belgium. Only the group winner will advance to the Women’s World Cup in China.
USA vs. DENMARK PREVIEW: The USA has always matched up well against Denmark, with the Americans speed able to counter-act the Danes size and bulk. Denmark, however, does have some extremely talented attackers in the speedy Johanna Rasmussen as well as Merete Pederson, a lethal finisher who plays for Italian club side Torres. She scored three times in the two games against the USA at the end of 2004. The Danes top playmaker is former WUSA import Anne Nielsen, who runs the show from the midfield. Denmark’s talented goalkeeper Tine Cederkvist is not on the roster for this tournament and 22-year-old Heidi Johansen got the nod against France in the 2-2 draw. Denmark’s leader in the back is stoic captain Katrine Pedersen. The 28-year-old plays her club soccer in Sweden and has appeared more than 100 times for her country. Midfielders Cathrine Sorensen and Nielsen scored against France, showing that the Danes can produce goals from the midfield as well. The USA created some excellent chances against China on what was certainly a bumpy field, but will be looking to sharpen up the finishing in Quarteira, where the USA is 3-1-1 all-time in the Algarve Cup. The USA-Denmark game may mark the first time the Americans play against Mia. Danish defender Mia Olsen went 90 minutes in the 2-2 draw with France.
U.S. defender Heather Mitts on Denmark:
“We gained a whole new respect for Denmark after they were the only team to beat us on the 2004 Fan Celebration Tour. We had a great win against them last year and I know they will have that in the back of their minds and will be out for some revenge. We need to match their intensity and their physical play, but we have the team that can do that every game.”
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Jenni Branam, 18-Hope Solo;
DEFENDERS (6): 8-Tina Frimpong, 14-Amy LePeilbet, 21-Stephanie Lopez, 2-Heather Mitts, 3-Christie Rampone, 4-Cat Whitehill;
MIDFIELDERS (7): 7-Shannon Boxx, 13-Kristine Lilly, 11-Carli Lloyd, 15-Marci Miller, 12-Leslie Osborne, 5-Lindsay Tarpley, 10-Aly Wagner;
FORWARDS (5): 6-Natasha Kai, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 16-Amy Rodriguez, 20-Abby Wambach, 19-Christie Welsh.
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Mette Christensen, 16-Heidi Johansen;
DEFENDERS (7): 2-Mia Olsen, 3-Katrine Pedersen, 4-Christina Ørntoft, 5-Mariann Knudsen, 14-Dorte Jensen, 15-Bettina Hansen, 19-Malene Olsen;
MIDFIELDERS (7): 6-Louise Hansen, 7-Cathrine Sørensen, 8-Nanna Johansen, 9-Julie Bukh, 10-Anne Nielsen, 17-Marie Herping, 20-Jane Madsen.
FORWARDS (4): 11-Merete Pederson, 12-Lene Jensen, 13-Johanna Rasmussen, 18-Maiken Pape.
GROUP B UPDATE: On the first matchday in Group B, the Germans showed why they are still the class of Europe with a 5-0 thrashing of Finland. Finland, a surprise semifinalist at the 2005 European Women’s Championship, held Germany scoreless for 60 minutes, then collapsed as the Germans scored all five goals in the final half hour of play. Former WUSA player Conny Pohlers scored twice while FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Birgit Prinz, Kerstin Garefrekes and Melanie Behringer also added goals. Behringer scored the winning strike against the U.S. U-19s in the semifinal match of the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand. In the other match, Sweden and Norway played to a 0-0 draw in a game that saw several excellent chances for the Norwegians. Both Norway and Sweden will be hard-pressed to overtake Germany and win the Group, but the Germans have two tough games ahead against the Scandinavians to earn a place in the Final. Sweden gets the first crack at the European champs on MatchDay 2.
GROUP C UPDATE: In the three-team Group C, Ireland earned a 1-0 win over Portugal as Laura Hislop scored the game’s lone goal in the 30th minute. The loss puts the hosts on its heels to make a placement match with a tough game against Mexico looming on March 13. Mexico plays its first match of the tournament on Saturday, March 11, against Ireland. The third-place team in Group C will not play a placement game.
13th Annual Algarve Cup
Norway, Sweden, Finland & Germany
USA, China PR, Denmark & France
Ireland, Portugal & Mexico
Algarve Cup MatchDay 2 Schedule:
March 11, 2006
Match-up Kickoff City Venue
Finland vs. Norway 3 p.m. local / 10 a.m. ET Alvor Estádio Restinga
Sweden vs. Germany 5:00 p.m. local / Noon ET Loulè Estádio Municipal
USA vs. Denmark 3 p.m. local / 10 a.m. ET Quarteira Estádio Municipal
France vs. China 7:30 p.m. local / 2:30 p.m. ET Loulè Estádio Municipal
Mexico vs. Ireland 4 p.m. local / 11 a.m. ET V.R. de S.A. Estádio Municipal
2006 Algarve Cup Scorers:
Player (Country) Goals
Conny Pohlers (GER) 2
Birgit Prinz (GER) 1
Kerstin Garefrekes (GER) 1
Melanie Behringer (GER) 1
Annie Nielsen (DEN) 1
Cathrine Sorensen (DEN) 1
Amelie Coquet (FRA) 1
Latetitia Tonazzi (FRA) 1
Laura Hislop (IRL) 1
--2006 Algarve Cup Home--
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