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Post-Match Quotes: U.S. WNT 0, Japan 1


U.S. Women's National Team vs. Japan
2012 Algarve Cup
Estadio Algarve; Faro, Portugal
March 5, 2012

U.S. head coach PIA SUNDHAGE
On Japan…
“I think they played like the best team in the world. They kept possession and controlled the attack. Even though we made some changes at halftime, and looked more dangerous in the second half, still they got a goal off a corner. The way they play both defensively and in the attack is very good.”

On the match…
“I think the first half we looked very nervous and the decision making was off. Too many times we gave away the ball in situations when we were not even under pressure or in tight spaces. We couldn’t keep the ball enough to be dangerous. When you give away the ball against Japan, they keep it. It’s so much defending. Mentally and physically, that’s tough, but I am happy with the changes we made at halftime and even parts of the first half where we tried to play more direct. I think we looked more dangerous and came up with a couple of chances, but overall you could tell there is a lot of things to work on and especially looking at Japan, their technique and how they keep the ball. They should be role models for the world, the way they play.”

On playing better in the second half…
“We played a little more direct and especially the wing players. The fact that we do have good players in the box, I expected more crosses. That’s one way to be dangerous for this team, find a way to change the point of attack and hit quality crosses. It was a little better in the second half I think.”

U.S. midfielder HEATHER O’REILLY
On the match…
“Japan played a very tough game against us. I think more than anything, it opens our eyes to areas we can improve in. Better now that we have this experience than later during the Olympics. I think we have a lot to learn from and a lot grow from, but we’re trying to pull the positives out of it.”

On the U.S. team…
“I think we continued to fight and that’s what this team is always about, until 93 minutes we’re pushing for that goal. We had a few more looks at the net in the second half, which is good, but we can learn from the Japanese team that we need to keep the ball.”

U.S. forward ABBY WAMBACH
On Japan finishing their only shot of the second half…
“Obviously the Japanese team is really good at keeping possession of the ball, but they took care of their one opportunity that they really had. Obviously, they had some free kicks and what-not, but that might have been the best chance of the game.”

On Japan…
“The Japanese team is fantastic. They have so many great players. They keep such good possession that it’s really difficult to get a rhythm because you don’t have as much possession as you normally do. It’s something to think about and to move forward with and train against, so when we go to Japan (in April) and maybe see them in the Olympics, we can fare better and play better.”

On facing Japan’s extremely skillful team…
“You have to stay patient and not get so frustrated with the lack of possession. Japanese players are so technical, they force you into pulling yourself out of shape defensively. You have to stay very committed and be patient in the defense and take advantage of the few opportunities you get in a game like that.”

On the match…
“They’re the world champions, so whenever you can test yourself against the world champions is always a great opportunity for your team. You learn a lot. The Japanese team puts every team they play in difficult situations. I’m proud of the way we played today, but the Japan finished their chance and deserved to win. Over the last five years, the Japanese team has by far and away the most improved team. They are the team to beat and we know that.”

U.S. forward ALEX MORGAN
On the match…
“It was a very difficult loss, obviously, but I think today japan was the better team and now we need to look forward to the game against them in Japan (on April 1).”

On the match…
“They are a very possession-oriented team and we struggle with that at times. It was difficult for us to keep possession. We gained some momentum in the second half, but we never fully got it.”

On looking forward…
“I don’t think we did enough to win this match. Japan was the better team today. There are some things we need to work on and looking forward to the Olympics, the next time we meet a team like Japan we will be the better team on the field that day.”

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