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WNT Get Set for Opening Match of Peace Queen Cup


U.S. WOMEN SET FOR PEACE QUEEN CUP OPENER AGAINST AUSTRALIA: There are not too many unknowns between the USA and Australia as the two teams have already battled for more than 180 minutes this year, both games amazingly ending with stoppage time winning goals by the USA, on April 27 in Cary, N.C. (3-2) and Birmingham, Ala. (5-4). The Americans have been in Seoul, South Korea, for six days now and will face the Aussies on Sunday afternoon June 15 at 2 p.m. local time (1 a.m. ET) as Group B play gets underway. Brazil will face Italy at 5 p.m. local time after the U.S. game. The U.S. team has about an hour drive from its base in Seoul to the suburb of Suwon, where all the matches of the tournament are being played at two stadiums, Group A at the Suwon World Cup Stadium (44,000 capacity) and Group B at the Suwon Spots Complex (27,000). As the USA underwent final preparations for the opening of the tournament, all_access video got a few words from head coach Pia Sundhage, defender Kate Markgraf and midfielder Shannon Boxx. The USA carries a 13-0-1 record for 2008 into the Peace Queen Cup with just seven or eight matches (eight if the USA makes the championship game of the PQC) left before the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

U.S. WNT Peace Queen Cup Schedule
Date         Opponent                  Venue                                        City                                   Kickoff / ET
June 15   USA vs. Australia     Suwon Sports Complex         Suwon, South Korea    2 p.m. / 1 a.m.
June 17   USA vs. Brazil           Suwon Sports Complex         Suwon, South Korea     2 p.m. / 1 a.m.
June 19   USA vs. Italy              Suwon Sports Complex         Suwon, South Korea     5 p.m. / 4 a.m.  

TOURNAMENT FORMAT: Each of the eight teams will play round-robin within the groups with the group winners advancing to the championship game on June 21 at Suwon World Cup Stadium. There will be no other placement matches in the tournament. As usual, if teams are tied on points after the finish of group play, the first tie-breaker is goal difference and the second is goals scored. For a complete Peace Queen Cup schedule, click here.

KOREAN COMEBACK AS GROUP A IS UNDERWAY: The Peace Queen Cup got off to a rousing start on the evening of June 14 as hosts South Korea came from behind to defeat New Zealand, 2-1, in front of 31,842 fans at the Suwon World Cup Stadium. (That crowd would rank as the fifth largest ever to watch the USA outside of the United States). The Kiwi’s went ahead through Kristy Yallop in just the 13th minute, but the Koreans dramatically rallied for two goals in a three-minute span about 15 minutes into the second half as Kwon Hah Nul tallied in the 58th followed by a goal from Park Hee Young just two minutes later. In the other Group A match, Canada had little trouble with Argentina, winning 5-0 on two goals from Christine Sinclair, and one each from Diana Matheson, Melissa Tancredi and Brittany Timko.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster
2008 Peace Queen Cup – Suwon, South Korea
GOALKEEPERS (3): 24-Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), 1-Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), 18-Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.) 

DEFENDERS (6): 26-Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif.), 17-Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), 14-Stephanie Cox (Elk Grove, Calif.), 15-Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), 2-Heather Mitts (Cincinnati, Ohio), 3-Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.)

MIDFIELDERS (8): 7-Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 13-Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), 16-Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), 11-Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), 9-Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), 10-Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif.), 21-Kacey White (Arlington, Texas)

FORWARDS (4): 8-Lauren Cheney (Indianapolis, Ind.), 6-Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), 19-Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.), 20-Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.)

Australia Women’s National Team Roster
2008 Peace Queen Cup – Suwon, South Korea
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Melissa Barbieri, 18-Lydia Williams

DEFENDERS (8): 2-Kate McShea, 3-Karla Reuter, 4-Dianne Alagich, 5-Cheryl Salisbury, 16-Lauren Colthorpe, 19-Clare Polkinghorne, 23-Kim Carroll, 32-Ellyse Perry

MIDFIELDERS (5): 6-Amber Neilson, 7-Heather Garriock, 13-Amy Chapman, 14-Collette McCallum, 20-Joanne Burgess

FORWARDS (5): 11-Lisa De Vanna, 8-Caitlin Munoz, 12-Kate Gill, 24-Kyah Simon, 25-Jenna Tristram

OPPONENT CAPSULE: Australia
Current FIFA World Ranking: 12  
Overall Record vs. USA: 0-18-2
Last Meeting vs. USA: May 3, 2008 (a 5-4 U.S. win in Birmingham, Ala.)
Head Coach: Tom Sermanni
Key Players: GK Melissa Barbieri, D Kate McShea, D Dianne Alagich, D Cheryl Salisbury, M Heather Garriock, F Caitlin Munoz, F Lisa De Vanna, F Kate Gill.

USA vs. Australia Fast Facts: The two matches between the USA and Australia in late April and early May produced plenty of excitement for the fans … Needless to say, both games were wild and wacky … The first was the USA’s dramatic 3-2 win on April 27 in a rain-drenched Cary, N.C., on a stoppage time goal from Carli Lloyd … The game was unique in that while records are not kept in this area, it is believed the U.S. team has never before given up two goals in such a short span (three minutes) so late in a match (86th and 88th) … The second meeting on May 3 in Birmingham, Ala., saw the USA build a three-goal lead at 4-1, only to allow the Aussies three straight scores before getting a winner, again in stoppage time, on a goal from Angela Hucles in the 94th minute … Two of the goals the USA gave up in Alabama were own goals … Australia is coming off its participation in the Asian Women’s Championships in Vietnam in late May and early June where it started strongly, but finished weakly … In the first round, the Matildas beat Chinese Taipei, 4-0, and South Korea, 2-0, but fell to Japan 3-1 in the final group game, sending them to a semifinal meeting with North Korea, which they lost by a 3-0 score … The Aussies then lost to Japan, again, in the third-place match, this time 3-0 … The U.S. and Australia squads for the Peace Queen Cup are virtually the same that met earlier this year … Australia has dropped four players and added three, including feisty striker Lisa De Vanna, who made a splash in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup scoring four goals in just 222 minutes of play … De Vanna returns to the Matildas after missing the two games in the USA while playing for her Swedish club AIK, where she is teammates with Aussie teammate Kate Gill … The main changes in the U.S. roster from the two-game set in the USA are the losses due to injuries of Cat Whitehill and Leslie Osborne … De Vanna scored twice at the Asian Championships in Vietnam while Heather Garriock also bagged two goals … Defender Claire Polkinghorne got one, while two players who were not in the USA this spring for the pair of games, forward Jenna Tristram and defender Ellyse Perry, got a goal each … Several of Australia’s top players are not on the Peace Queen Cup roster in veteran midfielder Joanne Peters (who didn’t play in the two pervious matches due to injury) and forward Sarah Walsh, who caused the USA problems down the flank in North Carolina and Alabama … Australia head coach Tom Sermanni was recently voted the AFC Women’s Football Coach of the Year … The former WUSA coach was an assistant for the San Jose CyberRays and head coach for the New York Power, where he coached U.S. captain Christie Rampone and Shannon Boxx … Natasha Kai, Abby Wambach and Lindsay Tarpley have combined to score 28 goals so far this year … While Australia has never beaten the USA, the last five games have featured two draws and two one-goal wins for the Americans … The other match was a 2-0 U.S. win at the 2006 Peace Queen Cup during group play … These matches in South Korea mark the fourth country and fourth tournament the USA has played in this year … Australia did not qualify for the 2008 Olympics, losing out to North Korea.

U.S. WNT Quote Sheet

U.S. Head Coach Pia Sundhage
On what is working well with the team:
“Getting everyone involved in the attack. For that, you need to be patient and you need to be brave and I think the whole team did a great job of that (against Canada on May 10). The fact that Abby (Wambach) didn’t score, but was involved in three of the goals, and that (Natasha) Kai scored a hat trick, that’s huge for both of them, but also for the team. It showed that we have goal scorers out there. The defending was very sharp, even though we played against a very physical Canada team.”

On what she wants to improve at the Peace Queen Cup:
“Stay a little more compact in defending and win the ball a little bit more in midfield, not always in the back four. If we can win the ball in midfield, we will have the chance to get the outside backs forward even more. The other thing is service into the box. We will work on a lot of set pieces in this tournament. If you look back, we haven’t scored that many goals on set pieces. It could be a strength (for the team), but it isn’t yet.”

On the team chemistry:
“I have emphasized from the very beginning that it’s not about one player or one coach, it’s about the team. I think listening to the environment on the team, during dinners and at trainings, this is really a team. Even if you are sitting on the bench, or not even in the 18, you have been a great part of this journey to the Olympics. Honestly, I think that they feel that way and I try to emphasize that all the time because it is about the team.”

On facing Australia, who are coming off participation in the Asian Women’s Championships:
“They should be ready to go, so it’s a good opponent. We struggled a little bit in parts of both games (in the USA earlier this spring), but still we came back and won both games in a very nice way. That is something I will bring up, the fact that we won no matter what was happening or how much time was left in the game. The way Australia is playing is good for us because we need to stay very sharp in defending.”

U.S. Defender Heather Mitts
On the team’s mentality heading into the Peace Queen Cup:
“I think excitement mostly. This is a great tournament, every one of our opponents is a tough game and it will be a good opportunity to see where we stand against Australia and Italy, teams we’ve played this year, and obviously a huge rematch against a great Brazil team which will involve a lot of emotions.”

On what the back line is focusing on during the Peace Queen Cup:
“I would say just becoming more connected in the aspect of new philosophy and being on the same page to produce what Pia is expecting of us.”

On which teams present the biggest offensive challenges:
“I would say from here on out, we don’t have an easy game. The nice thing is that we will get to play against a lot of different teams with different styles so when we get to the Olympics we’ll be ready for any challenge.”

THE PRIZE IS RIGHT: The Peace Queen Cup is a rare women’s international tournament in that it offers prize money to the winners and it’s no small sum. The PQC champion will take home $200,000 with the runner-up earn $50,000 for their Federation.

RED AND YELLOW: A unique rule in the Peace Queen Cup is that while an accumulation of two yellow cards in the first two games of group play will equal a one-game suspension for the third match, and a red card in either of the first two group games will equal a one-game suspension as well. However, no disciplinary actions carry over into the championship game. In 2006, Kristine Lilly received the first red card of her career in the USA’s third group match against Holland, but was eligible for the final and scored the winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Canada.

FAIR PLAY, PLEASE: The Peace Queen Cup will award a Fair Play Trophy following the tournament as well as awards for the top-three goal scorers and top-three overall players of the tournament. In the inaugural Peace Queen Cup in 2006, Kristine Lilly won the Golden Ball as the top player in the tournament and the Silver Show as the second leading scorer. Natasha Kai won the Bronze Ball. Canada’s Christine Sinclair won the Silver Ball and the Gold Shoe.

CHATTING WITH CHUPS: Lori “Chups” Chalupny is not known as the verbose sort, but truth be told, she’s a well-spoken young lady. The sparkplug defender out of St. Louis has developed into one of the USA’s best players over the past few years (although she won’t admit it). Listen to Lori chat about her game, the U.S. team and her (sometimes) bad dog on this latest ussoccer.com podcast.

TARP-TASTIC: U.S. midfielder-turned-forward-turned-midfielder Lindsay Tarpley is banging in goals at a Wambach-like rate in 2008. The Kalamazoo Kid took some time out from training in South Korea to talk about her versatility, scoring goals and the Peace Queen Cup as she answered 11 Questions for ussoccer.com.

Stat of Note
The U.S. women have scored two or more goals in 12 of its 14 matches this year, and have scored four or more in seven of those games. The lowest scoring games have been a 1-0 win over China at the Algarve Cup in a game that USA out-shot the Chinese 21-5 and a 1-1 tie in regulation and OT with Canada at CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying in a game that saw the USA out-shoot the Canadians 24-10 (and later win in penalties).

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