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U.S. Set for Epic Match Against Sweden at 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup


U.S. Women’s National Team Notes
2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Chengdu, China
Sept. 13, 2007

USA SET FOR EPIC MATCH AGAINST SWEDEN AT 2007 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: The U.S. Women’s World Cup Team has spent the last two days resting and recovering from the intense battle with North Korea and is ready for its important Group B match with Sweden on Friday, Sept. 14 at 5 p.m. local (4:55 a.m. live on ESPN). With both Group B games ending in ties last Tuesday, the second set of matches will go a long way in determining quarterfinal berths. While Chengdu could get some rain on Thursday night, the forecast for game day actually includes sun and very little chance of showers. This means the conditions will probably not be as sloppy as they were for the North Korea match when a steady rain pelted the players for the final 70 minutes of the game. Any doubts about Group B being the most difficult in the tournament were dispelled after the first found of games in all four groups. Group B was the only group that did not feature a blowout and two of the three ties in the first eight games came from the USA’s group. Thursday, Sept. 13, was a rest day for the tournament, with no games, but Groups A and B return to action tomorrow as the USA’s clash with Sweden hilghlights the four games scheduled. For a complete, schedule, scores and standings, fans can log onto the special Women’s World Cup page on www.ussoccer.com.

2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup
USA First-Round Schedule
Date          Opponent    Venue (City)    Kickoff    TV
Sept. 11    North Korea    Chengdu (Chengdu Sports Center Stadium)        2-2 T
Sept. 14    Sweden           Chengdu (Chengdu Sports Center Stadium)        5 p.m. / 5 a.m.    4:55 a.m. ET on ESPN
Sept. 18    Nigeria            Shanghai (Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium) 8 p.m. / 8 a.m.    7:55 a.m. ET on ESPN
Complete Schedule

2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Group B Standings
Team                W     L     T    PTS    GF    GA    GD    
North Korea     0      0     1    1           2       2    0
USA                   0      0     1    1           2       2    0
Nigeria              0     0     1    1            1       1    0        
Sweden            0      0    1    1            1       1    0
Complete Results/Standings

2007 U.S. WOMEN’S WORLD CUP ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (3): 21-Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), 1-Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), 18-Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.); DEFENDERS (6): 2-Marian Dalmy (Lakewood, Colo.), 8-Tina Ellertson (Vancouver, Wash.), 14-Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif.), 15-Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), 3-Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), 4-Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.); MIDFIELDERS (7): 7-Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 17-Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), 16-Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), 19-Marci Jobson (St. Charles, Ill.), 11-Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), 12-Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), 10-Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif.); FORWARDS (5): 6-Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), 13-Kristine Lilly (Wilton, Conn.), 9-Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), 20-Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).

2007 SWEDEN WOMENS WORLD CUP ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Hedvig Lindahl, 12-Sofia Lundgren, 21-Kristin Hammarstrom; DEFENDERS (8): 2-Karolina Westberg, 3-Stina Segerstrom, 4-Hanna Marklund, 6-Sara Thunebro, 7-Sara Larsson, 13-Frida Ostberg, 16-Anna Paulson, 19-Charlotte Rohlin; MIDFIELDERS (5): 5-Caroline Seger, 8-Lotta Schelin, 15-Therese Sjogran, 18-Nilla Fischer, 20-Linda Forsberg; FORWARDS (5): 9-Therese Lundin, 10-Hanna Ljungberg, 11-Victoria Svensson, 14-Sara Johansson, 17-Madelaine Edlund.

USA vs. SWEDEN PREVIEW: The last two matches between the USA and Sweden have ended with 3-2 victories for the USA, the first of those in July of 2006 in Blaine, Minn. and the most recent last March at the Algarve Cup in Portugal. The USA never trailed in either game, and in both answered a Sweden goal with a U.S. goal just a minute later. Sweden needed just a tie in the Algarve Cup match to make the championship game, but the USA came away with the big win after going up 2-0 before halftime. Both teams will be highly motivated coming into this match after drawing their respective openers and both squards are well aware of the ramifications of this result. The USA and Sweden match up extremely well, with athletic players all over the field. Both teams have powerful goalkeepers with excellent kicking games, but Sweden’s Hedvig Lindhal will be playing in just her 23rd game for Sweden, taking over the No. 1 jersey after an injury to long-time starter Caroline Jonsson just before the Women’s World Cup. Both teams have veteran players in key positions, and in fact, Sweden has five players on the roster with more than 100 caps. The USA has six, and another vet, Abby Wambach will be playing in her 98th career match. Both teams have plenty of attacking firepower, Sweden with its dynamic duo of Hanna Ljungberg (71 international goals) and Victoria Svensson (59 goals) while the USA answers with Kristine Lilly (126 goals) and Abby Wambach (78). The match may hinge on the finishing of those four. Svensson was one of the best players at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, winning the Silver Ball as the tournament’s second best player, and her speed and clinical finishing ability make her a constant danger. Sweden’s new attacking star is forward Lotta Schelin. The 23-year-old winger was Sweden’s Female Player of the Year in 2006, is six-feet tall, has speed and loves to run at players. Midfielders Therese Sjogran and Caroline Seger are both large in stature and powerful runners, meaning the USA will have a physical battle in midfield while the shorter and quicker Llungberg and Svensson will try to test the speedy U.S. back line. Veteran central defender Hanna Marklund anchors the Swedish back line, but she may have some younger players around her. The U.S. has had success against Sweden, going 14-3-5 in the all-time series, perhaps due to a bit more speed and quickness all over the field, something the Americans will be looking to exploit against the powerful and gritty Swedes. This will be the USA’s third-ever meeting with Sweden in a Women’s World Cup after opening the 1991 and 2003 tournaments against them.

SWEDEN Overview
Current FIFA World Ranking: 3
FIFA Country Code: SWE
2007 Women’s World Cup qualifying:  Won Group 2 in European Qualifying (7-0-1, 32 GF, 6 GA)
Women’s World Cup Finals appearances: 5 – 1991, 1995 (host), 1999, 2003, 2007
Overall Record in Women’s World Cup: 9-6-0
Record vs. USA: 3-14-5
Last Meeting vs. USA: March 12, 2007, in Vila Real de San Antonio, Portugal (3-2 U.S. Win)
Coach: Thomas Dennerby
Championship Honors: 1984 European Champions, European Runners-Up in 1987, 1995, 2001, Women’s World Cup Runners-Up in 2003
Leading World Cup Qualifying Scorers:  F Hanna Ljungberg (10 goals), F Lotta Schelin (6), M Therese Lundin (4), F Victoria Svensson (4).
Other Key Players: D Sara Larsson, M Therese Sjogran, D Hanna Marklund, D Sara Thunebro.
Language: Swedish  

Fast Facts: Sweden is ranked third in the world, but comes into the tournament perhaps playing as well as any of the European powers, finishing third in the prestigious Algarve Cup the past two years … Sweden lost to Germany on a “golden goal” in the Final of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup in a match that could have gone either way … Sweden’s Thomas Dennerby took over from long-time Sweden head coach Marika Domanski-Lyfors, who is coaching host China in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup … Sweden has one of the world’s best strikers in powder keg forward Hanna Ljungberg, so popular in Sweden that after the 2003 Women’s World Cup she got her own stamp (along with teammate Victoria Svensson), but struggled with injuries heading into the WWC … She is healthy now and will be paired with Svensson to form a potent pair of forwards … Sweden was the first-ever opponent for the USA in a Women’s World Cup as the teams squared off in the opening match of the 1991 Women’s World Cup, a 3-2 U.S. win … While Sweden has participated in all five Women’s World Cup tournaments so far, they did not meet the USA again until the opening game of the 2003 Women’s World Cup, this time a 3-1 U.S. victory … Sweden has never failed to advance out of the first-round of a Women’s World Cup, despite failing to win its first Women’s World Cup match in all five previous tournaments … Sweden’s tie with Nigeria in the opening game of this tournament was its first draw after losing four straight WWC openers.

U.S. WNT Quote Sheet

U.S. head coach GREG RYAN

On playing two extremely difficult games to start the tournament:
"I think this group is like playing a semifinal and a final in our first two games. That's the quality of the teams. North Korea is fantastic and Sweden was in the final game of the last World Cup. We got Greece in the Olympics in our first game, so this start is unbelievably challenging."

On what will be the deciding factor against Sweden:
"Usually it's the big players that decide games. Not always, but now it’s a question of 'can the USA's top players create that advantage for the U.S.? Can Sweden's top players create the advantage?' Then, as we all know, set plays win championship games and tomorrow is like that kind of game."  

U.S. forward LINDSAY TARPLEY

On being on the bench for the USA vs. North Korea game:
"My role constantly changes, and whatever I can do to help the team is what I'm going to do. I was pretty nervous on the sideline, but I was warming up if I needed to go in and I was going to be ready. It will be the same for tomorrow’s game.”

On the mood of the team after the first game:
"It's been really interesting. We have really relied on each other and I think that is what being a good team is all about. Like I said before, you're going to face bumps in the road and it's how you fight together and come back from it. We tied, it was a great game and we're excited about being successful in the rest of the tournament.”

U.S. midfielder SHANNON BOXX

On playing the second game of the WWC:
"We're very excited about it. We're ready to get back out there. We got a draw, but this game is very important to us and we have to go out and we have to win. Both teams are very good sides and it's going to be an exciting game. We're both great in the air, so you are going to see a battle there. I think the biggest thing is that it's going to be an up and down game. We are going to defend, but we're going to get forward and so are they.”

On the contrasting styles between Sweden and North Korea:
"I think that the two teams are very different. Sweden is very good in the air and very strong, where maybe the North Koreans were very quick on the ball. We're still going to play our game and that is the focus: what we do well, how have we played in the past, and our style is going forward, being aggressive and putting the other team on their heels, and that was the same even for the North Korea game. They are two very different teams, but in the end we are focusing on what we need to do to score goals."

U.S. WNT Quick Hits
  • Six players made their Women’s World Cup debuts against North Korea, goalkeeper Hope Solo, defender Stephanie Lopez, midfielders Carli Lloyd and Lori Chalupny, and forwards Heather O’Reilly and Natasha Kai.
  • O’Reilly became the 19th U.S. player to score in a Women’s World Cup match.
  • Solo became just the fourth U.S. goalkeeper to play in a Women’s World Cup match.
  • Of the 17 Swedish players who played against the USA at the 2007 Algarve Cup, 11 are on Sweden’s World Cup Team. All three subs that didn’t play in that match are also on the squad.
  • Of the 14 U.S. players who faced Sweden at the Algarve Cup, 13 on the Women’s World Cup Team. Five of the six subs that didn’t play are also on the squad.
  • The USA has never played Sweden in Sweden, but have played them four times in China, winning three and tying one.
  • Both teams head into the match with one player carrying a yellow card, Christie Rampone for the USA and Therese Sjogran for Sweden. A second yellow card would result in a one-game suspension.
  • Of the last four goals scored by Swedish players against the USA, only one was scored by a player on Sweden’s Women’s World Cup roster, that being Victoria Svensson’s goal at the 2007 Algarve Cup.
  • The winner of the last five meetings between the two teams (four wins for the USA and one for Sweden) has scored three goals in the match.

THROUGH THE EYES OF LORI: Find out what U.S. midfielder Lori Chalupny thought about the USA’s scintillating opening game against North Korea as she gives her exclusive first-person account to ussoccer.com.

BLOGTASTIC: There have been almost 13,000 words typed so far in the WNT Blog, and the USA has played just one game. While the Blog may be slowing its word pace down just a bit as the games ramp up, you can still keep up with the happenings on and off the field as the U.S. team plays in the fifth Women’s World Cup by clicking the WNT Blog button on ussoccer.com.

STUDIO 90: CHINA ‘07 IS ONLINE: You can check out “Studio 90: China ’07” on ussoccer.com as the popular web show is up and running in China. Host Neil Buethe has arrived in China and the latest episode is available now. Fans can also go online to watch Studio 90: China ’07 that is airing on Fox Soccer Channel, a special 30-minute show produced by the U.S. Soccer Communications Dept. Just click on the Studio 90 button on ussoccer.com and go to the Sept. 11 show.

THE WOMEN’S WORLD CUP IS ROCKING: The fifth FIFA Women’s World Cup has got off to a great start not only in terms of action on the pitch and atmosphere in the stadiums, but the also in TV audience. The opening match rout by Germany over Argentina was watched by 2.5 million fans in Germany, matching that of a major Champions League match. In Japan, the improbably 2-2 draw with England attained almost 20% market share on Fuji TV. Sweden has a very large media contingent in China, and those numbers were backed up by a market share of 56.8% on TV4 for Sweden’s opening match draw against Nigeria. For fans not able to catch all the games live on ESPN or ESPN2 back in the USA, FIFA.com is making free highlight packages available for all the matches.

CHINA COMES OUT TO WATCH: So far, the crowds have been excellent for the first eight matches of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, with every crowd more than 20,000 fans, most closer to 30,000 and China leading the way with a massive crowd of over 50,000 in Wuhan to watch the dramatic last minute 3-2 win over Denmark.
 
Stat of Note
The USA and Sweden are two of eight teams that have competed in all five Women’s World Cup tournaments. The others are Norway, Germany, China, Brazil, Japan and Nigeria.
 

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