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U.S. Women Set to Face Norway in Olympic Rematch at Algarve Cup

U.S. WOMEN FACE NORWAY IN OLYMPIC REMATCH AT ALGARVE CUP: The U.S. Women’s National Team has already advanced to the championship game of the 2009 Algarve Cup with one group match to play, something the team has never done in 13 previous Algarve Cup tournaments, but the final group match still carries some major importance and meaning. It’s against Norway after all. This will be the 45th match between the two long-time rivals, the most for the USA against any country in the world and of course it will be the first meeting since the opening game of the 2008 Olympics, a game which saw Norway score twice in the first four minutes on the way to the 2-0 victory. Of course, the USA famously rebounded from that setback to win the Olympic gold medal, but surely the loss still stings. This will likely be the only meeting between the USA and Norway in 2009 after playing each other three times last year. The match kicks off at 3 p.m. local (11 a.m. ET) live on’s MatchTracker. The Americans will also have an eye on the Sweden-Germany match at Stadium Algarve in Faro that kicks off at 1:15 p.m. local as the result of that game will determine the USA’s opponent in the Algarve Cup Final on March 11. For complete Algarve Cup results and standings, as well as links to other U.S. content, visit the Algarve Cup competition page.

U.S. WNT 2008 Algarve Cup Results/Schedule
Date          Opponent               Result/Time                        U.S. Goal Scorers      Venue    
March 4    Denmark                2-0 W                                    Woznuk, DiMartino       Municipal Stadium; Lagos        
March 6    Iceland                    1-0 W                                     Kai                                  Parque Desportiva da Nora; Ferreiras
March 9    Norway                    3 p.m. (11 a.m. ET )                                                    Parque Desportiva da Nora; Ferreiras
March 11  Germany/Sweden 1:15 p.m.  (9:15 a.m. ET)                                         Estadio Algarve; Faro

Group B
Team    GP    W    L    T    GF    GA    GD    Pts.
USA        2      2     0    0     3        0     +3       6
ISL          2      1     1    0     3        2     +1       3
DEN       2      1     1    0     2        2       0        3    
NOR       2      0     2    0     1        5      -4       0

GROUP A RECAP: Germany rolled past China with a 3-0 victory on two goals from Kerstin Garefrekes, her second and third of the tournament, as well as a single score from Kim Kulig. Germany seems to have put its Algarve Cup struggles in the past and will make the championship game with a win or a tie against Sweden on March 9. Sweden defeated Finland 1-0 on a 75th minute goal from Nilla Fischer, but will have to defeat the Germans to make the title match. Neither team has given up a goal in its first two matches so something will likely have to give. China and Finland will play for third and fourth in the group.

GROUP C RECAP: Host Portugal defeated Wales by a 2-1 score and needs just a tie in its final match against Australia to win the group. Austria tied Poland 1-1 in the other Group C game on the second match day. The winner of Group C will play the best fourth place team from Groups A or B, which will likely be Finland, China or Norway, a great match for the Portuguese.

Current FIFA World Ranking: 6  
All-Time Algarve Cup Results: 38-15-8
Overall Record vs. USA: 19-23-2
Norway record vs. the USA at Algarve Cup: 4-5-1
Last Meeting vs. USA: Aug. 6, 2008 (a 0-2 U.S. loss in Qinhuangdao, China, at the 2008 Olympics)
Head Coach: Bjarne Bertsen
Algarve Cup Finals: 7 (1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004). Norway won the Algarve Cup in 1994, 1997 and 1998.
Key Players: GK Ingrid Hjelmseth, D Trine Rønning, M Ingvild Stensland, M Solveig Gulbrandsen, M Lena Storløkken, F Lindy Melissa Wiik, F Leni Larsen Kaurin.

USA vs. Norway Fast Facts: For years, Norway was the only team in the world with a winning record against the USA, but an unprecedented 10-game winning streak for the USA (2002-2008), that ended with the loss to Olympics, reversed that trend and the USA now holds a 23-19-2 edge in the all-time series … Still, no country in the world has beaten the USA more times than Norway … Norway is struggling in this tournament, having scored just one goal while allowing five, but the Scandinavians are playing with many new and young players, including three from its team that competed in the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile … Norway is playing without several key players from last year’s team who have apparently taken themselves out of consideration for the national team … Just five players that played against the USA in the Olympics are on Norway’s Algarve Cup roster, but two of those are the goal scorers from the Olympic match, forwards Leni Larsen Kaurin and Melissa Wiik, as well as dynamic midfielder Solveig Gulbrandsen …This will be a huge game for Norwegians as they could salvage their thus-far disappointing tournament with a win over the USA, and avoid finishing last in the Group B … Norway will play in the 2009 UEFA Women’s Championships, getting drawn into Group B with Germany, Iceland and France … Norway’s only goal in the tournament thus far has been scored by Kristine Lie in the 3-1 loss to Iceland … The USA has three goals in the tournament with Angie Woznuk, Tina DiMartino and Natasha Kai scoring … U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage has used 17 of the 18 players on her roster so far with defender Kendall Fletcher still waiting for her first minutes, and her first WNT cap … The USA is one of three teams in the tournament – Norway and Sweden are the others – who have yet to allow a goal through two group games … The USA will play its second match in a row in Ferreiras, a nice little stadium that seems to be the windiest place in the Algarve … The USA is 6-0-0 in Ferreiras, but is hoping for a calmer weather day against Norway, which traditionally likes to play direct, and swirling winds would make life tough for the U.S. backs.

2009 U.S. Algarve Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2):18-Nicole Barnhart, 1-Hope Solo
DEFENDERS (6): 7-Shannon Boxx, 4-Rachel Buehler, 17-Lori Chalupny, 13-Kendall Fletcher, 2-Heather Mitts, 3-Christie Rampone
MIDFIELDERS (6): 16-Angela Hucles, 11-Carli Lloyd, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 21-Kacey White, 12-Angie Woznuk
FORWARDS (4): 19-Tina DiMartino, 8-Amy Rodriguez, 6-Natasha Kai, 5-Lindsay Tarpley

2009 Norway Algarve Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Ingrid Hjelmseth, 12-Caroline Knutsen
DEFENDERS (7): 2-Solfrid Andersen, 3-Marita Skammelsrud Lund, 6-Camilla Huse, 7-Trine Rønning, 13-Siri Nordeide Grønli, 15-Hedda Strand Gardsjord, 18-Toril Akerhaugen
MIDFIELDERS (7): 4-Ingvild Stensland, 5-Anneli Giske, 8-Solveig Gulbrandsen, 14-Marthe Johansen, 16-Ingrid Schjelderup, 17-Maren Mjelde, 21-Lena Storløkken
FORWARDS (4): 10-Lindy Melissa Wiik, 11-Leni Larsen Kaurin, 19-Ingvild Isaksen, 20-Kristin Lie.

U.S. Defender Shannon Boxx
On the Norway match:
“I think any time the USA and Norway get together it’s an intense game. This is why we come to this tournament, to play good teams. But of course, it sticks in your head that we lost to them in the Olympics. We are going out there wanting to win, not with the attitude that we are already in the final, which is good, but I think we are here to work on some things as well and get better as a team this year. Last year doesn’t matter any more, this year is a new year and we want to go out and win. That’s the U.S. team.”

U.S. Midfielder Angela Hucles
On the U.S. team’s continued growth:
“Obviously, we are always focused on wining and getting better. We have a few different players and a few playing different positions, but we are always still looking to come together, learn each other’s tendencies and try to figure out how best to work on improving our attacking mindset. In the Olympics, we were coming out of that gold medal win as a really strong defensive team, so now we are adding the other elements and trying to be known as a well-rounded team, defensively and offensively.”

On the Norway match:
“We match up really well against Norway. Scandinavian teams are known for balls in the air and everything, but Norway is also a team that can settle down and play good soccer, and we have mutual respect for each other because of that. If you look at the history, it’s always a battle between Norway and the USA. Obviously, we remember losing to them the last time we played, but the games between us are always up in the air so it’s a good time for us to start off the beginning of the year coming out strong and coming out victorious in this game.”

RIISE ONE-ON-ONE: Before the U.S. faces Norway on Monday at the 2009 Algarve Cup, all_access video sat down with new U.S. assistant coach – and Norwegian legend – Hege Riise to talk about the upcoming game, how she came to join Pia Sundhage’s staff, and her goals with the U.S. WNT.

CHATTING WITH MITZY: U.S. defender Heather Mitts will get her 100th cap in the Algarve Cup Final should she play in the next two matches, a likely scenario. Mitts talks about the career milestone as she answers 11 questions for

Stat of Note
The U.S. women have lost 52 games in its history. In the past 51 re-matches (games against teams that had beaten the USA in the previous match), the USA has won 64 percent of the time. This Norway game on March 9 will be the 52nd rematch for the U.S.