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U.S. WNT Ready For Semifinal Clash Against Brazil on Thursday, Live on ESPN2

U.S. Women’s National Team Notes
2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Hangzhou, China
Sept. 26, 2007

USA READY FOR CLASH WITH BRAZIL IN SEMIFINAL AT 2007 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: The USA will face Brazil in a Women’s World Cup semifinal for the second time when the two teams meet at Dragon Stadium in Hangzhou on Thursday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m. local time (8 a.m. ET). The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 starting at 7:55 a.m. ET. The teams also met in the semifinal in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a 2-0 U.S. win on July 4 at the old Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif. It will also be a rematch of the 2004 Olympic gold medal game, a 2-1 U.S. win on a goal in overtime from Abby Wambach. Dragon Stadium seats about 53,000 fans and a crowd of almost 40,000 is expected. The days have been hot in Hangzhou, but for kickoff, temperatures are forecast for the mid-70s on what should be another perfect night for soccer.

GERMANY THROUGH TO THE FINAL: To no one’s surprise, Germany is through to the Women’s World Cup Final, its third after finishing second in 1995 and winning in 2003, but it wasn’t as easy as the 3-0 scoreline would indicate. Norway played an excellent first half, but couldn’t hold on in the second, and actually finished the game with eight shots on target to Germany’s four. The Germans managed to win 3-0 despite putting just four shots on goal, two of which went in on unusual plays. After scoring on a Norwegian own goal in the first half, Germany got its last two goals from defender Kerstin Stegemann, who hit a shot that was deflected by a Norwegian foot up and over ‘keeper Bente Nordby in the 72nd minute, and substitute Martina Muller, who stole a poor back pass and slotted home three minutes later to seal the game. The Germans won the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup with a 2-1 overtime win over Sweden at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup
The Road to the Semifinals

Date Opponent Venue (City) Result U.S. Goal Scorers
Sept. 11 North Korea Chengdu (Chengdu Sports Center Stadium) 2-2 T Wambach, O’Reilly
Sept. 14 Sweden Chengdu (Chengdu Sports Center Stadium) 2-0 W Wambach (2)
Sept. 18 Nigeria Shanghai (Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium) 1-0 W Chalupny
Sept. 22 England Tianjin (Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium) 3-0 W Wambach, Boxx, Lilly

Date Opponent Venue (City) Result Brazil Goal Scorers
Sept. 12 New Zealand Wuhan (Wuhan Sports Center Stadium) 5-0 W Renata Costa, Daniela, Marta (2), Cristiane
Sept. 15 China Wuhan (Wuhan Sports Center Stadium) 4-0 W Marta (2), Cristiane (2)
Sept. 20 Denmark Hangzhou (Dragon Stadium) 1-0 W Pretinha
Sept. 23 Australia Tianjin (Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium) 3-2 W Formiga, Marta, Cristiane

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.).

GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Andreia, 12-Barbara, 21-Thais;
DEFENDERS (8): 2-Elaine, 3-Aline, 4-Tania, 6-Rosana, 13-Monica, 16-Simone, 17-Daiane, 19-Michele;
MIDFIELDERS (6): 5-Renata Costa, 7-Daniela, 9-Maycon, 14-Grazielle, 18-Pretinha, 20-Ester;
FORWARDS (4): 8-Formiga, 10-Marta, 11-Cristiane, 15-Katia.

USA vs. BRAZIL PREVIEW: The match certainly promises to be entertaining for the spectators as both teams have dynamic attacking personalities all over the field. Brazil features the reigning FIFA Women’s World Player of the year in Marta, and her almost equally as talented running mate Cristiane, as well as a slew of players who can score goals from the midfield. The USA’s forwards have also proven themselves to be a handful for defenders in this tournament, especially Abby Wambach, who has four goals so far. The speed and one-v-one abilities of Kristine Lilly and Heather O’Reilly have been equally tough to slow down. Brazil has largely dominated play thus far, though they have had a few instances of uncertainty. They needed a stoppage time goal to beat Denmark in the final group match, and then got all they could handle from Australia in a 3-2 quarterfinal win. The two teams last met on June 23, 2007, at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, a 2-0 U.S. win with both goals coming off set plays, a free kick from Lilly and a header from Wambach. That physical match was played on an artificial surface, with Brazil receiving five yellow cards to the USA’s two. Brazil did play without Marta, who was with her club in Sweden, and surely the Brazilians are much more used to playing with each other now after competing in the Pan American games in Rio de Janeiro this summer as well as four Women’s World Cup matches. The USA, however, is also battle hardened from four consecutive tough matches. The U.S. defense has been stellar so far in the tournament, posting three straight shutouts after giving up two goals to North Korea while playing a woman down during the time Wambach was getting her head stitched up. The U.S. midfield has also been dominant in its ball-winning and provided two goals as well, one each from Lori Chalupny and Shannon Boxx. Briana Scurry started in goal against Brazil at Giants Stadium last June and will get the nod in the semifinal as well after Hope Solo played the first four matches of the tournament. Scurry has an excellent history against Brazil as she was in goal for the 1999 WWC semifinal as well as the two wins over Brazil in the 2004 Olympics.

MARTA, GULBRANDSEN IN LEAD FOR GOLDEN BOOT: Marta of Brazil, the reigning FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, and Norwegian Ragnhild Gulbrandsen, who has experienced a revival of sorts in this Women’s World Cup, are in the lead to take home the Golden Boot award as the tournament’s top scorer. Both Marta and Gulbrandsen have five goals. Six other players, including the USA’s Abby Wambach, have four goals, but only four of those players are still alive in the tournament.

FIFA WWC Leading Goal Scorers (before semi-finals)

Rank Player (Country/No.) Goals Assists
1 MARTA (BRA , 10) 5 2
2 GULBRANDSEN Ragnhild (NOR , 16) 5 0
3 CRISTIANE (BRA , 11) 4 2
  LINGOR Renate (GER , 10) 4 2
5 DE VANNA Lisa (AUS , 11) 4 1
  WAMBACH Abby (USA , 20) 4 1
7 PRINZ Birgit (GER , 9) 4 0
  SMITH Kelly (ENG , 10) 4 0

ANOTHER RECORD FOR LILLY: With her goal against England in the quarterfinals, Kristine Lilly became the oldest scorer ever at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. At the age of 36 years and 62 days, the U.S. captain succeeds Canada’s Charmaine Hooper who scored at the 2003 WWC at the age of 35 and 261 days.

WWC SHUTOUT STREAK: The U.S. Women's National Team is in the midst of their third longest shutout streak in Women's World Cup play behind the stellar play of goalkeeper Hope Solo and the team's starting back four of Stephanie Lopez, Kate Markgraf, Cat Reddick and Christie Rampone. The team's current streak stands at 298 minutes, just 29 off the team's all-time record set across three straight shutouts during the 2003 WWC. The U.S. had a streak of 321 shutout minutes in 1991, which was also spread across three consecutive shutouts. The U.S. has never posted four consecutive shutouts in Women's World Cup play. Brazil’s goalkeeper Andreia had not conceded a goal in 343 minutes of play when Australia’s Lisa De Vanna scored in the 36th minute of the quarterfinal. The last goal that the Brazilian goalkeeper conceded was Sweden’s Malin Andersson in the 53rd minute in the 2003 FIFA WWC quarterfinal. Andreia’s record is third behind that of Nadine Angerer of Germany (currently at 450 after the semifinals) and Norway’s Bente Nordby (356).

U.S. WNT QUOTE SHEET – Previewing the Semifinal: U.S. head coach Greg Ryan and defender Kate Markgraf attended a press conference at the stadium today, and several U.S. players did interviews in the mixed zone following practice. Find out what they had to say about the upcoming match against Brazil in this quote sheet on

PETIGNAT, AGAIN: Swiss referee Nicole Petignat will be in the middle for the USA’s semifinal against Brazil. She also did the USA’s opening game against North Korea, handing out what so far has been the USA’s only yellow card of the tournament, to Christie Rampone. One of the most experienced female referees in the world, she did the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final at the Rose Bowl.

U.S. WNT Quick Hits

  • Five players have played all 360 minutes so far, goalkeeper Hope Solo, midfielder Lori Chalupny and defenders Cat Whitehill, Stephanie Lopez and Kate Margraf.
  • With one more goal, Abby Wambach will tie Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly for second most goals in U.S. Women’s World Cup history with eight. Lilly and Hamm currently trail only Michelle Akers who scored 10 goals in 1991 and two more in 1999.
  • Going into the game, three of the tournament’s top eight scorers will be on display. Marta is tied for first with five goals, while Abby Wambach and Cristiane are tied for third with four goals.
  • Including Marta, the Brazilians have eight players who play outside of Brazil in Sweden, France, Australia, Spain, Japan and Germany.
  • Marta became Brazil’s top goal scorer at the FIFA Women’s World Cup during this tournament when she scored against Australia in the quarterfinal. She has scored eight WWC goals, five in this edition and three in 2003, one more than the legend and former WUSA star Sissi, who scored seven goals at the FWWC in 1999.
  • Cat Whitehill has played 90 minutes in nine consecutive World Cup games, and a total of 855 minutes after coming in at halftime for Brandi Chastain in the opening match of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Carla Overbeck holds the all-time U.S. record for field players with 12 games – every game of the 1995 and 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cups. Goalkeeper Briana Scurry played 15 straight complete games.

IN HER OWN WORDS: After not seeing action in the USA’s first match of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Leslie Osborne figured prominently in the next three, all wins. She sat down with to discuss the USA’s quarterfinal win over England, the role of the young players during this tournament and the reprise of a great rivalry in the semifinal clash with Brazil.

STUDIO 90: CHINA ‘07 HAS GOT YOU COVERED: Check out the most recent episodes of “Studio 90: China ’07” on and you can watch interviews with Abby Wambach and Stephanie Lopez, in addition to the other usual fun stuff produced by our supremely awesome Studio 90 crew.

Stat of Note
With Heather O’Reilly and Lori Chalupny tallying their first Women’s World Cup goals in this tournament, they become the 19th and 20th U.S. players to score in a Women’s World Cup.