U.S. WOMEN FACE DENMARK IN QUARTERFINAL TOMORROW: After taking care of business in the first round while winning Group C with a 3-0-0 record and 15 goals scored to one against, the U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team expects to face a stiffer test in the quarterfinals of the 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women's World Cup tomorrow against Denmark. The match at Centennial Stadium in Victoria, B.C., site of the USA's first three matches, will kickoff at 7 p.m. Fans can follow the action live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker presented by Philips Electronics. Should the U.S. defeat Denmark they would play the winner of the Japan-Germany game in the semifinals in Edmonton on Thursday (August 29). The Brazil-Australia winner will play the Canada-England winner in the other semifinal.
DENMARK PREVIEW: Denmark had an interesting journey through its three first round matches, going ahead of host Canada 2-1 in their opening game, only to lose 3-2 on two spectacular late Canadian goals. In their second Group A match, the Danes built a 2-0 lead over Nigeria on goals by Texas Tech-bound forward Johanna Rasmussen, only to give up a late goal and hold off a late rally by the Baby Falcons. Needing just a tie to finish second in the group, Denmark was upset by Japan, 2-1, as Shinobu Ohno scored twice to bring her team from behind and earn a place in the quarterfinals. Denmark missed a slew of great opportunities in both halves that would have put the game out of reach, but Ohno had the scoring touch, finishing two class goals. Denmark has several talented attackers including Marie Herping, who scored against Canada, and Sandra Jensen, who scored on a header five minutes into the Japan match, but could not finish her chances thereafter. Jensen possesses speed and strength to go to goal while captain Ditte Larsen adds the grit to the midfield. Denmark played two goalkeepers in the first round, starting Sarah Andersen in the matches against Canada and Nigeria before giving the start to Susanne Graversen against Japan. Both are athletic and both played well, giving Danish head coach Per Rud a decision to make for the match against the U.S. Had Denmark tied or beaten Japan, the USA would be playing France tomorrow and Denmark would have stayed in Edmonton to face Germany.
USA GEARS UP FOR QUARTERFINAL: With three days off after its final group game and before its quarterfinal match, the U.S. team was given last Thursday totally off -- no training, no meetings, no mandatory meals - for the players to rest and rejuvenate after a grueling three games in five days. Most players spent time with their families in and around Victoria, getting out of the hotel to explore a bit, while several players indulged in traditional American teenage pastimes - shopping and movies. The U.S. team got back to work on Friday with a lively practice and in the early evening, the entire U.S. team appeared live on a local TV news sportscast in downtown Victoria not far from the team hotel. The USA ran through a crisp day-before-game training session this morning and will be ready to roll tomorrow against Denmark tomorrow.
STATS OF NOTE: With the first round complete, the race for the Golden Boot is led by Canadian superstar Christine Sinclair, who will play her sophomore season at the University of Portland this fall. Sinclair has scored five goals in three games, while U.S. forward Kelly Wilson has four goals in just two games after sitting out the USA's victory over Chinese Taipei. U.S. captain Lindsay Tarpley has three goals. Following is a look at the tournament's top scorers so far:
2002 FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship Top Scorers
Player (Team) - Goals
SINCLAIR, Christine (CAN) - 5
WILSON, Kelly (USA) - 4
TARPLEY, Lindsay (USA) - 3
WARD, Katy (ENG) - 3
LANG, Kara (CAN) - 3
RASMUSSEN, Johanna (DEN) - 3
MARTA (BRA) - 3
WORBIS, Guadalupe (MEX) - 3
MITTAG, Anja (GER) - 3
CRAWFORD, Hayley (AUS) - 2
DANIELA (BRA) - 2
KELLY (BRA) - 2
OSBORNE, Leslie (USA) - 2
O'REILLY, Heather (USA) - 2
OHNO, Shinobu (JPN) - 2
25 Players with one goal each
THEY SAID IT:
U.S. head coach Tracey Leone on the upcoming quarterfinal with Denmark:
"We've had a great training environment here in Victoria and the players are ready and focused. Denmark presents some new challenges for us, but in every game at a world championship you expect to face talented teams and players. Denmark has some personality players and I think it will be a great game for the fans and the tournament tomorrow."
U.S. goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris on the USA's match against Denmark:
"Every team from this point on is going to be excellent. It's down to the best eight teams in the world, but we have a solid defensive line in front of me and that gives me confidence. We've been looking forward to playing this kind of competition so everyone is really enjoying the experience."