World all-time lead scorer Mia Hamm scored in the first half and Julie Foudy and Kristine Lilly added goals in the second half to delight the crowd bathed in red, white and blue.
The sell-out of 78,972 fans was not only the largest crowd ever for a sporting event at Giants Stadium, but broke the record for a women's sporting event set at the Olympic Final on Aug. 1, 1996, in Athens, Ga., when 76,489 fans saw the USA defeat China for the gold medal. The match was televised live on ABC and featured an entertaining Opening Ceremony with musical performances by B*Witched, Billie and N'Sync.
The favored Americans looked a bit nervous at the start of the match, coughing up several balls in the midfield against the pumped up Danes, and barely avoided a nightmare just two minutes into the game when Danish forward Gitte Krogh got behind the U.S defense, but shot wide left.
The USA settled down and took control of the game, breaking through in the 17th minute on a highlight reel goal by forward Mia Hamm that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Hamm ran onto a floated pass from Brandi Chastain in the right side of the penalty box, popped the bouncing ball over a Danish defender and ripped her left-footed shot over the outstretched hand of goalkeeper Dorthe Larsen and just under the crossbar from 12 yards out. It was Hamm's 110th career goal.
The USA had several chances to increase its lead, but Lilly was a step late getting to Hamm cross from the right side and Larsen kick-saved Cindy Parlow's point-blank shot off the right post in the 25th minute.
The Americans caught a rhythm in the second half against the tiring Danes, out-shooting them 15-4, but despite several quality chances, did not get a cushion until Foudy produced a moment of brilliance in the 73rd minute. Foudy got on the end of a Hamm cross from the right side that flew over a pack of players in the penalty box, killed the ball with one touch and then struck a left-footed bullet from eight yards out. Her shot glanced off Larsen's hands, off the bottom of the crossbar and down into the goal for her 31st international goal and 3rd career in Women's World Cup play.
Before Foudy's goal, Lilly had come close twice, hitting the crossbar in the 56th minute and shooting inches wide of the left post in the 69th after Parlow's nifty touch had put her one-on-one with Larsen. Lilly got some redemption just one minute from the end of the match when she received a ball in the right side of the penalty box, whirled to face the goal and dribbled square across the top of the box. She lost two defenders with stutter steps and hit a swerving left-footed shot that flew into the side netting at the left post. It was Lilly's 75th international goal and the fourth of her Women's World Cup career.
U.S. goalkeeper Briana Scurry played a solid match in earning the 50th shutout of her career. She was credited with just two saves, but controlled the air with six catch/punches. U.S. Head Coach Tony DiCicco used two reserves, giving first Women's World Cup matches to Shannon MacMillan, who came on for Tiffeny Milbrett in the 82nd minute, and Lorrie Fair, who replaced Hamm two minutes from time as a defensive substitution.
The U.S. team will leave for Chicago tomorrow morning, where they will train at Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill. in preparation for its second Group A match of the 1999 Women's World Cup against Nigeria at Soldier Field (Kickoff at 7:30 p.m. Central Time LIVE on ESPN). The Americans will finish first round play with its final Group A match against North Korea on June 27 at Foxboro Stadium outside of Boston (Kickoff 7 p.m. ET LIVE on espn2). A victory over Nigeria would virtually seal a quarterfinal berth for the USA as well as the spot in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia that comes along with it.
1999 U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||United States National Team vs. Denmark National Team|
|Competition:||1999 FIFA Women's World Cup -- First Round|
|Venue:||Giants Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)|
|Date:||June 19, 1999 - Kickoff 3:00 p.m. ET|
|Attendance:||78,972 (Sell Out)|
|Weather:||Sunny -- 79 degrees|
USA - Mia Hamm, (Brandi Chastain), 17,
USA - Julie Foudy, (Mia Hamm), 73,
USA - Kristine Lilly, (Joy Fawcett), 89.
USA - 1-Briana Scurry, 4-Carla Overbeck, 20-Kate Sobrero, 14-Joy Fawcett, 6-Brandi Chastain, 10-Michelle Akers, 13-Kristine Lilly, 11-Julie Foudy, 16-Tiffeny Milbrett (8-Shannon MacMillan, 82nd), 12-Cindy Parlow, 9-Mia Hamm (2-Lorrie Fair, 88th).
DEN - 1-Dorthe Larsen, 4-Lene Terp, 14-Katrine Pedersen, 6-Jeanne Axelsen, 8-Janne Rasmussen, 3-Karina Christensen, 15-Mikka Hansen (19-Janni Johansen, 63rd), 12-Lene Jensen (7-Louise Hansen, 78th), 11-Merete Pedersen, 9-Christina Petersen (18-Lise Sondergaard, 83rd), 10-Gitte Krogh.
|Janne Rasmussen (caution)||11.|