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U.S. WNT Opens 19th Annual Algarve Cup Against Denmark on Wednesday

The U.S. Women’s National Team will be looking for its seventh win in as many games this year when it faces Denmark on Wednesday to start the 19th Annual Algarve Cup.

© Thomas Eisenhuth/isiphotos.com

Hope Solo

IN THE IMAGE: U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Hope Solo has yet to allow a goal this year.

The U.S. Women’s National Team will be looking for its seventh win in as many games this year when it faces Denmark at 12 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 29, to start the 19th Annual Algarve Cup. The match will be played at the small Municipal Stadium in Lagos, Portugal, and fans can follow the game via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt. The U.S. Women are coming off a thrilling 2-1 come-from-behind victory against New Zealand on Feb. 11 at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Alex Morgan tallied the game-tying goal in the 88th minute and the game-winner in the third minute of stoppage time.

The Algarve Cup began in 1994, and aside from Norway’s early success in the event, the USA has been the most dominant side in this annual tournament. In the 18 previous tournaments, the U.S. has won eight times, including seven of the past nine years. The U.S. Women have won titles in 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011. The USA was the runner-up in 1999, 2006 and 2009. Norway won four of the first five Algarve Cups (1994, 1996, 1997 and 1998). Denmark has never won the tournament, but has advanced to the title match five times, settling for a tournament record five runner-up finish in 1995, 1998, 2001, 2007 and 2008. The United States has played in the Algarve Cup Final in an astounding nine consecutive years.

19th Annual Algarve Cup Standings and Schedule

Group B

Feb. 29

United States vs. Denmark

Japan vs. Norway

March 2

United States vs. Norway

Denmark vs. Japan

March 5

United States vs. Japan

Norway vs. Denmark

Algarve Cup History

*The U.S. did not participate in 1996 and 1997.

^The U.S. placed out of the top three on three occasions: fourth in 1995, sixth in 2001 and fifth in 2002.

2012 U.S. WNT Schedule

* CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament
^ Algarve Cup
** Kirin Challenge Cup

GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Hope Solo, 18-Nicole Barnhart, 21-Ashlyn Harris
DEFENDERS (9): 2-Heather Mitts, 3-Christie Rampone, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 6-Amy LePeilbet, 14-Stephanie Cox, 19-Rachel Buehler, 22-Whitney Engen, 23-Meghan Klingenberg
MIDFIELDERS (7): 7-Shannon Boxx, 8-Amy Rodriguez, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 16-Lori Lindsey, 17-Tobin Heath
FORWARDS (4): 11-Sydney Leroux, 12-Lauren Cheney, 13-Alex Morgan, 20-Abby Wambach



  • Abby Wambach moved to No. 2 on the all-time women’s goal scoring list with her 130th and 131st goals on Jan. 29 against Canada, surpassing former U.S. WNT teammate Kristine Lilly (130). Mia Hamm holds the scoring lead with 158 career goals.
  • Defender and team captain Christie Rampone is the only U.S. player to have played every minute of all six games in 2012.
  • Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Amy Rodriguez and Wambach lead the USA with six goals apiece this year. Five of Rodriguez’s tallies came in the second half of the U.S.’s 14-0 win against the Dominican Republic on Jan. 19 to open the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
  • Lauren Cheney leads the U.S. with seven assists, highlighted by her four-assist effort against the Dominican Republic on Jan. 19. Cheney already surpassed her previous high of five assists from 2011, when she and Megan Rapinoe led the team in that category.
  • The U.S. extended its annual domestic opener unbeaten streak to 12 games with its 2-1 victory against New Zealand on Feb. 11. The USA improved to 11-0-1 since its 3-2 loss to Norway on Feb. 6, 2000.


  • The U.S. Women’s National Team’s scoring rate of 6.67 goals per game (40 goals in six matches) is far ahead of any previous year. The current record is 4.54 goals per game in 1994 (59 goals in 13 games).
  • The USA is 82-2-5 all-time when Abby Wambach scores a goal. The most recent of those two losses came in the 2011 Women’s World Cup against Sweden.
  • Goalkeeper Hope Solo established a new CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament shutout streak, posting 454 scoreless minutes. She went 450 scoreless minutes in this year’s tournament and four scoreless minutes at the end of the 2008 tournament. Canada goalkeeper Erin McLeod held the previous CONCACAF record (399 minutes from 2004 to 2008).
  • U.S. center back Christie Rampone made her 250th career international appearance during the USA’s 2-1 victory against New Zealand on Feb. 11. Rampone ranks fourth all-time in U.S. WNT history, with Kristine Lilly (352), Mia Hamm (275) and Julie Foudy (271) ranking No. 1 through 3 in caps.


  • 1: Goals allowed by the U.S. in six matches this year
  • 5: Goals scored in a game by Sydney Leroux (Jan. 22, 2012), Amy Rodriguez (Jan. 20, 2012), Abby Wambach (Oct. 23, 2004), Tiffeny Milbrett (Nov. 2, 2002), Michelle Akers (Nov. 24, 1991) and Brandi Chastain (April 18, 1991)
  • 15: Career Algarve Cup goals by Wambach
  • 40: U.S. goals in 2012 over six games
  • 40: U.S. goals in 2011 over 20 games (this number does not factor in an own goal vs. Brazil)
  • 56: The current unbeaten streak for the USA in domestic matches in which they are 50-0-6
  • 100: Minutes Wambach averages between goals
  • 130: Minutes that Mia Hamm averaged between goals
  • 131: Career goals by Wambach, putting her second ahead of Kristine Lilly (130) and behind Mia Hamm (158) on the all-time scoring list
  • 194: Players who have earned a cap for the U.S. Women’s National Team since the program’s inception in 1985, the most recent being Whitney Engen, who earned her first cap against Norway at the Algarve Cup on March 4, 2011
  • 225: Goals scored during head coach Pia Sundhage’s 88 games as U.S. WNT head coach


  • The U.S. has a 15-4-3 overall record against Denmark. The two sides first met on Aug. 21, 1985, playing to a 2-2 draw in Jesolo, Italy. Denmark won two of the first three games of the series, with Denmark netting back-to-back 1-0 victories on Aug. 24, 1985, in Jesolo, Italy, and on June 5, 1991, in Odense, Denmark.
  • The USA holds a six-game unbeaten streak against Denmark with a 5-0-1 record.
  • At the 2012 Algarve Cup, the USA and Denmark will reprise their most recent meeting, which came in 2009 and also took place in the Algarve Cup at Municipal Stadium in Lagos. On March 4, 2009, the U.S. posted a 2-0 victory as Angie Woznuk scored a 22nd-minute goal and Tina DiMartino added a goal in the 35th minute. They were the only WNT goals of their careers for those two players, who have combined for just 15 total caps. Denmark kept U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo on her toes as she needed to make four saves for the clean sheet.
  • The most lopsided USA win against Denmark was a 7-0 shutout on Feb. 24, 1995, in Orlando, Fla. Michelle Akers scored three goals and Mia Hamm contributed two tallies.

ALGARVE FEATURES FIFA’S BEST: The 2012 Algarve Cup typically brings in the top-ranked FIFA teams, and this year is no exception. Four of the top five teams in the world are on hand for the event, and 10 teams are ranked among the top 50. Here are the top-ranked teams participating, with FIFA ranking in parentheses:

Group A: Germany (No. 2 FIFA ranking), Iceland (No. 15) and China (No. 18)
Group B: United States (No. 1), Japan (No. 3), Norway (tied for No. 12) and Denmark (tied for No. 12)
Group C: Ireland (No. 29), Hungary (No. 34) and Wales (No. 46)

LEAP YEAR RARITY: The U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams both are gearing up for Leap Year matches, with the U.S. Men facing Italy in Genoa and the U.S. Women against Denmark to open the 2012 Algarve Cup. There has been only one Feb. 29 match in the history of U.S. Soccer. In 2004, the U.S. Women defeated Mexico 2-0 in the final Group B match of CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying in San Jose, Costa Rica. The USA benefited from a Maria Castillo own goal in the 10th minute and U.S. forward Abby Wambach tallied a goal in the 26th minute. The U.S. shut out a Mexico side that had scored 13 goals in the previous two matches. Wambach’s lone goal makes her the USA’s all-time leading scorer in “Leap Day” matches.

LILLY NAMED U.S. OLYMPIC HOF FINALIST: U.S. Women’s National Team legend Kristine Lilly has been named as a finalist for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame . The U.S. Olympic Committee and Allstate Insurance Company announced the list of 28 nominee finalists on Monday, with Lilly the only nominee representing soccer. Lilly played for the U.S. Women for 21 years, earning 352 caps while posting 130 goals and 105 assists.

U.S. FACES JAPAN, BRAZIL IN KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP: The U.S. will travel to Japan for early April matches against the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup champions and Brazil, taking on the hosts at Yurtec Stadium in Sendai on April 1 (6:30 a.m. ET, live on ESPN2 and ESPN3) before traveling south to face the Brazilians on April 3 (ESPN3, with a kickoff time yet to be determined) in Fukuda Denshi Arena in Chiba. The newly created three-nation tournament, named the Women’s Kirin Challenge Cup, will include a Japan-Brazil match on April 5 in Kobe.

BOUND FOR LONDON: The U.S. has qualified for its fifth consecutive Olympic Games and won the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament for a third consecutive time. In 2008, the USA won the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Mexico and went on to win the gold medal in Beijing. In 2004, the U.S. won the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Costa Rica and went on to win gold in Athens, Greece. The U.S. qualified for the 1996 Atlanta Games as host and for the 2000 Sydney Games as a top-seven finisher at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The USA was the lone CONCACAF representative at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games, the first two that featured women’s soccer. Mexico qualified along with the USA for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, while the Canadians claimed the second spot behind the U.S. in 2008 in Beijing.

PIA SUNDHAGE FACT FILE: Head coach Pia Sundhage is in the midst of her fourth full year in charge of the U.S. Women’s National Team. Below are some of her accomplishments as a player and coach.

  • Sundhage is the sixth official coach and second female coach in the history of the U.S. Women’s National Team program.
  • Sundhage’s record as head coach of the Women’s National Team is 74-5-9, with 225 goals for and 44 against.
  • As a player, Sundhage was one of the game’s best-ever players, finishing sixth in the voting for FIFA Women’s Player of the Century. A legendary player in Sweden, she played for her country in the 1991 and 1995 Women’s World Cups and 1996 Olympics. She scored four goals for Sweden at the 1991 Women’s World Cup, helping the Swedes to a third-place finish. She scored one goal in the 1995 Women’s World Cup (against Germany) and played every minute of all three matches at the Atlanta Olympics.
  • Sundhage started her coaching career while still playing, serving as player-coach for Hammarby from 1992-1994. She also coached Sweden’s Youth National Teams for 11 years from 1990-2001, coaching the U-16s, U-19s and U-21s.
  • After her retirement from the international game in 1996, she became head coach of the Sweden Under-19 Women’s National Team, leading the team to one gold medal and two bronze medals at the European Championships. She served as a scout for Sweden during the 1997 European Championships, the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2000 Olympics. Sundhage has also worked for FIFA on its Technical Study Group staff for the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand.
  • Since taking over as head coach, Sundhage has given 17 players their first senior team caps.


Danish Football Association
Founded: 1889 (Joined FIFA in 1904)
Head Coach: Kenneth Heiner-Moller
Best FIFA World Cup Finish: Advanced to the quarterfinals of the 1991 World Cup with a 1-2-1 record
Best Olympics Finish: Qualified for the 1996 Summer Olympics


GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Heidi Johansen (Fortuna Hjørring), 16-Stina Petersen (Brøndby IF)
DEFENDERS (6): 2-Line Hansen (Tyresö FF, SWE), 4-Line Jensen (Fortuna Hjørring), 5-Janni Jensen (Fortuna Hjørring), 8-Therese Nielsen (Brøndby IF), 15-Malene Olsen (Brøndby IF), 18-Marie Bjerg (IK Skovbaken)
MIDFIELDERS (9): 3-Katrine Pedersen (Stabek, NOR), 6-Mariann Knudsen (Linköping FC, SWE), 11-Katrine Veje (LBD Malmø FC, SWE), 12-Nanna Christiansen (Brøndby IF), 13-Johanna Rasmussen (Kristianstads DFF, SWE), 14-Kristine Pedersen (Fortuna Hjørring), 19-Sofie Pedersen (IK Skovbaken), 20-Anna Thorsen (Brøndby IF), 21-Julie Rydahl Bukh (Brøndby IF)
FORWARDS (4): 7-Sanne Nielsen (IK Skovbaken), 9-Lise Munk (Brøndby IF), Pemille Harder (IK Skovbaken), 17-Nadia Nadim (IK Skovbaken)


  • Midfielder and team captain Katrine Pedersen leads Denmark with 184 international appearances.
  • Midfielder Johanna Rasmussen is Denmark’s leading scorer on its current roster with 24 goals in 85 games.
  • Denmark has moved up to a 12th-place tie with Norway in the current FIFA women’s world rankings.
  • Denmark came very close to qualifying for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, losing a two-leg playoff with Sweden by a 4-3 aggregate score. Denmark held a 3-2 aggregate lead in the second leg before the Swedes scored twice in the final 18 minutes plus stoppage time to qualify for Germany.
  • Denmark is currently leading Group 7 in qualifying for the 2013 European Championships to be hosted by Sweden. The Danes have won all four of their games so far with a 22-0 goal difference.
  • Five of the Danish players play outside of their home country, all in Sweden.


On the field for USA:
Feb. 11, 2012 – FC Dallas Stadium – Frisco, Texas – International Friendly
U.S. 2, New Zealand 1
USA 2 Alex Morgan, 88, 90+3
NZL 1 Hannah Wilkinson, 49

USA: 1-Hope Solo (18-Nicole Barnhart, 46); 6-Amy LePeilbet, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 19-Rachel Buehler, 5-Kelley O’Hara (11-Sydney Leroux, 81); 9-Heather O’Reilly (8-Amy Rodriguez, 46), 7-Shannon Boxx, 10-Carli Lloyd (15-Megan Rapinoe, 62), 12-Lauren Cheney (16-Lori Lindsey, 81); 13-Alex Morgan, 20-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 17-Tobin Heath
Head coach: Pia Sundhage

NZL: 1-Jenny Bindon; 2-Ria Percival, 5-Abbey Erceg, 6-Rebecca Smith (capt.), 7-Ali Riley; 4-Katie Hoyle, 8-Hayley Moorwood (12-Betsy Hassett, 61), 11-Kirsty Yallop, 9-Amber Hearn, 10-Sarah Gregorius, 17-Hannah Wilkinson (13-Rosie White, 74)
Subs not used: 3-Anna Green, 14-Holly Patterson, 16-Annalie Longo, 19-Kristy Hill, 21-Erin Nayler
Head coach: Tony Readings

Vs. Denmark for the USA:
March 4, 20009 — Estadio Municipal — Lagos, Portugal – Algarve Cup
USA 2, Denmark 0
Scoring Summary:
1 2 F
USA 2 0 2 Angie Woznuk, 22; Tina DiMartino, 35
DEN 0 0 0

USA: 1-Hope Solo; 2-Heather Mitts (4-Rachel Buehler, 46), 3-Christie Rampone – Capt., 7-Shannon Boxx, 17-Lori Chalupny; 9-Heather O’Reilly (21-Kacey White, 78), 10-Carli Lloyd, 16-Angela Hucles, 12-Angie Woznuk (15-Megan Rapinoe, 62), 19-Tina DiMartino (5-Lindsay Tarpley, 46), 6-Natasha Kai (8-Amy Rodriguez, 62)
Subs not used: 13-Kendall Fletcher, 18-Nicole Barnhart
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

DEN: 1-Heidi Johansen; 2-Mia Olsen, 3-Katrine Pedersen – Capt. (19-Marianne Pedersen, 67), 4-Christina Ømtoft, 5-Line Hansen, 6-Marianne Knudsen, 7-Cathrine Sørensen (18-Nanna Christiansen, 72), 10-Camilla Sand, 13-Johanna Rasmussen, 9-Maiken Pape (17-Nadia Nadim, 21), 11-Merete Pedersen (8-Julie Rydahl-Bukh, 67)
Subs not used: 12-Janne Madsen, 14-Marie Bjerg, 15-Sanne Troelsgaard, 16-Tine Cederkvist Vsikær, 20-Tina Rasmussen.
Head Coach: Kenneth Heiner-Møller

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