Team profile: United States
Coach: Pia Sundhage is used to winning. The 51-year-old Swede, a former Women's World Cup striker, took over Team USA after helping China reach the quarter-finals of the 2007 tournament. She subsequently led the Americans to a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. With Sundhage at the helm the U.S. has also won the annual Algarve Cup three years out of four, losing to Sweden on penalties in the 2009 final.
Goalkeepers: Nicole Barnhart, Jill Loyden, Hope Solo
Defenders: Rachel Buehler, Stephanie Cox, Ali Krieger, Amy LePeilbet, Heather Mitts, Christie Rampone, Becky Sauerbrunn
Midfielders: Shannon Boxx, Tobin Heath , Lori Lindsey, Carli Lloyd, Heather O’Reilly, Megan Rapinoe, Lindsay Tarpley
Forwards: Lauren Cheney, Alex Morgan, Amy Rodriguez, Abby Wambach
1ST ROUND MATCHES (GROUP C)
- June 28 — vs. North Korea in Dresden
- July 2 — vs. Colombia in Sinsheim
- July 6 — vs. Sweden in Wolfsburg
Strengths: As the No. 1 ranked team in the world and a proven track record (three bronze medals and two World Cup crowns), the United States’ reputation in the women’s game proceeds them… The U.S. has great depth at every position, and is able to call on several world-class players… The Americans are a legitimate threat going forward (led by forward Abby Wambach), are able to score goals at will and dominate teams with their sublime possession skills.
Weaknesses: You have to wonder if the Americans are feeling less than confident after being upset by Mexico in the World Cup qualifiers (and not winning the CONCACAF championship), and being forced to play and beat Italy in a two-game playoff to book their place in Germany… The U.S. lost to England earlier this year, a clear sign that the era of American superiority is over, and that if you catch them on the right day, you can beat the U.S… The Americans won’t have an easy time of it in Group C with North Korea and Sweden, two powers of the women’s game.
Player to watch: Abby Wambach — The American is a tough, uncompromising competitor who is deadly in front of goal. Arguably the most powerful forward in women's football, Wambach's size (5-11) and sheer willpower makes her a handful for opposing defenders.
Prospects in Germany: The Americans are number one according to FIFA's World rankings and, on their day, are unstoppable. Their World Cup experience will stand them in good stead and they will be expected to top Group C. It remains to be seen whether their qualifying slip was a blip or the start of a downward trend. Earlier this year, they lost to England for the first time, but many believe the U.S. will peak for Germany. Expect another strong performance from the two-time World champions.
- Soccer Confederation: Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF)
- Current FIFA world ranking: 1
- Team nickname: The Stars and Stripes
- Team colours: white jerseys/white shorts
ROAD TO THE WOMEN'S WORLD CUP
2011 qualification route: The Americans failed to win, or make the final of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament after a shock semifinal defeat to host Mexico. That forced a playoff against Italy, which the U.S. won 2-0 on aggregate. The victory ensured the Americans' participation at a sixth straight Women's World Cup. Abby Wambach led qualifying with eight goals.
- Qualification record: 6 wins, 1 loss, 0 ties
- Goals for: 24
- Goals against: 2
- Top goal-scorer in qualifying: Abby Wambach (8)
- Oct. 28, 2010 — USA 5, Haiti 0
- Oct. 30, 2010 — USA 9, Guatemala 0
- Nov. 1, 2010 — USA 4, Costa Rica 0
- Nov. 5, 2010 — Mexico 2, USA 1
- Nov. 8, 2010 — USA 3, Costa Rica 0
- Nov. 20, 2010 — USA 1, Italy 0
- Nov. 27, 2010 — USA 1, Italy 0
WOMEN'S WORLD CUP HISTORY
The Americans are entering their sixth World Cup tournament. They've captured two championships (1991 and 1999) and three bronze medals (1995, 2003 and 2007).
The American golden generation of Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Brandi Chastain, Kristine Lilly and current team members Abby Wambach and Hope Solo, to name a few, helped legitimize international women's soccer and became household names in the U.S. thanks to their dominant performances in the World Cup and Olympics.
- Hosted the Women's World Cup: 1999 and 2003
- Number of previous Women's World Cup appearances: 5
- All-time record: 24 wins, 3 losses, 3 ties
- Goals for: 85
- Goals against: 25
- All-time top scorer: Michelle Akers (12)
- 1991 — Champions
- 1995 — Semifinals (3rd place)
- 1999 — Champions
- 2003 — Semifinals (3rd place)
- 2007 — Semifinals (3rd place)