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Sundhage predicts U.S. victory against Italy
by Paul Kennedy, November 18th, 2010 11:43PM

TAGS:  italy, women's national team, women's world cup


[WOMEN'S WORLD CUP QUALIFYING] U.S. women's national team captain Christie Rampone admits it's "a pretty weird feeling" for the USA to be thrown into a playoff series to qualify for the Women's World Cup, but her coach, Pia Sundhage, isn't worried. She's predicting victory when Italy hosts the USA on Saturday in the first leg of their playoff series (, 10:30 a.m. ET).

The playoff series became necessary when the USA lost to host Mexico, 2-1, in the semifinals of the Concacaf Women's World Cup qualifying playoffs.

“It was one game, and we lost,” Sundhage said Thursday. “That will be good for us because we will win the next game.”

The Americans, who have only lost twice in three years under Sundhage, will be favored against Italy, which qualified after finishing as the No. 5 team in Europe.

“It is a pretty weird feeling for us,” Rampone said. “We won everything for a long time, we hadn’t lost since the opening game of the 2008 Olympics. For all that time, especially after the Olympics, no one was paying much attention. Then we lose one game and suddenly everyone is talking about us, there is a lot more media and a lot more focus. It is a shame that it had to happen that way but I guess that is the nature of it. If you are a successful team then people are going to talk about it when you lose. Whatever it takes, I guess.”

Italy Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Chiara Marchitelli (Graphistudio Tavagnacco), Anna Picarelli (Ajax America), Sara Penzo (Venezia).
DEFENDERS (8): Roberta D’Adda (Brescia), Sara Gama (Chiasellis),  Raffaella Manieri (Torres), Maria Sorvillo (Graphistudio Tavagnacco), Elisa Bartoli (Roma), Laura Neboli (Reggiana), Viviana Schiavi (Brescia), Elisabetta Tona (Torres).
MIDFIELDERS (6): Pamela Conti (Levante, Spain), Giulia Domenichetti (Torres), Maria Carissimi (Torino), Carolina Pini (Bayern Munich, Germany), Alessia Tuttino (Roma), Tatiana Zorri (Lazio).
FORWARDS (5):  Elisa Camporese (Torres), Silvia Fuselli (Torres), Melania Gabbiadini (Bardolino), Patrizia Panico (Torres), Evelyn Vicchiarello (Chiasellis)

  1. Lloyd Elling
    commented on: November 19, 2010 at 8:29 a.m.
    “It was one game, and we lost,” Sundhage said Thursday. “That will be good for us because we will win the next game.” Were these the words that have echoed through the U-17 & U-20 failures to qualify for their respective World Cup competitions? Our national women's teams girls/women are dominated by players whose families had the money to pay the financial cost through the US Soccer selection process. Yes, some outstanding players were found. Yes, there are hundreds other players that never were seen. Money mows the grass in US Soccer and it has to change if we are going to continue to be the world's best. I want the US Women's National team to qualify for the 2011 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Coach Sundhage, win against Italy and start searching for replacement of our aging, non-creative, slow and full stomach players. We must have creative, fast, intelligent and hungry players on our team in 2011. I want to see you and your coaches searching the backyards, rural streets, fenced city courts and the poorest of neighborhoods for those players who will keep us the best in the world.
  1. John Munnell
    commented on: November 19, 2010 at 8:35 a.m.
    Agreed with Lloyd. Wherever we find them, they must have technical speed. We have relied too long on physical superiority. We must raise the level of individual and team skill --- of course, this is the problem with the men's team, too. But the success of the women has masked the performance plateau we've been on for a long time.
  1. Heather Scott-molleda
    commented on: November 19, 2010 at 8:55 a.m.
    Ditto - well said Lloyd! The US selection process is broken! They need to scout for athletes with potential and players with intelligence and vision and get them into the system, and stop relying on suburban families who can pay ODP fees to drive the process. Many quality players like Andy Najar don't even play for travel teams! US soccer, especially colleges, rely entirely too much on size and strength. Take a lesson from Spain: we need quality players, NOT big players. It is telling that a player like Kristine Lilly is still one of the best we have. If the processed worked she would long ago have been replaced by younger, faster, better players.

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