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Sundhage lauds 'amazing' USA
by Paul Kennedy, July 25th, 2012 8:47PM

TAGS:  olympics, women's world cup


[USA-FRANCE] After getting off to a shaky start, falling two goals down and losing veteran midfielder Shannon Boxx with a hamstring injury -- all in the first quarter of an hour -- the USA regrouped and rolled over France, 4-2, in the Olympic women's soccer opener in Glasgow.

A YEAR LATER. The game was similar to the USA-France match in the 2011 Women's World Cup semifinals. The Bleues dominated play for long stretches, but the Americans were simply too powerful. What was different was the U.S. starting lineup: five changes from a year ago. Rachel Buehler was suspended and unavailable for the game in Moenchengladbach. Kelley O'Hara, a converted forward, was inserted at left back and Amy LePeilbet has moved to right back following the knee injury that has sidelined Ali Krieger. Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan -- supersubs at the Women's World Cup -- came up big in starting roles on Wednesday. And Tobin Heath, playing on the left wing, has replaced fellow New Jersey product and UNC alum Heather O'Reilly in the starting lineup.

REACTION. U.S. coach Pia Sundhage preferred to look at the 90 minutes of the game, not the disastrous start. "You can't look at only the first minutes or the last minutes, it's the whole game," she said. "If you look at the whole game, I'm really proud of the team. Scoring four goals, and goals that were fantastic, that's one way to prove that you are ready. It was a little shaky beginning, but I think it was amazing the way we came back and responded to those two goals."

CROWD WATCH. The opening doubleheader drew an announced crowd of 18,090 in Hampden Stadium. Most of the fans in attendance that been given free tickets given away to youth and sports clubs. There were 40,000 tickets distributed, but only around 7,000 were bought. The size of the crowd did mean police had to be brought in to help out with security because the original security firm G4S didn't have enough staff. The problem was worse in Cardiff for the Team GB opener. There were still long lines outside the stadium as the game kicked off because of lengthy security checks.

TRIVIA. Goalie Hope Solo's assist on Morgan's first goal against France was the first international assist of her career since debuting in 2000.

July 25 in Glasgow, Scotland
USA 4 France 2. Goals: Wambach 19, Morgan 32, 66, Lloyd 56; Thiney 12, Delie 14.
USA -- Solo; LePeilbet, Rampone, Buehler, O'Hara; Rapinoe (Leroux, 84), Boxx (Lloyd, 17), Cheney, Heath; Morgan (Rodriguez, 76), Wambach
France -- Bouhaddi; Renard, Meilleroux (Georges, 46), Franco, Bompastor; Abily (Soubeyrand, 71), Delie, Thomis, Necib (Le Sommer, 46); Bussaglia, Thiney.
Referee: Sachiko Yamagishi (Japan).
Att.: 18,090.

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