U.S. Women Advance To Quarterfinals.
MANCHESTER, England — The last time a women’s soccer match was played at Old Trafford, less than 1,000 people were on hand for the 1989 FA Cup final.
A CROWD OF 29,522 was on hand to see the U.S. women beat North Korea 1-0 to win Group G and advance to the Olympic quarterfinals.
Against the “mystery” opponent, Abby Wambach scored a first-half goal and the U.S. shut the North Koreans down in the second half. They have not allowed a goal since falling behind 2-0 after 14 minutes in their Olympic opener against France.
In an iconic venue against a mysterious opponent, the U.S. women’s Olympic soccer team did the familiar: Abby Wambach scored the decisive goal in a victory, and the players found a funky way to celebrate. It was Wambach’s 141st international goal. The U.S. women will move on to play the quarterfinal game at Newcastle on Friday against either Canada or New Zealand.
North Korea, which finished group play 1-2-0 had much to play for with a chance to also advance to knockout play. That went away with the loss. France, which lost 4-2 to the U.S. in the opening game, will advance with a 5-0 win over North Korea and a 1-0 win over Colombia.
The North Koreans are ranked in the top 10 in the world, but they remain an unknown in women’s soccer because their players and officials have limited interaction with other teams. They sent a very young squad to these Olympics: Their average age of 19 years, 11 months made them look like a junior club next to the Americans, who checked in at 28 years, 1 month.
Offensively, the Americans can be concerned about a second straight game in which on-the-field dominance failed to produce a comfortable margin. They held a 1-0 lead over Colombia until late in the second half Saturday before pulling away to a 3-0 win.
This time, the insurance goals never came, despite plenty of chances. Alex Morgan and Wambach both hit the right post in the first half, part of a series of near-misses.
The goal came in the 25th minute on a play set up by Cheney’s long ball to Morgan, who slid a pass between two defenders to Wambach for an easy tap-in and her third goal of the tournament. The U.S. players celebrated by forming a line facing the crowd while holding hands — then they starting wiggling their arms as if to create the look of a giant, slithering snake.
– U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –
Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Korea DPR
Date: July 31, 2012
Competition: 2012 Olympic Games; Group G
Venue: Old Trafford; Manchester, England
Kickoff: 5:15 p.m. local (12:15 p.m. ET)
Weather: 63 degrees, light rain
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
PRK 0 0 0
USA – Abby Wambach (Alex Morgan) 25th minute
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 6-Amy LePeilbet, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 16-Rachel Buehler (4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 75), 5-Kelley O’Hara; 9-Heather O’Reilly, 10-Carli Lloyd, 12-Lauren Cheney (8-Amy Rodriguez, 84), 15-Megan Rapinoe (17-Tobin Heath, 45); 13-Alex Morgan, 14-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 2-Heather Mitts, 7-Shannon Boxx, 11-Sydney Leroux, 18-Nicole Barnhart
Head coach: Pia Sundhage
PRK: 18-O Chang Ran; 2-Kim Nam Hui, 3-Kim Myong Gum, 14-Pong Son Hwa, 20-Choe Yong Sim; 7-Ri Ye Gyong, 8-Jon Myong Hwa, 6-Choe Un Ju, 11-Kim Chung Sim (capt.) (12-Kim Un Hyang, 80); 10-Yun Hyon Hi (21-Kim Su Gyong, 31), 16-Kim Song Hui (9-Choe Mi Gyong, 63)
Subs not used: 1-Jo Yun Mi, 5-Yun Song Mi, 15-Ri Nam Sil, 13-O Hui Sun
Head coach: Sin Uin Gun
Statistical Summary: USA / PRK
Shots: 16 / 3
Shots on Goal: 8 / 0
Saves: 0 / 7
Corner Kicks: 7 / 0
Fouls: 5 / 12
Offside: 1 / 1
PRK – Ri Ye Gyong (caution) 13th minute
USA – Lauren Cheney (caution) 16
PRK – Kim Song Hui (caution) 42
PRK – Choe Mi Gyong (caution) 77
PRK – Choe Mi Gyong (sent off) 81