Sunday, October 5, 2003

Semifinal finality: Germany is next

U.S. prepares for Cup's featured match

By Anne M. Peterson
The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. - Joy Fawcett knows everything she needs to about Germany. The United States co-captain predicts the Germans will be a difficult opponent in Sunday's semifinals of the Women's World Cup.

In the quarterfinals four years ago, the Americans fell behind twice before winning 3-2 on Fawcett's goal off Shannon MacMillan's corner kick.

"The Germans are just smart tactically," Fawcett said. "They know the game so well, they're so organized. They just pick you apart - piece by piece."

Sweden plays surprise semifinalist Canada in the other game of the doubleheader, with the winners advancing to the final on Oct. 12 at Carson, Calif.

Fawcett, a 35-year-old mother of three, calls her goal against Germany one of the most memorable of her career, which has included all four World Cups.

"I remember everyone being confident and knowing that we could come out of it," the defender said.

While forward Mia Hamm and midfielder Julie Foudy grab much of the attention, Fawcett has again been the anchor of the defending champions.

"Joy is one of the most consistent, underrated players I've ever seen," midfielder Kristine Lilly said. "She doesn't lead by her voice, she leads by example."

Asked to assess this year's German team, Fawcett was succinct.

"They're good finishers. We know that," she said, adding: "They've got Prinz."

Birgit Prinz scored twice in Germany's 7-1 quarterfinal rout of Russia, raising her total to a tournament-high six.

"She's a great player," U.S. coach April Heinrichs said. "A force to be reckoned with."

The Germans, ranked third in the world, have outscored opponents 20-3, beating Canada, Japan and Argentina in the first round.

The United States also is unbeaten, defeating Sweden, Nigeria and North Korea in the toughest first-round group, then beating Norway 1-0 in the quarterfinals. The Americans have scored 12 goals and allowed just one.

"I think the key is balance - moderation in how much we commit to the defense, and moderation in how much we commit to the offense," Heinrichs said.

In January, the Americans defeated Germany 1-0 at Shanghai, China, when Devvyn Hawkins, who isn't on the 20-woman World Cup roster, kicked in a cross from Brandi Chastain. Still, it's the quarterfinal four years ago that Foudy really remembers.

"That's one of those games that when it's over, you just go, 'Oh, thank God,"' she said.

The Germans, meanwhile, are confident they can avenge 1999's loss.

"Birgit is very strong and Maren (Meinert) is technically strong," defender Kerstin Stegemann said. "Just look at our goals. They've been beautiful goals. The goals speak for themselves."

In the other semifinal, Canada expects a physical game from Sweden. Canada advanced with a 1-0 upset of 1999 finalist China, while the Swedes beat Brazil 2-1 in the quarterfinals.

"They're a lot like us," Canadian captain Charmaine Hooper said. "They gut it out."

Canada will be without defender Isabelle Morneau, who injured her left knee against China. The Canadians earlier lost defenders Breanna Boyd and Candace Chapman to injuries.

U.S. vs. Germany by the numbers

4: Number of matches each team has played

20: Number of goals Germany has scored

47: Number of shots on goal for Germany

12: Number of goals the United States has scored

33: Number of shots on goal for the United States

3: Number of goals Germany has allowed

1: Number of goals the United States has allowed

Remaining Cup schedule



At Portland, Ore.

• United States vs. Germany, 7:30 p.m. (TV: ESPN2)

• Sweden vs. Canada, 10:25 p.m. (TV: ESPN2)



• Semifinal losers, 3:30 p.m.


Sunday, Oct. 12

• Semifinal winners, 1 p.m. (TV: ABC)

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