U.S. soccer  Team USAsoccer

soccer feedback

Worst loss ever costs U.S. Algarve final. Petterson scores twice in Norway’s 4-1 victory.

LAGOS, Portugal (Thursday, March 19, 1998) -- The United States women picked a bad time to suffer their worst result ever. Needing only a victory, tie or loss by less than three goals at Municipal Stadium to advance to the Fifth Algarve Cup championship match, the American women fell by three goals for the first time in their history.

Marianne Pettersen found net twice and added an assist to spark reigning world champion Norway (2-1) to a 4-1 victory over the U.S (2-1) in the final Group A game and a Saturday title meeting with Group B winner Norway. The U.S., which has yet to win the Algarve Cup in four attempts, will play for third place against Sweden in Quarteira Saturday at 6 a.m. (ET).

Both teams finished with six points in the standings, but Norway advanced with plus-three goal differential to the plus-two of the Americans. It was just the second time in their 13-year, 168-game history that the U.S. women had allowed four goals in a match, the other time being May 28, 1991, in a 4-3 loss to the Netherlands.

The result was particularly shocking considering a 4-1 American victory Tuesday over intense rival China. Norway’s relentless pressure, however, was more than the U.S., which beat China for the 1996 Summer Olympics gold medal, could handle.

"Norway was a different team than the one we saw in China," said U.S. coach Tony DiCicco, whose side beat Norway, 3-0, en route to winning a January tournament in China. "They were much quicker, much more organized and more aggressive. It's a very, very disappointing result."

Norway, the only nation to possess a winning record against the U.S. at 11-9-1, jumped ahead 2-0 in the first 12 minutes. In the seventh minute, Norway stole a U.S. pass at midfield and immediately played the ball forward to Marianne Pettersen who fought off defender Joy Fawcett's challenge and slotted a low ball 13 yards past goalkeeper Briana Scurry into the left corner.

Norway got its second goal five minutes later when Scurry committed the inexcusable mental error of picking up a back-pass from Fawcett, giving the Scandinavians an indirect free kick 16 yards from the goal. Midfielder Julie Foudy blocked the first attempt, but was given a yellow card for encroachment. Norway was allowed to take the kick again and this time Hege Risse's deflected shot rolled in the opposite direction behind a helpless keeper.

"We took the game too lightly," DiCicco said. "At this level against this kind of competition, it's a game of mentality, and we did not have it today. We had some bad mistakes in the back and it cost us a place in the final."

Norway's Unni Lehn made it 3-0 in the 50th minute, putting her shot just beyond Scurry’s outstretched hand from 17 yards.

Brandi Chastain’s penalty kick in the 69th minute narrowed the U.S. deficit to 3-1. The penalty was awarded after striker Mia Hamm was tripped chasing the rebound of midfielder Michelle Akers hard shot.

Petterson’s unassisted goal a minute later finished the scoring.

In other action in Montechoro, Denmark won Group B with a 2-0 victory over Portugal and Sweden defeated Holland, 1-0. In the second match at Lagos, China downed Finland, 1-0.

Norway 4, United States 1

Lineups: United States - Briana Scurry, Carla Overbeck, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, Tiffany Roberts (Sara Whalen 77), Julie Foudy, Tisha Venturini (Debbie Keller 51), Kristine Lilly, Michelle Akers, Shannon MacMillan (Lorrie Fair 78), Mia Hamm. Norway - Bente Nordby, Henriette Viker, Goril Kringen, Linda Medalen, Anne Nymark Andersen, Unni Lehn (Linda Ormen 89), Hege Risse, Monica Knudsen (Elisabeth Fagereng 81), Margunn Haugenes, Ann Kristin Aarones (Ragnhild Gulbrandsen 84), Marianne Petteresen.

Scoring: Norway - Pettersen (Knudsen) 7th minute; Norway - Risse (Aarones) 12; Norway - Unni Lehn (Pettersen) 50; United States - Chastain (penalty kick) 69; Norway - Pettersen (unassisted) 70. Shots: United States 10, Norway 16. Saves: United States 9, Norway 7. Corner kicks: United States 2, Norway 4. Fouls: United States 7, Norway 11. Offside: United States 2, Norway 0. Yellow card cautions: United States - Julie Foudy 12; Norway - Pettersen 40.

Referee: Ingrid Jonsson (Denmark). Assistant referees: Rogerio Rebeca (Portugal), Sergio Lecroix (Portugal). Attendance (Municipal Stadium): 200 (weather: sunny, windy, 78 degrees)