U.S. women gain consolation with 3-1 win over Sweden. Hamm sets up all tallies for Algarve Cup third place.
QUARTEIRA, Portugal (Saturday, March 21, 1998) -- Striker Mia Hamm did not score, but she played a part in all three goals as the United States women found net twice in the final five minutes to register a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Sweden for third place in the Fifth Algarve Cup today at Municipal Stadium.
With just five minutes remaining, Hamm barreled toward the Swedish goal, cut back into the middle and was chopped down in the penalty area by Jane Tornquist. Brandi Chastain drilled her third penalty kick of the tournament hard into the left side of the net for a 2-1 lead.
Two minutes later, Hamm created the clinching goal, collecting a poor punt from Swedish goalkeeper Ulrika Karlsson about 40 yards from the goal. She sprinted at the Swedish net with two defenders in tow, and, as Karlsson came out to challenge, slipped the ball through to Kristine Lilly. Hamm, the keeper and both Swedish defenders collided and fell in a heap while Lilly collected the ball and dribbled unchallenged across the goal line for her 55th international goal in her 146th appearance.
"We played a good match against an improved Sweden team and finished the tournament well," said U.S. coach Tony DiCicco. "Mia Hamm had another outstanding game along with Kristine Lilly. The commitment to victory was vastly improved over the Norway game, but once again we found these teams in mid-season form due to their World Cup Qualification schedule. Overall, the tournament was an excellent event for our development as we prepare for the 1999 Women's World Cup."
After suffering an embarrassing 4-1 setback to Norway on Thursday, the worst margin of defeat in U.S. history, the Americans regrouped and played aggressively, outshooting the Swedes, 22-6, and recording a corner-kick edge of 12-2.
It was Sweden, however, that scored first on its first shot in the 29th minute. American defender Lorrie Fair knocked down a left-side cross, but hesitated before clearing the ball, allowing 19-year old Hanna Ljungberg drill the loose ball six yards past U.S. keeper Tracy Ducar.
"The first half we played exceptionally well even though we fell behind," said DiCicco. "The true character of this team came out as they equalized and never stopped working to get the winning goal."
The U.S. drew even in the 39th minute when Hamm received a short corner kick from the left side and dribbled across the top of the penalty box before feeding Julie Foudy, who side-stepped a defender to her right and then shot. Karlsson, too far out of her net, could only get a piece of the ball as it flew over her head into the goal.
"Coming off a disappointing game against Norway, we really rebounded well, especially in our commitment to fight and battle and win loose balls," said Hamm. "We executed our style instead of letting the opponent dictate the game, like we did against Norway."
The United States will gather again April 18 at the ARCO Olympic Training Center in San Diego before playing two games against Argentina in California, April 24 at Titan Stadium in Fullerton at 10:30 p.m. (ET) on April 26 at Spartan Stadium in San Jose in a 3:30 p.m. (ET) match televised live on ESPN.
"Anytime the national team gets together to play and compete, it's going to help us prepare for all games coming up in the United States," added Hamm, who along with her teammates has played 11 of their last 13 internationals matches on foreign soil. "We love playing at home and the support we get is always wonderful."
In other Algarve Cup matches, Norway crushed Denmark, 4-1, for the championship; China earned fifth place with a 3-2 win over the Netherlands and host Portugal took seventh, beating Finland in penalty kicks after tying 2-2 in regulation.
United States 3, Sweden 1Lineups: United States - Tracey Ducar (Briana Scurry 46), Carla Overbeck, Lorrie Fair, Joy Fawcett, Tiffany Roberts (Sara Whalen 59), Julie Foudy, Michelle Akers (Tisha Venturini, 46), Shannon MacMillan (Brandi Chastain 46), Debbie Keller (Justi Baumgardt, 67), Kristine Lilly, Mia Hamm. Sweden - Ulrika Karlsson, Asa Lonnquist (Christin Lija 51), Cecilia Sandell, Hanna Marklund, Anna-Maria Eriksson, Jane Tornquist, Malin Andersson, Salina Olsson (Linda Fagerstrom, 71), Therese Sjogran, Victoria Svensson, Hanna Ljungberg.
Scoring: Sweden - Ljungberg (unassisted) 29; United States - Foudy (Hamm) 39; United States - Chastain (penalty kick) 85; United States - Lilly (Hamm) 87. Shots: United States 22, Sweden 6. Saves: United States 4, Sweden 3. Corner kicks: United States 12, Sweden 2. Fouls: United States 9, Sweden 14. Offside: United States 1, Sweden 5. Yellow card caution: Sweden - Cecilia Sandell 35.
Referee: Gitte Nielsen (Denmark). Assistant referees: Sergio Lecroix (Portugal), Ana Paz (Portugal). Attendance (Municipal Stadium): 250. Weather: Sunny, breezy, 80 degrees.