Lilly hits another milestone in 5-0 romp over Denmark in Algarve Cup.
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Germany reverses 2005 final, takes Algarve Cup crown in penalty kicks.
FARO, Portugal (March 15, 2006) -- The United States women had nearly doubled Germany's shots and scoring chances, but it was the Germans who took the Algarve Cup championship by scoring one more penalty kick.
After 120 minutes of no goals and no winner, Germany, the top-ranked team in the world, prevailed 4-3 in a penalty-kicks tiebreaker to end the second-ranked U.S.'s three-year title run before 1,000 this afternoon at The Stadium Algarve.
The U.S. outshot the Germans 16-8 today, 9-4 on frame, earned a 13-3 corner-kicks advantage and hit the crossbar twice in the first half. German goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg was up to the task, coming up with a handful of spectacular saves to get her team to the shootout.
"We'll keep working on finishing," U.S. coach Greg Ryan said. "We haven't done a lot yet on set plays because we've been working on our team style, but when you get 13 corner kicks, you should get a goal."
In penalty kicks, Aly Wagner, Cat Whitehill and Kristine Lilly converted for the USA, but Shannon Boxx and Abby Wambach missed the second and fourth attempts. Germany was perfect with four of its five PKS with Petra Wimbersky ending the match with her successful attempt to the left corner of the net.
"It was a good game by both teams," Ryan said. "I think we played much better this year (than in last year's 1-0 decision over Germany in the 2005 Algarve final). Last year, I thought Germany dominated the game and we were fortunate to score the goal and defend well. Tonight, I think we were the more aggressive team, attacking throughout the game. The chances we created, the shots on goal, the corner kicks, we dominated this match, but some days, you don't get a goal."
Rottenberg made a critical save two minutes into regulation stoppage time to prevent a U.S. victory. Wagner played a diagonal ball from the left flank to Lilly, who got a step on right back Kerstin Stegemann inside the penalty area. The American striker cracked her shot across the face of the goal, but Rottenberg sprang to her left and managed to re-direct the shot around the goalpost.
Germany striker Birgit Prinz hit a free kick from 25 yards out weakly into the U.S. defensive wall in the 88th minute.
"It was a good soccer game at both ends," Lilly said. "I think we created more chances as the game went on, but we were unlucky. I thought we fought to the end, but it was just one of those games. . . This was a great game for this young team. . . This is our first loss we've had in over a year. You hate to go to penalty kicks, but this is also a great lesson for us. We came out (of the game) with a good head on our shoulders."
In the 22nd minute, seven minutes after Wagner missed wide left from 14 yards, U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd slipped a short pass behind the German defense to Wambach. The s's forward's first touch was a little too hard and Rottenberg slid out to knock the ball away.
The Americans hammered two shots off the crossbar in a span of four minutes. In the 30th minute, Lilly sent a square ball across the top of the penalty area to Wagner whose right-footed blast caught the top left of the bar. Four minutes later, Lloyd cranked a 30-yarder with her left foot that his almost the same spot on the goal frame.
"Silke made some great saves, the post made some great saves," Ryan said. "We need to finish more goals. I was happy the way we took our chances. We took them well, but were just a little off. Against China (in a 0-0 tie to open the tournament), we didn't take them well. But tonight, we looked to shoot, we took our chances, we hit the crossbar or (were stopped by) a great save."
Just before the halftime break, the U.S. caught Germany by surprise with a quick free kick. Wagner played Lilly into the right side of the box where the American captain slotted a pass to Lloyd. Lloyd's shot was blocked by a defender. Boxx was there for the rebound, but Rottenberg denied her with a point-blank reaction save.
In the 59th minute, Rottenberg reacted well to Wagner's deflected shot and pushed it away from the top right of her net.
Two minutes later, Wambach fought off defender Steffi Jones to get into the right side of the box, but her shot hit Rottenberg's right shoulder and was cleared.
In the 75th minute, reserve midfielder Lindsay Tarpley was first to a bouncing ball in a crowd in the box, but missed just wide right with a spinning shot as Rottenberg advanced.
U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo was not troubled during the match with the U.S. defense of Amy LePeilbet and Whitehill in the middle, and Heather Mitts and Christie Rampone on the outside, doing a fine job.
"We were organized, we were dropping well together and Cat and Amy worked well to cover one another," Solo said. "I felt the confidence today in the defense. It was the best since we've been together since 2005."
The U.S. has conceded two goals, one on a penalty kick, in its last 1,562 minutes of play.
Germany's best chance came in the 19th minute when its captain Birgit Prinz, a striker who has been named "World Player of the Year" the last three times, shot high. One minute later, midfielder Conny Pohlers tried a bicycle kick, but her shot went directly to Solo.
Wagner and Germany's Melanie Behringer traded successful penalty kicks to open the tiebreaker. In the second round, Boxx's effort to the lower right corner was easily stopped by Rottenberg, while Pohlers put Germany ahead 2-1 by going to the lower right.
Whitehill was successful to the top right corner, while Prinz shot well high to allow the U.S. to pull even at 2-2. Wambach, however, hit the bottom of the crossbar and Celia Okoyino da Mbabi then coolly slotted her shot into the right corner to put Germany back ahead 3-2.
Lilly needed to convert to keep the Americans alive, and she did, but Wimbersky provided a smart finish to the match and U.S. hopes.
"You play four games, you play your heart out, you work your butt off, and it comes down to one shot," Wambach said. "There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I should have put (the penalty kick) away. It's a shot that will stick fresh in my memory for the rest of my career, but I'm a professional, and I have to take the good with the bad.
"Tonight, Germany shot better than us in the penalties. I think we outplayed them on the field, but if we can't do it in regular time, we have to do it in penalties, and we didn't do that today."
The U.S. has not lost in regulation since a 3-1 setback to Denmark on November 6, 2004. Entering today, the Americans were 11-0-3 under coach Greg Ryan since he took over a year ago.
Sweden took third place, using a second-half tally from Lotta Scheliln to defeat France 1-0. In that match, French keeper sent Sweden's star striker Hanna Lundberg to the hospital, leveling her with a clothes-line hit as they went for a 50-50 ball 30 yards from goal.
Norway edged China 1-0 for fifth place. Finland slipped past Mexico 4-3 for seventh place, while Denmark dropped Ireland 4-0 for ninth place.
Notes: The U.S. team takes a two-week break before beginning a six-month residency camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Germany 0, United States 0 (Germany wins 4-3 in penalty kicks)
Lineups: -- United States - Hope Solo, Heather Mitts, Cat Whitehill, Amy LePeilbet, Christie Rampone, Shannon Boxx, Carli Lloyd (Lindsay Tarpley 69, Marci Miller 102), Aly Wagner, Heather O'Reilly (Natasha Kai 70, Amy Rodriguez 116), Abby Wambach, Kristine Lilly (captain). Germany - Silke Rottenberg, Kerstin Stegemann, Steffi Jones, Sandra Minnert (Sonja Fuss 106), Annike Krahn, Britta Carlson (Celia Okoyino da Mbabi 59), Conny Pohlers, Kerstin Garefrekes, Petra Wimbersky, Birgit Prinz (captain), Anja Mittag (Melanie Behringer 65).
Scoring: none. Penalty-kicks tiebreaker: United States - : Wagner (goal), Boxx (saved), Whitehill (goal), Wambach (hit crossbar), Lilly (goal). Germany - Behringer (goal), Pohlers (goal), Prinz (went high), Okoyino da Mbabi (goal), Wimbersky (goal).
Shots: United States 16, Germany 9. Shots on goal: United States 9, Germany 4. Saves: United States 4, Germany 6. Corner kicks: United States 13, Germany 3. Fouls: United States 15, Germany 16. Offside: United States 7, Germany 3. Yellow card cautions: United States - Mitts 25, Wambach 55.
Referee: Tammy Ogston (Australia). Assistant referees: Susanne Borg (Sweden), Hege Steinlund (Norway). Fourth official: Jenny Palmqvist (Sweden). Attendance: 1,000 at The Stadium Algarve in Faro, Portugal. Weather: Cloudy, chilly, 58 degrees.
Algarve Cup Placement Games in Portugal:
Championship: Germany 0, United States 0 (Germany wins 4-3 in penalty kicks in Faro)
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