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Tarpley strikes twice again in 4-1 victory over Finland in Four Nations Tournament.

Sundhage calls in 27 to camp as Four Nations Cup prep begins.

Sundhage is hired to lead Americans to Olympic gold medal.

Best U.S. effort came a game late, beating Norway for World Cup third place.

Solo dropped from team before World Cup third-place match with Norway.

U.S. Women's World Cup fortunes declined quickly in rout by Brazil.

Brazil rolls to 4-0 victory over Americans in World Cup semifinal.

Scurry to replace Solo in goal for World Cup semifinal with Brazil.

Without best effort, U.S. still dumps England 3-0 in World Cup quarterfinals.

Despite taking group title, U.S. must improve to achieve World Cup goals.

Despite being dominated, U.S. rallies to draw North Korea 2-2 in Women's World Cup.

Despite being dominated, U.S. rallies to draw North Korea 2-2 in Women's World Cup.

Wambach hurts toe in 4-0 romp over Finland in final Cup tune-up.

Wambach hurts toe in 4-0 romp over Finland in final Cup tune-up.

Wambach nets pair, UNC quartet adds four in 6-2 rout of Canada.

Schedule for World Cup prep matches is set.

Ryan, Lilly to visit China for Women's World Cup draw.

Lilly scores two more in U.S.'s 5-0 rout of Mexico.

Wambach's two goals, Lloyd strike beat Sweden 3-2, earn Algarve final.

U.S. women

Boxx goal beats China 1-0 and takes Four Nations Tournament crown.

GUANGZHOU, China (Sunday, January 20, 2008) -- Midfielder Shannon Boxx struck in the 77th minute to give the United States women a 1-0 victory over China and their third straight Four Nations Tournament title before an estimated 3,000 at Guangdong Olympic Sports Center Stadium this afternoon.

The U.S., which finished 3-0 in this round-robin event, would have taken the crown even with a draw, while China would have captured the championship by winning. The U.S. has won this event in its last five appearances, finishing first in 2003 and 2004 before deciding not to participate in 2005.

"It is great to win this tournament," said new U.S. coach Pia Sundhage, now 3-0 after her first competition at the helm. "I am also very happy with the way we played."

China finished second at 1-1-1 with four points. Following today's 1-1 draw between Finland and Canada, Canada placed third at 0-1-2 with two points, while Finland took up the rear at 0-2-1 with one point.

Boxx's decisive tally came after defender Lori Chalupny burst past a defender outside the right perimeter of the penalty area only to be chopped down, earning a free kick. The initial ball was cleared by an opponent, but fell to the feet of U.S. defender Becky Sauerbrunn on the right flank and she lofted a ball into the middle of the box.

Boxx earned a bit of separation from her marker, arched her body and sent a looping header over goalkeeper Zhang Yanru into the right corner from 11 yards away for the 18th international goal.

Sauerbrunn recorded her first career assist. "We knew that they were a very patient team on the ball, but I think it kind of surprised how far they sat back," Boxx said. "So it took a little bit to get used to that, . . . (but) I think we did a really good job of waiting and trying to find the right moment (to attack) because China is very organized defensively."

China played conservatively from the outset, often dropping all 11 players into its defensive half. The Steel Roses used a 4-5-1 until they fell behind and they needed to send more players forward into the attack. The Americans opened in a 4-4-2, but switched to a 4-4-3 after intermission as a response to China's low pressure.

Resultantly, the U.S. outshot China 12-2, 6-1 on frame.

China's most dangerous chance came in the 13th minute when star forward Han Duan faked past U.S. defender Christie Rampone and laced a left-footer that keeper Hope Solo tipped over the crossbar. It was the only save she was required to make, though she did well in handling a pair of free kicks that skidded into the box, as well as a dangerous cross.

"I thought (Han) caught me off my line," said Solo, who posted clean sheets in both games she played here. "I was reading the through ball, so I started to cheat off my line and I swear the forward and I made eye contact. I saw that she was about to chip me, so I quickly made it back to my line and made the save."

In the 32nd minute, U.S. striker Heather O'Reilly broke into the left side of the penalty area and sent a cross that Zhang was able to parry away. The changed trajectory of the ball threw off Boxx's timing and she hit her volley a yard wide right of an open net.

In first-half stoppage time, U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd sent a low cross into a crowd in front of the net, but Zhang was able to grab it before an American could trigger a shot. Three minutes into the second half, Zhang tipped a 25-yard blast by Lloyd off her crossbar and out of play.

O'Reilly missed the target on shots from decent range in the 54th and 68th minutes. In the 83rd minute, reserve forward Amy Rodriguez had her shot off a U.S counter-attack tipped wide by Zhang.

The nine goals over the three games were also the most ever scored in the Four Nations Tournament by the U.S. -- the previous high was six -- en route to winning its sixth championship in seven visits to this event.

'The Chinese team forced us to change the system from the first half to the second half," Sundhage said. "The defending of the China team was also challenging, which was good, because that is what it is all about. At the end of the day, it was speed (that made the difference). You get tired after a while and the header that Boxx put in the goal was just excellent. It was a good finish for us in this tournament."

Notes: Veteran defender Catherine Whitehill did not play in the Four Nations Tournament after injuring an ankle in training just prior to the first match.

Sauerbrunn wore a mask today after breaking her nose against Canada in the first match.

O'Reilly was named the tournament's best player despite not scoring a goal. Midfielder Lindsay Tarpley was the leading scorer with four goals. Sundhage was named best coach, while the U.S. was given the "Fair Play Award."

Zhang was named the best goalkeeper.


United States 1, China 0

China - Zhang Yanru, Yuan Fan, Li Jie, Wang Kun, Zhang Ying; Zhang Tong, Bi Yan, Zhang Na, Xie Caixia (Zhang Cheng 80), Liu Yali (Guo Yue 69), Han Duan. United States - Hope Solo, Stephanie Cox, Christie Rampone (captain), Becky Sauerbrunn, Lori Chalupny, Shannon Boxx, Carli Lloyd (Angela Hucles 66), Lindsay Tarpley (Angie Woznuk 46), Heather O'Reilly, Lauren Cheney (Tobin Heath 46), Abby Wambach (Amy Rodriguez 76).

Scoring:
United States - Boxx (Sauerbrunn) 77.

Shots: China 2, United States 12. Shots on goal: China 1, United States 6. Saves: China 5, United States 1. Corner kicks: China 3, United States 7. Fouls: China 7, United States 7. Offside: China 1, United States 4.

Referee: Carol Anne Chenard (Canada). Assistant referees: Liu Hongjuan (China), Liang Jianping (China). Fourth official: Kirsi Savolainene (Finland). Attendance: 3,000 (estimated) at Guangdong (China) Olympic Sports Center Stadium. Weather: Hazy, warm, 72 degrees.


U.S. roster

Goalkeepers (2): Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.).

Defenders (6): Stephanie Cox (Elk Grove, Calif.), Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Ali Krieger (Dumfries, Va.), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), Becky Sauerbrunn (St. Louis), Catherine Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.).

Midfielders (7): Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis), Tina DiMartino (Massapequa Park, N.Y.), Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), Angie Woznuk (El Cajon, Calif.).

Forwards (5): Lauren Cheney (Indianapolis, Ind.), Heather O'Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).

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