U.S. Under 20s Down France, 1-0 to Win Group D

Aug. 24, 2006

Story Courtesy of U.S. Soccer

MOSCOW, Russia - The U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team finished Group D play at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship with a well-deserved 1-0 win over France at Dynamo Stadium as forward Jessica Rostedt scored the game-winner in the 61st minute. With the victory, the USA wins the group and will face Group C second-place finisher Germany in the quarterfinals on Sunday, Aug. 27, at Petrovsky Stadium in St. Petersburg. That match kicks off at 7 p.m. local / 11 a.m. ET and fans can follow the action live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker.

With both the USA and France already through to the quarterfinal round, this match was to determine the order of placement within the group. With the victory, the USA has won all nine first round games it has played at FIFA youth women's world championships and is one of just three teams in this year's tournament, along with China and North Korea, to take maximum points from group play.

Both Germany and North Korea won their final Group C matches easily, giving the group title to North Korea, which will face France in the first game of the Aug. 27 quarterfinal doubleheader in St. Petersburg. The USA-Germany clash is a rematch of the semifinal at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship in Thailand where the Germans defeated the United States, 3-1.

The U.S. goal came in the 61st minute on a quickly taken throw-in from the left flank. Midfielder Christina DiMartino found Rostedt, who spun toward the goal, took a few touches as she dribbled square across the top of the penalty area and then ripped a dipping shot from 20 yards out under French goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi and into the lower left corner. It was Rostedt's second goal of the tournament and the first goal given up by France in this competition.

The match marked the first minutes in the world championship for U.S. forward Lauren Cheney, who recovered from an abdominal strain to play the entire match. Cheney, along with fellow forwards Amy Rodriguez and Rostedt, put pressure on the French goal the entire match, and showed her excitement to play by rocketing a half-volley over the goal just five minutes into the match.

The USA out shot France 17-14, but the young Americans put just four shots on goal while France had nine on target. U.S. goalkeeper Valerie Henderson played a splendid match for the USA, saving all nine shots while catching some tough balls in traffic as well.

Rodriguez came off at halftime, but had two great chances in the first 45 minutes, the first coming just 11 minutes in when she made a run up the middle off a counter-attack and Cheney found her with a square pass. Rodriguez glided into the penalty area, but chopped her left-footed shot just wide right of the goal from 17 yards out.

She had another good scoring opportunity in 17th minute as Cheney let a square pass from DiMartino roll by her at the top of the penalty area right into the path of Rodriguez. The U.S. forward got a good strike on the ball, but sent it wide right of the net from 19 yards away.

Almost all of France's attack came from the speed of forward Elodie Thomis, who got behind the U.S. defense in the 17th minute. Defender Nikki Krzysik got a toe to the ball, pushing it a bit wider inside the penalty area, forcing Thomis to strke her shot wide left of the goal.

In the 30th minute, defender Tobin Heath, who played another excellent match for the USA in the back, got free in the right side of the penalty area and then cut a cross on the ground back to the charging Cheney, but the U.S. forward overran the ball eliminating the chance to knock it into the net. The French countered on that missed chance and Thomis got free behind Krzysik again, but as the U.S. defender leaned into her, Henderson made a brilliant reaction save of the French forward's shot from 17 yards out, flipping up her right arm to deflect the ball for a corner kick.

In stoppage time of the first half, Heath went on the dribbling run of the match, winning a ball in midfield before eluding three players at top speed. The final one, Emilie Hullier, took her down at the top of the penalty area and was cautioned. Brittany Bock got a good strike on the freekick, but sent it right at Bouhaddi.

France had its best sequence in the 54th minute as Carrie Dew cleared a ball right to the top of the penalty area and Sabrina Belannoy cracked a shot through traffic from 20 yards out. It was well-saved by Henderson, but she gave up a rebound and had to throw her body at Amandine Henry's close-range shot to smother it away from danger.

Henderson caught the ensuing corner kick in heavy traffic and her punt found Rostedt running past the French defense. The U.S. forward tried to loop it over Bouhaddi, but it dropped just over the crossbar as the French `keeper flew back into her net.

Midfielder Amanda Poach came on at halftime, and when she was joined by Allie Long in the center of the park for the USA in the 58th minute, the U.S. team started to totally control the match. The tired French started to lose their creativity and relied instead on long balls to Thomis, all of which were run down by the U.S. back line of Stephanie Lopez, Dew, Krzysik and Heath, who put together a stellar overall match as a unit.

In the 69th minute, Cheney popped free behind the French defense in the left side of the penalty area and tried to spin a right-footed shot over Bouhaddi, but the `keeper was able to push it over the top of the goal. In the last 15 minutes of the game, Dimartino started to make an impact down the right flank, earning several free-kicks and sending in several probing crosses. Rostedt also had several chances to add to the lead, the best coming in stoppage time as DiMartino bent an early ball in from the right wing. Rostedt and the scrambling Bouhaddi met the ball at the same time and the French `keeper smothered the close-range chance.

With Cheney back from injury and Kelley O'Hara returning from suspension after getting a red card against Argentina, the USA will be at full strength for the Germany match.

In the other quarterfinal match-ups, Brazil will face Nigeria in what is sure to be an electric match and China will face hosts Russia. Both of those games will be played on Aug. 26 at Torpedo Stadium in Moscow.

USA -- 1-Val Henderson; 11-Tobin Heath, 15-Carrie Dew, 4-Nikki Krzysik, 6-Stephanie Lopez - C; 13-Tina DiMartino, 5-Sarah Wagenfuhr (7-Amanda Poach, 46), 10-Brittany Bock (14-Allie Long, 58); 2-Jordan Angeli, 8-Lauren Cheney, 12-Amy Rodriguez (17-Jessica Rostedt, 46).Subs not used: 3-Stephanie Logterman, 9-Danesha Adams, 16-Erin Hardy, 18-Kelsey Davis, 20-Casey Nogueira, 21-Joanna Haig.Suspended: 19-Kelley O'Hara
Head Coach: Tim Schulz

FRA -- 16-Sarah Bouhaddi; 2-Sabrina Delannoy, 3-Laure Boulleau - C (14-Ines Dhaou, 74), 5-Coralie Ducher (13-Elodie Cordier, 42), 11-Melodie Coudray; 15-Emilie Huillier, 6-Caroline Pizzala, 8-Meriame Ben Abdelwahab, 10-Louisa Necib, 20-Amandine Henry (18-Marie-Laure Delie, 63), 9-Elodie Thomis.Subs not used: 1-Veronique Pons, 4-Morgane Courteille, 7-Jessica Houara, 12-Gwenaelle Pele, 17-Helene Houllier, 19-Livia Jean, 21- Audrey Arraby.
Head Coach: Stephane Pilard

Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Valerie Henderson

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