Peace Cup event is added to WWC preparation.
(Wednesday, August 16, 2006) -- The United States women will travel to South Korea in October to take part in the Peace Cup, which will be competed in six cities between October 28 and November 4.
The visit to the Peace Cup, which invited only men's teams in its first two renditions, will serve as a final preparation for the U.S. women before they enter the CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup in November. The Gold Cup also serves as the qualifying tournament which determines the three 2007 Women's World Cup entrants from the region that includes North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
The U.S. and Canada have both been giving byes to the Gold Cup semifinals, so both teams can qualify for the Women's World Cup by winning one game. Both finalists qualify for the WWC, as does the winner of the third-place match.
The 2007 Women's World Cup will be played in China between September 10-30 next year.
The 2006 Peace Cup will feature eight women's national teams, broken into two groups of four. After group play, the two group winners battle November 4 in Seoul to decide the championship.
The U.S. opens Group B play against Denmark on October 29 in Kimhae in the southeastern part of South Korea, then goes to Cheonan, outside of Seoul, to face Australia two days later. A November 2 match against North Korea in Suwon closes group play.
Group A consists of South Korea, Brazil, Italy and Nigeria. The stadiums in Seoul and Suwon were used for the 2002 men's World Cup.
"I am excited to take our team to the Peace Cup," U.S. coach Greg Ryan said in a press release. "The timing of the tournament is perfect as we will play high-level international matches just before Women's World Cup qualification begins in late November. Most of the teams in this tournament have either qualified or will qualify for the 2007 Women's World Cup, making this a very important event for all teams involved."
Denmark, the U.S.'s first opponent, is the last to defeat the Americans, a 3-1 decision on November 8, 2004, as part of a tour to celebrate the U.S. capturing that year's Summer Olympics goal medal. Since then, the Americans have gone 18-0-4, though they dropped the 2006 Algarve Cup final to Germany in penalty kicks following what was officially a 0-0 draw.
The Denmark setback marked the only game in which striker Abby Wambach scored a goal, but her team lost. Since that game, the U.S. has defeated the Danes twice in the Algarve Cup, 2-0 in 2005 and 6-0 in March.
Australia, the U.S. second opponent in the second Peace Cup, has tied the Americans in their last two meetings -- 1-1 in the 2004 Olympics and 0-0 last October 16. Prior to that, the U.S. won the first 15 matches of the series.
The U.S. has played North Korea twice, winning both times in the Women's World Cup, 3-0 in 1999 and 3-0 in 2003.
North Korea qualified for next year's Women's World Cup by defeating Japan in the third-place match on Asian qualifying. In the previous match, a 1-0 loss to China, North Korea's apparent equalizer was disallowed and the ensuing fracas led to several Koreans being suspended for attacking the referees.
The Peace Cup was created as a festival to foster international goodwill through soccer. PSV Eindhoven, the current champion of the Netherlands' Eredivisie, won the first Cup in 2003, with Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League capturing the crown in 2005.
The U.S. women have never played in South Korea, but the American men played all five of their 2002 World Cup outings in the country.
Before the Peace Cup, the U.S. women have four games scheduled domestically -- China on August 27 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.; Mexico September 13 at PAETEC Park in Rochester, N.Y., with games on October 1 and October 8 soon to be announced.
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