Pressure on Americans ahead of China test

Thu Jun 25, 2015 10:12pm EDT
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By Simon Evans

(Reuters) - Almost two decades on from the World Cup final win over China that catapulted the United States women's team to prominence, the two sides meet again on Friday in the tournament's quarter-finals and the pressure is all on the Americans.

The U.S won their second World Cup title in 1999 in Pasadena after a dramatic penalty shootout against the Chinese, a victory considered as having helped women's soccer become part of the sporting landscape in the country.

The Americans have not won the title since but have claimed three gold medals at the Olympics, while the Chinese entered a slump from which they have only recently returned.

For China, reaching the last eight has been a positive step back to the elite of women's soccer but coach Hao Wei says there is no question of Friday's game in Ottawa being about revenge.

"I don't think it is about vengeance, it is just a match and we have our usual approach to the game," he told reporters.

But for captain Wu Haiyan, who said she has watched recordings of the 1999 final, the game offers some cause for inspiration.

"I think it was an exciting and historical moment and I hope we can make history on Friday too," she said.

The Americans are perhaps burdened by the expectations that come from their past success.   Continued...

Jun 22, 2015; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Colombia forward Lady Andrade (16) moves the ball against United States defender Becky Sauerbrunn (4) and defender Julie Johnston (19) during the second half in the round of sixteen in the FIFA 2015 women's World Cup soccer tournament at Commonwealth Stadium.  Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports