U.S. women beat Italy 2-0 in Peace Queen Cup

June 19, 2008

SUWON, South Korea -- The U.S. women earned a place in the championship game of the Peace Queen Cup with a 2-0 victory Thursday over Italy on two goals by Abby Wambach.

The win clinched Group B for the Americans, who will face Group A winner Canada on Saturday for the title. It will be a rematch of the 2006 final, a 1-0 U.S. victory on a goal by Kristine Lilly.

Wambach scored in the 41st and 51st minutes. The goals were classic Wambach, the first coming on a powerful dribbling run, the second a towering header.

"You can see the more games we play, the better she becomes. She is a threat every time she gets the ball," U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said.

On the first goal, Stephanie Cox sent a long ball down the wing to Wambach, who then turned toward the net. She got around defender Viviana Schiavi to the end line and then dribbled straight at the near post. Wambach struck a hard left-footed shot from just off the end line that went through the legs of goalkeeper Anna Picarelli.

Six minutes into the second half, Wambach struck again. She jumped over defender Giulia Perelli to meet a corner kick from Carli Lloyd and smashed a header into the goal from 5 yards.

The two goals gave Wambach three for the tournament and increased her all-time total to 98 in 122 games. It also gave her 12 for the year, surpassing Natasha Kai as the Americans' leading scorer in 2008.

Wambach is impressed with the way the U.S. team is performing ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

"It was the third game in the span of five days, so it was good to get some people some rest and get some people some experience," she said. "At this point, we're just trying to take care of those few last details before we head to Beijing. We don't have very many games left before that, so it's exciting."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press