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No settling planned

American midfielder Megan Rapinoe shoots as coach Pia Sundhage looks on during a training session. Rapinoe has come off the bench in both U.S. games in the Women’s World Cup and scored Saturday in a 3-0 victory over Colombia.

Associated Press

American midfielder Megan Rapinoe shoots as coach Pia Sundhage looks on during a training session. Rapinoe has come off the bench in both U.S. games in the Women’s World Cup and scored Saturday in a 3-0 victory over Colombia.

WOLFSBURG, Germany — Rest is nice; winning is better.

The United States plays Sweden in the group stage finale Wednesday at the Women's World Cup, a game that would seem to have little importance with both teams already through to the quarterfinals.

But there is plenty at stake for the Americans, starting with the bragging rights — and everything that comes with them — for winning Group C.

"We go for a win," U.S. coach Pia Sundhage, a Swede, said Monday. "Absolutely."

The two-time World Cup champions need only a tie to win Group C and likely avoid a quarterfinal matchup with Brazil. The Group C winner plays the second-place team in Group D, likely Australia or Norway. The Group C runnerup gets the Group D winner.

Brazil, runnerup in 2007 and at the past two Olympics, needs only a draw against World Cup newcomer Equatorial Guinea to win Group D.

"I can safely say that there's not going to be one player or person or staff member from the United States that's going to say, 'We want a tie,' " forward Abby Wambach said. "We want to win this game because we want to keep the momentum going forward. Obviously, you have to be smart. We want to get some of those 90-minute players some rest if we can do that. But first and foremost, we want to make sure and secure the first place out of this group."

The United States is 18-4-7 against Sweden, including 3-0 in the World Cup. But Sweden beat this U.S. team 2-1 in January, one of three losses in a five-month span after the Americans had gone more than two years without a loss.

Sweden will be without captain Caroline Seger. The midfielder is suspended after picking up her second yellow card of the tournament Saturday against North Korea.

Sundhage will keep a close eye on Wambach, the former Florida star who is carrying a yellow card and would miss the quarterfinals if she gets another. Wambach (Achilles') and Heather O'Reilly (groin) sat out practice Monday as a precaution.

BACK AT IT: After Monday's off day, the tournament resumes today as Groups A and B conclude. In Group A, Germany and France have clinched quarterfinal bids, but host Germany, trailing on goal differential, must beat its neighbor to win the group. In Group B, England needs only a tie to clinch a spot, and Japan is already in the quarters.

Today's schedule
Gm Group When TV Matchup
17 A 2:45 p.m. ESPN France vs. Germany
18 A 2:45 p.m. ESPN2 Canada vs. Nigeria
19 B 12:15 p.m. ESPN England vs. Japan
20 B 12:15 p.m. ESPN2 New Zealand vs. Mexico
United States schedule, Group C
Gm When TV Matchup
22 2:45 p.m. Wednesday ESPN Sweden vs. U.S.


Women's World Cup

Top two in each group advance:

GROUP A

GP W D L GF GA Pts

France 2 2 0 0 5 0 6

Germany 2 2 0 0 3 1 6

Nigeria 2 0 0 2 0 2 0

Canada 2 0 0 2 1 6 0

GROUP B

GP W D L GF GA Pts

Japan 2 2 0 0 6 1 6

England 2 1 1 0 3 2 4

Mexico 2 0 1 1 1 5 1

New Zealand 2 0 0 2 2 4 0

GROUP C

GP W D L GF GA Pts

United States 2 2 0 0 5 0 6

Sweden 2 2 0 0 2 0 6

North Korea 2 0 0 2 0 3 0

Colombia 2 0 0 2 0 4 0

GROUP D

GP W D L GF GA Pts

Brazil 2 2 0 0 4 0 6

Australia 2 1 0 1 3 3 3

Norway 2 1 0 1 1 3 3

Equ. Guinea 2 0 0 2 2 4 0

No settling planned 07/04/11 [Last modified: Monday, July 4, 2011 10:49pm]
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