U-21 women lose to Germany in Nordic Cup final
STAVENGER, Norway -- The U.S. U-21 women's national team fell to Germany, 2-0, in the championship game of the 2006 Nordic Cup in yet another meeting of the world's top two women's soccer nations. Germany got a goal in each half, including a late clincher just four minutes from the end, to hand the USA its first loss in a Nordic Cup title game since 1997. "Overall on the day, (Germany) deserved to win," said U.S. head coach Jillian Ellis, who has coached the U-21s to two Nordic Cup titles. "We had good possession and pressured them a lot in the second half, but we couldn't finish. We were pushing for a tying goal, and it was unlucky to give up that last one." The match was up and down as both teams attacked with purpose, but both Germany goals came off U.S. miscues. The first came in the 32nd minute when defender Rachel Buehler slipped while trying to clear a ball from her six-yard box and Lydia Neumann took advantage to finish. The second came in the 86th minute as Lauren Wilmoth miss-cleared a ball to Simone Laudeher, and she put the game away. Prior to the match, the USA has won seven consecutive Nordic Cup titles at the world's premier event for U-21 women, and eight of the last nine. This is the second time Germany has won the Nordic Cup and first time they have beaten the USA for the title. In 2000, the USA defeated Germany in Germany in the title game, 1-0. In 2002 in Finland, the USA beat Germany by a 3-1 score. "They were a good, very strong, physical steam and kept possession very well," said Ellis. ""The best thing for our team was watching the maturing of these players as these games have been great for their development. A lot of these players haven't seen this caliber of teams. We're disappointed for sure because we battled so hard against Norway to get that result, so to get here and not have it go our way is disappointing, but I am very proud of their effort." U.S. forward Danesha Adams, who led the team in scoring during the tournament with five goals, was carted off the field at the end of the match after taking a hard knock. In the other placement matches, Norway beat England, 3-2, to take third place, Sweden beat Iceland, 1-0, to take fifth Finland beat Denmark, 1-0, to take seventh.