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WOMEN'S WORLD CUP

Coaches Turn Final Into No-Man's Land

October 09, 2003|Lisa Dillman | Times Staff Writer

Each has three names and one goal: Coaches Tina Theune-Meyer of Germany and Marika Domanski Lyfors of Sweden will be chasing a bit of history Sunday in the Women's World Cup soccer final at Carson.

Make that two bits. Neither Germany nor Sweden has won a Women's World Cup, but there is another groundbreaking legacy waiting out there.

A female coach has yet to win the World Cup. Anson Dorrance led the United States to the 1991 title and Tony DiCicco coached the Americans to victory at the Rose Bowl in 1999. In 1995, Even Pellerud, now coaching Canada, led his native Norway to the championship.

On Wednesday, the two women downplayed the gender issue.

"There's nothing to talk about," Domanski Lyfors said after a practice session in Carson. "It's not a matter of sex. It's a matter of personality and coaching style and what kind of team you have."

Said Theune-Meyer: "I don't think it's important. Every player needs a good coach and every player needs someone who is bringing ideas.... Many of our players have coaching licenses. There are a lot of female coaches in Germany."

But German striker Birgit Prinz, who said she may get her coaching license when her playing days are over, responded with a big smile when it was mentioned that there were two women coaches in the final.

"I think that is great," she said. "There are not so many women coaches in the tournaments."

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Goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg and her sore arm and body are gradually coming around after Germany's physical 3-0 victory over the U.S. in a semifinal Sunday.

"It's better than yesterday, and two days before," she said. "I'm a little bit tired. But I think in the evening everything is OK, and tomorrow I'm going 100% in training."

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The Swedish media contingent has expanded, and the players were on the field, en masse, for a live TV spot to their homeland at midday after a training session.

The players also have combined with one of the national TV networks and a leading Swedish newspaper to raise money to fight breast cancer. They were wearing small pink ribbons on their uniforms and midfielder Malin Mostrom said that 50,000 krona (about $6,600 U.S.) will be donated for every goal scored.

"It's good to give something, to be able to give something," she said. "Life is more important than soccer."

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The referee for the final will be Floarea Cristina Ionescu of Romania, and the assistants will be Irina Mirt of Romania and Katarzyna Nadolska of Poland, FIFA announced.

Ionescu officiated two games in the under-19 world championships last year in Canada.

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