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U.S. Is a Shoe-in for Bronze

Lilly, Boxx, Milbrett score to lift the Americans over Canada, 3-1, in World Cup third-place game.

October 12, 2003|Grahame L. Jones | Times Staff Writer

Bettina Wiegmann: A victory in today's final would be a fitting cap to the career of one of the world's all-time greats. The midfielder has captained the Germans to four European championships and a second-place finish in the 1995 World Cup. She holds the World Cup record for penalty kicks, with eight of her 11 goals coming from the spot. But her two most memorable goals came in the run of play, an 88th-minute score in the 1995 semifinals to beat China, 1-0, and a drive from the top of the box just before halftime of the 1999 quarterfinal against the U.S. that gave Germany a temporary lead.

*--* G GS Min Goals Wiegmann 21 21 1,808 11

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NIGERIA

Nkiru Okosieme and Florence Omagbemi: The two midfielders are part of a group of Nigerian players who had such a positive experience in the 1999 World Cup, they stayed in the U.S. Both play in the W-League, Okosieme for Charlotte and Omagbemi for league champion Hampton Roads. Okosieme's greatest moments for her national team came in the 1999 World Cup, when she scored in three of four games, including a second-minute goal against the U.S. Omagbemi, who was only 16 during her World Cup debut in 1991, is the Nigerian captain.

*--* G GS Min Goals Okosieme 11 10 932 3 Omagbemi 13 13 1,106 0

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NORWAY

Bente Nordby and Hege Riise: Two of the stars of the Norwegians' 1995 championship team, Nordby came out of retirement and Riise came back from injury to raise hopes for this year's team, before it fell in the quarterfinals. Nordby was the backup to Reidun Seth in 1991 but came into her own four years later, giving up only one goal in six games. Her finest World Cup effort may have been in her last game, when she was selected player of the game in a 1-0 loss to the U.S. last week. Riise won the Golden Ball as MVP of the 1995 World Cup, and added a WUSA championship with Carolina to her resume in 2002. But a knee injury limited her to only short minutes in this year's World Cup.

*--* G GS Min GAA Nordby 16 16 1,470 0.92 G GS Min Goals Riise 22 18 1,643 9

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UNITED STATES

Joy Fawcett, Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly: The constant presence in a run of success that includes two World Cup championships, two third-place finishes, Olympic gold and silver and the No. 1 ranking in the world, the veteran U.S. players have led teams that have put up a 20-2-2 record. No other player can match the 24 World Cup games played by Foudy and Lilly, and no one has put in as much time on the field as Fawcett, who played every minute of each of the 23 games she played. Hamm and Foudy join Sun and Wiegmann as the only four players to have scored in each World Cup.

*--* G GS Min Goals Fawcett 23 23 2,100 3 Foudy 24 21 1,991 4 Hamm 23 22 1,942 8 Lilly 24 23 2,000 7

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-- Van Nightingale

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