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Hot Corner

September 20, 2003|Van Nightingale

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, heard, observed, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here. One exception: No products will be endorsed.

What: Women's World Cup sites www.fifaworldcup.com and www.ussoccer.com

The love fest that was the Women's World Cup '99 was as much or more about personalities as it was about sport. Every little girl may have known about Mia Hamm, but the U.S. women's team's run to the championship introduced players such as Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy and their teammates who, for a few weeks at least, captivated the nation.

FIFA, which set new standards for Internet coverage during the men's Cup last summer, has not forgotten. In addition to a wealth of information on all 16 teams at fifaworldcup.com, there is a section devoted to behind-the-scenes looks at the U.S. team, including Chastain's diary and video interviews with all the members of the U.S. team -- if you can stomach the advertisement for the fast-food chain sponsor that runs before each video.

Personality profiles aside, this is also the place to go on the Web for meat and potatoes coverage, with features and facts on each team, a history section on past World Cups and women's greats, information on each of the venues, schedules, statistics and real-time play-by-play coverage of the games.

Likewise, ussoccer.com, the official site of the United States Soccer Federation, has beefed up for the Cup with the addition of "U.S. Women's National Team Plus," accessed by a drop-down menu on the site's main page. In addition to the usual collection of news and statistics, fans can follow midfielder Shannon Boxx's World Cup experience through her diary, write an e-mail to the U.S. team, and find out the exact number of days, hours, minutes and seconds until the next game.

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-- Van Nightingale

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