Jan. 20, 2008
Boxx goal lifts U.S. to Four Nations title
Guangzhou, China -- Midfielder Shannon Boxx scored on an 11-yard head shot in the 77th minute to give the U.S. the Four Nations Tournament championship with a 1-0 victory over China Sunday.
|Shannon Boxx's header was the game winner for the U.S.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The Americans completed their first competition of the season unbeaten at 3-0. Their next big challenge will be the Algarve Cup in Portugal in March before CONCACAF qualifying for the Olympics in Mexico in April.
Boxx’s goal came after defender Lori Chalupny had burst past a defender outside the penalty box on the right side only to be been taken down, earning a free kick.
The initial service was cleared off a Chinese head, but the ball fell to defender Becky Sauerbrunn on the right wing and she sent a looping service back into the middle. Boxx got a bit of separation from her defender and arched her body to send a looping header over the Chinese goalkeeper into the right corner from 11 yards out. The goal was the 18th of Boxx’s international career. It was Sauerbrunn’s first career assist.
"At the end of the day, it was speed," U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said. "You get tired after a while and the header Boxx put in the goal, that was just excellent -- a good finish for us in this tournament."
Goalkeeper Hope Solo, who had become persona non grata from the U.S. team for criticizing former coach Greg Ryan's decision to drop her during the Women's World Cup in September, started for the second time in the tournament and made one save.
“I thought she caught me off my line,” Solo said of the save against forward Han Duan. “I was reading the through ball so I started to cheat off my line and I swear the forward and I made eye contact. I saw that she was about to chip me so I quickly made it back to my line and made the save.”
Sundhage, an assistant coach on China at the WWC, was satisfied with the team's performance.
"The Chinese team forced us to change the system in the first half to the second half," she said. "The defending of the Chinese team challenged us a little bit, which was good because this is what it's all about. The next game, we'll make sure we can attack in different ways."
Canada took third place by tying Finland, 1-1.