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U.S. ready for Group B opening game against DPR Korea, says head

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09:34, September 10, 2007

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Greg Ryan, head coach of the United States women's soccer team, told media here on Sunday that his team has been ready to kick off their World Cup campaign with Tuesday's Group B opener against DPR Korea.

"I think the team is ready. We've prepared very hard for two years. We're very confident because the preparation has been done, " Ryan told a press conference on Sunday, two days ahead of the opening match.

"We'll play for the championship, and show what we can do," said the 50-year-old, who took over the twice Word Cup title holders from April Heinrichs in early 2005.

The U.S. faced the same rivals in group stage four years ago on their home soil, winning all three matches to make the quarter-finals before being stopped at the semifinals by the eventual winners Germany.

"We've been able to get the information about DPR Korea's game via video and other method in last two years, so we know this team very well. And the Asian teams are with similar style. DPR Korea and Japan both play like China," he added.

The former assistant coach of the U.S. team respected his rivals a lot, however, praising them "a fantastic team".

"They bring wonderful players. They are very active, creative and confident in the game," he said.

Ryan had taken all his players to the zoo to see panda and visited most of the interest-sighting places in Chengdu after their arrival on Thursday, rather than putting all their energy on training.

He explained that's normal for a team in getting ready for a fiece fight.

"It's very important for players to get relaxed before the first match. Then, when the game comes, the team could be focused, " he said.

Security issues and other external conditions have not affected Ryan and his team.

"I think the security has been fantastic. It's the best we can get. It's very safe here. I think it's so safe that all teams here can focus on playing football," he said.

Ryan's also satisfied with the weather in Chengdu, saying that rain could not be a bad factor at all.

"I think the weather is very well right now. It 's not so hot and pretty cool. I think the rain sometimes benefit the more aggressive team," said Ryan, who rated it one of the best matches in the world cup with both sides playing aggressive attack style.

The head coach had been asked to imagine the worst situation against the DPR Koreans, and he played down any confidence-less, joking that "the worst thing will be the lights go out and we can't go playing".

Source: Xinhua

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