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U.S. women’s soccer team gears up for 5-game match

Norway holds a 13-11-1 record over U.S. squad

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The U.S. women's soccer team takes a final pre-Olympic tuneup trip to Germany and Norway in what is considered an ambitious five-game match against some of the world's top competition.

The Americans left Wednesday for a prestigious four-team women's tournament scheduled to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the German Soccer Federation. Joining the defending Olympic and World Cup championship U.S. team is China, Norway and host Germany.

China was the runner-up to the United States at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the 1999 World Cup, Norway claimed its own World Cup crown in 1995, and Germany is the two-time defending European champion.

Set for several sites throughout northern Germany, the six-game DFB 100th anniversary tournament is comprised of three doubleheaders. The United States' schedule includes Norway on Sunday, China on Wednesday and Germany on Saturday, July 22.

Point totals will determine the tournament winner.

After the German tourney, the Americans will travel for a two-match series against Norway, the United States' opening-match opponent at the 2000 Sydney Summer Games. Besides a July 30 match in Oslo, the two teams will meet in a "Midnight Sun" game on July 27 in Tromso in the far northern reaches of Norway — about 115 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

With the city located just below the 70th parallel and the game scheduled to start at 10:30 p.m. local time, stadium lights will not be needed since sunlight is available almost around the clock during the summer months.

The United States and Norway have played 25 times, with Norway holding a 13-11-1 record — the only international team holding a winning all-time record against the American women. And the two-game series later this month marks the first time the two teams have played on Norwegian soil.

With the two games, it will mark the fifth and sixth time that the United States and Norway will have played so far in the year 2000. The result is that the pair of opening-match Olympic opponents should be very familiar with each other by the time the Games start in Sydney in mid-September.

E-MAIL: taylor@desnews.com