By Steven Goff
How qualified: Host country gets automatic berth.
Previous World Cups: First in 1991, third in '95.
Top Players: F Mia Hamm, MF Michelle Akers, MF Kristine Lilly, F TIffeny Milbrett, D Joy Fawcett. Capsules
Of Note: 10-1-1 all-time in World Cup play (40 goals for, 10 allowed) and 9-0 in qualifying matches, outscoring opponents, 85-1.
Outlook: Expected to win title, but may be vulnerable in elimination rounds against likes of Germany, Brazil, China and Norway. Large home crowds will provide emotional boost. Hamm and Milbrett need to score consistently.
How qualified: Finished second in Asia.
Previous World Cups: First appearance.
Top Players: F Kim Kum Sil, D Kim Sun Hui, MF Ri Kyong Ae, F Kim Hye Ran, MF Ri Hyang Ok. Roster
Of Note: Upset Japan, 1-0, in Asian semifinals to earn one of three Asian berths before losing to China, 2-0, in final.
Outlook: Unknown Koreans could pose problems for favored first-round opponents after earning praise for "fast and skillful performance" at Asian qualifying tournament. Also known for physical play to disrupt opposition's rhythm.
How qualified: Won European Group 4 with 6-0 record.
Previous World Cups: Seventh in 1991, sixth in '95.
Top Players: F Gitte Krogh, F Lene Jensen, D Lene Terp, GK Dorthe Larsen, MF Christina Petersen. Roster
Of Note: Terp played at Lynn University (Fla.) and teammate Mikka Hansen helped Santa Clara advance to the NCAA final four in 1996.
Outlook: Defensive-minded Danes have been traditionally in the second tier of women's soccer-an above average team capable of an upset. But the team did not play well in the build-up to this tournament and may struggle to advance.
How qualified: Won African championship.
Previous World Cups: 10th in 1991, 11th in '95.
Top Players: F "Marvelous" Mercy Akide, MF Florence Omagbemi, GK Ann Agumanu-Chiejinei, D Prisca Emeafu, MF Nkiru Okosieme. Roster
Of Note: Omagbemi is nicknamed "Dunga" after the hard-nosed Brazilian men's midfield leader.
Outlook: Must beat Denmark if Falcons hope to advance for first time. Dominated African opponents and showed upset potential with 4-3 victory over China in exhibition this week. MF Patience Avre had three goals.
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