Hege Riise

Norway

Midfielder, age 29

Riise is one of world's best central midfielders and the key to Norway's attack. The nine-year national team veteran is the third all-time leading scorer in Norwegian history. She played professionally in Japan and the Netherlands and started every game in the '95 World Cup and the '96 Olympics. She was named most outstanding player at the '95 World Cup.

`Marvelous' Mercy Akide

Nigeria

Forward, age 23

At 5 feet 11, Akide is a force in the penalty area. She has scored seven goals in five qualifying matches, including a hat trick against Egypt. A teenage member of the `95 World Cup team, she played only 45 minutes. She is a member of the FIFA all-star team that beat the United States in an exhibition earlier this year.

Charmaine Hooper

Canada

Forward, age 31

Hooper was born in Guyana, grew up in Ontario, and was an all-American at North Carolina State. She is Canada's all-time leading scorer and one of the world's best strikers. She scored twice against the United States in a recent 4-2 exhibition loss and has scored six goals in five qualifying matches.

Sissi

Brazil

Midfielder, age 32

Sissi, a key player since 1989, is the captain and playmaker for the rapidly improving Brazilians. She started every game in the '95 World Cup and '96 Olympics. She scored 12 goals in six qualifying games last year, including hat tricks against Peru, Chile and Ecuador. Like Pele, she wears No. 10.

Sun Wen

China

Forward, age 26

Team captain and creative force. Also comfortable playing midfield. Scored five goals in five qualifying matches, including three against the Philippines. Always seems to have strong games against the United States. She scored twice in the `95 World Cup and once in the '96 Olympics.

CAPTION: Norway's Hege Riise

CAPTION: China's Sun Wen