Rachel Buehler was wearing a bright smile when she faced reporters after USA's 2–0 victory over DPR Korea in their first group fixture. Her upbeat mood was prompted not merely by the victory, nor the terrific support both teams received from the good-sized crowd, but also because she had scored her side's second goal. Strikers finding the net is hardly a rarity, but Buehler plies her trade in defence, and goals are not really her stock in trade.
It was the 25-year-old's first appearance at the FIFA Women's World Cup™, and she freely admitted to an attack of the nerves. “I was very tense in the first half, but I just had to get on with it. I grew in confidence the longer the game went on, and I thought it was a pretty robust performance by the end," Buehler told FIFA.com. A solid defensive display against the powerful Asians was then crowned as her goal sealed the points.
However, the likeable player was keen to play down her own contribution to the win, preferring to emphasise a promising team display. “The Koreans pushed us all the way in the first half. They had some good moments, and we did too. But we had more possession in the second half and we were more dangerous on the attack. We steadily improved as the game went on. We played with a lot of heart and determination."
Ready for the next challenge
The player praised the crowd’s passion and exuberance, citing it as a factor behind the American team's success. “Dresden was magnificent, and the atmosphere in the stadium was amazing, with so many spectators and so much support," she said. But for all the post-match delight, Buehler and her team-mates will not waste time basking in their victory, as the focus now turns to forthcoming opponents Colombia.
“We weren't able to watch the match between Colombia and Sweden, because we were totally focused on our game,” Buehler told FIFA.com, “but it will be very interesting to watch that match later on, so we can pick up some initial impressions. Colombia have a lot of talent, but as Pia [Sundhage] has told us all along, every team at the World Cup is very good. I know Colombia have a lot of talented players and skilled individuals. They'll be very dangerous."