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Hamm on Wolfsburg-Lyon final, Rapinoe

Published: Thursday 23 May 2013, 15.47CET
World record international scorer Mia Hamm will be at tonight's final at Stamford Bridge and expects a "hard-fought match" as she talked up Alex Popp and her fellow American Megan Rapinoe.
by Paul Saffer
from London

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Published: Thursday 23 May 2013, 15.47CET

Hamm on Wolfsburg-Lyon final, Rapinoe

World record international scorer Mia Hamm will be at tonight's final at Stamford Bridge and expects a "hard-fought match" as she talked up Alex Popp and her fellow American Megan Rapinoe.

As perhaps the most famous player in the history of the female game, Mia Hamm is the ideal person to assess tonight's UEFA Women's Champions League final – and a fellow American could be the player to make the difference.

Hamm was capped 275 times by the US and scored 158 international goals, breaking the world record exactly 15 years ago and holding it ever since. She will be at Stamford Bridge in London to watch VfL Wolfsburg take on Olympique Lyonnais, who boast among their number American winger Megan Rapinoe.

"I'm excited!" Hamm told UEFA.com "First and foremost I think the fact women get to play in such a historic venue. That will be a thrill of a lifetime, and to compete for the Champions League title.

"I think it's going to be a hard-fought match. I've followed Lyon a little bit more because of the American player, Megan Rapinoe, but I know Wolfsburg have some tremendous personalities.

"I'm hoping that Alex Popp is going to play. I know she's been dealing with an ankle injury. I'm interested to see how these young players have developed and they're in the environment where they are the leaders, they are the one their team's looking to make the difference every single game so it should be a wonderful experience."

Winner of two FIFA Women's World Cups, FIFA Women's World Player of the Year awards and Olympic golds, Hamm was at the forefront of an era of dominance by the US. A new generation is now bidding to emulate that success and Rapinoe, an Olympic gold-medallist at Wembley last summer, is part of that, the winger proving herself in Europe since moving to Lyon in January.

"Megan's a terrific player," Hamm said. "She is one of those who takes pride in her technical game. She loves freedom of expression, whether with her hairstyle or her magic on the ball. She is a player who just loves the game and that attitude is infectious.

"I know from what I've read she was excited about the experience of going to play in Europe, to learn from the best of what Europe has to offer and she's getting an opportunity at the elite level with the match tonight."

Last updated: 23/05/13 16.30CET

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