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GROUP C

Canada Advances on Its Height Advantage

September 28, 2003|From Associated Press

Canada advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women's World Cup, using its height and a tiebreaking goal by Christine Sinclair to rally for a 3-1 victory over Japan on Saturday at Foxboro, Mass.

Canada had been winless in its previous two World Cups with four losses and two draws and lost its opener this year. But it beat Argentina, 3-0, Wednesday in Columbus.

"There was a lot of pressure on us before the start of the match partly created by ourselves due to our fine performances of late," Canada Coach Evan Pellerud said. "We didn't live up to our own expectations in the match against Argentina, but today we did better and I think we have turned a page."

In the next round, Canada, which finished second in Group C, will play Thursday in Portland, Ore. Its opponent will be the winner of today's game to determine the Group D winner between Russia and China, also in Portland.

Japan was eliminated despite taking a 1-0 lead Saturday in the 20th minute when Homare Sawa converted a crossing pass from right to left by Yayoi Kobayashi. But Canada tied it in the 36th minute when Christine Latham outmuscled Yasuyo Yamagishi for the ball and scored on a kick with her left foot to the far right side of goalkeeper Nozomi Yamago.

Canada kept the pressure up and took the lead in the 49th minute on Sinclair's goal. Brittany Timko put a corner kick from the left high to the front of the net. Sinclair leaped and just put it over the raised arms of Yamago.

"I don't think our players don't have stamina, but in terms of physical size, we do have some disadvantages," Japan Coach Eiji Ueda said.

Japan appeared to equalize in the 66th minute when Mio Otani headed the ball in, but she was ruled offside. Six minutes later, Canada's height came in handy again when Kara Lang shot the ball. It kept drifting to the far right of the net and Yamago backpedaled, but it dropped just behind her.

Germany 6, Argentina 1 -- Maren Meinert scored two goals and set up two more as Germany finished a perfect first round by dominating Argentina in Washington.

Germany easily won Group C, outscoring its opponents, 13-2, and will play the second-place team from Group D in the quarterfinals Thursday in Portland.

Winless Argentina was outscored, 15-1, in its first World Cup.

German midfielder and World Cup veteran Steffi Jones left the game in the 62nd minute with a right knee injury. She was taken to a hospital for X-rays and an MRI, but the preliminary diagnosis was a torn ACL.

"It seems that she is out of the tournament," Coach Tina Theune-Meyer said.

It was obvious from the third minute, when Meinert volleyed Kerstin Stegemann's cross, that the rout was on. Bettina Wiegmann made it 2-0 with a penalty kick in the 24th minute after Birgit Prinz was fouled.

Prinz then had the most spectacular goal of the game, a falling-backward, half-bicycle kick that nestled just inside the right post in the 32nd minute.

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