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Sweden Advances, Meets Brazil Next

September 29, 2003|Grahame L. Jones

COLUMBUS, Ohio — One of the first questions Marika Domanski Lyfors was asked Sunday afternoon was this: What is Sweden's history against Brazil?

The Swedish coach's answer came swiftly.

"We don't have any good history," she said. "We lost against them [1-0] in '95 in the [Women's] World Cup and we lost against them [2-0] in the Sydney 2000 Olympics. But we are getting closer to a victory when you have lost to them so many times, I think."

That victory could come Wednesday in Foxboro, Mass., where Sweden again meets the South American champion, this time in the quarterfinals of the current world championship.

The Swedes earned their place in the final eight in emphatic fashion Sunday afternoon, rolling over Nigeria, 3-0, after being held scoreless in the first half thanks to an outstanding performance by Nigerian goalkeeper Precious Dede.

Goals by striker Hanna Ljungberg in the 56th and 80th minutes and another by midfielder Malin Mostrom in the 81st finally ended the Nigerians' stout resistance

Nigeria, without a victory in the tournament, played its most spirited 45 minutes of soccer in the first half, contesting every ball, defending in numbers and attacking when the opportunity arose.

The unquestioned star for the African champions, however, was Dede, who made a series of stunning saves to keep the favored Swedes at bay.

"I thought Dede was brilliant and she is definitely the future of the women's game in Nigeria," Nigeria Coach Samuel Okpodu said.

-- Grahame L. Jones

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