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WOMEN'S WORLD CUP SOCCER

Lilly, Wambach lead U.S. over Sweden, 2-0

September 15, 2007|From the Associated Press

Kristine Lilly glanced up, catching sight of Abby Wambach 25 yards ahead racing down the left side toward Sweden's goal. She reacted instinctively, lofting a soaring ball for Wambach to run under.

Wambach did just that, settled it off her chest, and lashed a left-footed half-volley from 15 yards that ripped into the net behind Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl.

It was Wambach's second of the game -- her third in two games in China. It was classic Lilly-Wambach in the 58th minute of Friday's Women's World Cup Group B game, America's top strikers linking up to seal a 2-0 victory over Sweden at Chengdu and move the No. 1-ranked Americans into a perfect spot to reach the quarterfinals.

Playing with 11 stitches in her head, picked up in a 2-2 draw with North Korea earlier in the week, Wambach also converted a penalty kick in the 34th minute after Lori Chalupny drew a foul.

Afterward, Lilly and Wambach each gave the other credit.

"She saw me making a run, and she basically did all the rest," Wambach said. "She put an amazing ball on my chest between the two defenders. I took a decent touch off my chest and was able to half-volley it."

And Lilly: "It was a good ball in, but to deal with it, to bring it down and get the volley off. It was a world-class goal."

Defender Kate Markgraf started the first scoring play, sending in a high ball that was badly misjudged by Lindahl, who allowed it to bounce over her head. Racing to the ball, Chalupny was taken down in the area by Sweden's Stina Segerstrom.

"I think every time you play in a high pressure situation you want to test the goalkeeper," Markgraf said. "We just kept hitting balls at her. She kind of got rattled and we kind of knew it."

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North Korea 2, Nigeria 0 -- Kim Kyong-hwa scored in the 17th minute directly from a corner kick and Ri Kim-suk scored four minutes later at Chengdu as North Korea remained tied with the U.S. atop Group B.

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Japan 1, Argentina 0 -- Yuki Nagasato poked in a shot during injury time after goalkeeper Romina Ferro failed to hold a low hard shot by substitute Yukari Kinga in a Group A game at Shanghai.

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Germany 0, England 0 -- Withstanding waves of pressure in the last 20 minutes, England tied the defending world champions at Shanghai to keep its hopes alive of advancing to the quarterfinals.

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