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U.S. steps it up to reach semifinals

September 23, 2007|From the Associated Press

Abby Wambach and Kristine Lilly held a players meeting in their hotel room a day before the United States played England in the quarterfinals of the Women's World Cup.

All meetings should be so productive.

Having aired any grievances, the U.S. went on to defeat England, 3-0, Saturday at Tianjin, China, on second-half goals from Wambach, Shannon Boxx and Lilly during a 12-minute span.

"We came together and we said: 'Everybody get off your shoulders what you want to say,' " defender Cat Whitehill said. "It was just kind of an open forum for us. Just to say this is what I think is working, and this is what I think isn't working. I think it really helped us."

The No. 1-ranked Americans advanced to Thursday's semifinal in Hangzhou against either Brazil or Australia.

After a scoreless first half, Wambach banged in a header in the 48th minute, directing home a corner kick from Lilly. It was her fourth goal of the tournament and her 81st for the national team in 100 appearances.

"The first goal is always critical in a match," U.S. Coach Greg Ryan said. "It was difficult for England to get their game going again after that."

Lilly, 36, is playing in an unprecedented fifth Women's World Cup. She and Wambach are almost psychic in anticipating each other's moves.

"She looks up; I look at her," Wambach said. "We make eye contact and she just puts a perfect ball on the back post."

Boxx made it 2-0 in the 57th after Whitehill stripped the ball from England's Jill Scott near midfield. The ball fell to Boxx, who scored on a low, long shot that went in off the fingertips of surprised England goalkeeper Rachel Brown.

In the 60th, Lilly finally broke through with her first goal of this tournament and her eighth in World Cup play.

Germany 3, North Korea 0 -- Kerstin Garefrekes, Renate Lingor and Annike Krahn scored goals at Wuhan, and defending champion Germany posted its fourth consecutive shutout in the tournament to reach the semifinals. Germany has outscored its opponents 16-0.



World Cup

Results and remaining game of the Women's World Cup:



Germany 3, North Korea 0

United States 3, England 0


Norway vs. China… 2 a.m.

Brazil vs. Australia… 5 a.m.

*--* SEMIFINALS *--*


Germany vs.

Norway-China winner… 5 a.m.


United States vs.

Brazil-Australia winner… 5 a.m.


SEPT. 30

Semifinal winners…5 a.m.


Associated Press

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