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WOMEN'S WORLD CUP

Brazil wins; China is out

September 24, 2007|From the Associated Press

The host team of China won't be in the Women's World Cup semifinals, but U.S. Coach Greg Ryan is bracing for Brazil.

He knows his team's semifinal opponent will be rough, even if smoothed a bit by the artistry of Marta, the 2006 player of the year. Brazil won its quarterfinal Sunday at Tianjin, China, defeating Australia, 3-2.

In the other quarterfinal, Norway defeated China, 1-0, at Wuhan, China. That set up a final four that will include three former champions, with impressive Brazil the exception.

Against Australia, the Brazilians got their go-ahead goal in the 75th minute on Cristiane's rising drive from 20 yards out after rapid-fire passes from Marta and Daniela.

The Americans have ambitions for a third World Cup title, after ones in 1991 and '99. Brazil is in the semifinals for the second time, matching its run in 1999.

"I believe finally we will add one more star on our jersey," Daniela said, a reference to the men's team, which has won a record five World Cups. "We will finally get the World Cup."

The Brazilians took a 2-0 lead on Australia on goals by Formiga and Marta. Formiga scored in the fourth minute on a long shot that went in off the crossbar from 20 yards. Marta converted a penalty kick midway through the first half. Goals by Lisa De Vanna and Lauren Colthorpe rallied Australia to tie before Cristiane's score provided the winning margin.

"They were the better team and deserved to win the game, but I was very proud of our team," Australia Coach Tom Sermanni said.

Brazil figures to be quick and tricky Thursday when it meets the Americans in Hangzhou, the last step before the final Sunday in Shanghai. The U.S. defeated Brazil, 2-0, three months ago in New York, a physical game played without Marta. The Americans also defeated Brazil in the 2004 Olympic final -- 2-1 in extra time -- and 2-0 in a group game in the Olympics.

"Brazil's primary tactic was fouling us to break our rhythm," Ryan said, referring to the game three months ago. "We had more of the ball, and their response to that was just to foul. Brazil has tried to break our rhythm by chopping our players down."

Norway 1, China 0 -- Two simple statistics ended the Chinese dream: 21 missed shots, one mistake on defense.

China's coach, Marika Domanski-Lyfors of Sweden, was contemplating the possibility of resigning after the defeat, even though she had engineered the team's rapid rise.

"I had a goal to get to the semifinals and that is why I have to consider. . . if I will continue or not," Domanski-Lyfors said after the loss.

Norway will next play defending champion Germany.

China's game turned in the 32nd minute when fullback Wang Kun was left as the only defender between Norway's Isabell Herlovsen and the goal. Wang was slow to respond, lost her footing and Herlovsen, a 19-year-old who is the youngest player on her team, easily put away a shot from about 10 yards.

"It's really a pity that we lost today because I thought we played really well," captain Bi Yan said. "But the World Cup is training for the Olympics, which is our main goal."

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World Cup

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

*--* QUARTERFINALS *--*

SATURDAY

Germany 3, North Korea 0

United States 3, England 0

SUNDAY

Norway 1, China 0

Brazil 3, Australia 2

*--* SEMIFINALS *--*

WEDNESDAY

Germany vs. Norway… 5 a.m. PDT

THURSDAY

United States vs. Brazil… 5 a.m. PDT

*--* CHAMPIONSHIP *--*

Sunday…5 a.m. PDT

Associated Press

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