Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Women's World Cup: Quarter-finals

Germany 3-0 Korea DPR
Norway 1-0 China
USA 3-0 England
Brazil 3-2 Australia

All the results in this round were pretty much as you'd expect. North Korea worked hard but were eventually dispatched with stereotypical Germany efficiency, with goals from Kerstin Garefrekes, Renate Lingor and Annike Krahn. Hosts China were knocked out by Norway thanks to Isabell Herlovsen's first-half goal, with the Chinese squandering too many chances.

England held the USA to a scoreless draw at halftime and must have been hoping for a repeat of their first-round result against Germany, but the Americans took over after the break, with Abby Wambach, Shannon Boxx and Kristine Lilly all scoring.

In the last of the quarter-finals, Brazil dominated the game and took a 2-0 lead over Australia midway through the first half. But the Matildas fought back and equalized, before Cristiane scored in the 75th minute to take Brazil into the semis.

I also want to go back to the draw between Canada and Australia that ended up with the Canadians being knocked out. Canada took the lead within about 30 seconds, but I think that early goal actually hurt them, because it meant that Australia came at them hard, while Canada just tried to defend. They held out until halftime but Australia equalized soon after, and Canada played much better after that, knowing that they needed a win to progress. It looked like they'd done it when Christine Sinclair headed home in a corner in the 85th minute, but then Cheryl Salisbury scored late in stoppage time to put Australia through.

A dramatic way to go out, but so disappointing for the Canadians, especially after they reached the semi-finals in 2003. I think that maybe they overachieved last time around, and this time they just weren't quite good enough. Although the battle between them and Australia was very close, I didn't see enough to suggest that they would have gone on to beat one of the other teams in the quarter-finals.

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