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United States, Germany Reach Women's World Cup Semifinals

Top ranked United States and defending champion Germany have advanced to the semifinals of the Women's World Cup football (soccer) tournament in China. VOA's Jim Stevenson reports both teams had similar paths to the semifinal round.

The United States and Germany each faced an opponent that put up a strong fight in the first half of their quarterfinal games Saturday. England held the United States scoreless until the 48th minute

U.S. coach Greg Ryan said the goal by forward Abby Wambach turned the game for the Americans. "The first goal is always critical in a match. And I think it was difficult for England to get their game going again after that because they lost their momentum. We kept pressing and going after them. So, it is very, very difficult to play from one down. It was great for us. We were able to put in one and then two others very quickly," he said.

The other scores came from midfielder Shannon Boxx in the 57th minute and from U.S. captain Kristine Lilly, who netted her score in the 60th minute.

The goal was her first of the tournament after several missed opportunities in the first three games. And with tighter results in the first round, Lilly said her score gave the team a much needed boost. "It felt good. And it felt good more so for this team. To win a decisive game 3-0 is really good for this group right now," she said.

The U.S. women will next travel to Hangzhou to play either Brazil or Australia. Those two teams play later Sunday in Tianjin.

Defending champion Germany easily ended North Korea's run with a 3-0 victory in Wuhan. Despite the North Koreans dominating in possession time (56 to 44 percent), Germany broke a scoreless deadlock near the end of the first half with a goal by midfielder Kerstin Garefrekes (44th minute).

The second half belonged to the Germans with scores by Renate Lingor (67th minute) and Annike Krahn (72nd minute).

Germany moves to Tianjin for a semifinal on Wednesday against the winner of the Norway and China quarterfinal Sunday in Wuhan.