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Germany, Norway to Play in Women's World Cup Semifinals

Defending champion Germany and 1995 winner Norway are about to battle for the right to play in the Women's World Cup football (soccer) final. VOA's Jim Stevenson has this preview of the first semifinal game.

Germany and Norway have had similar success at previous Women's World Cups. Each team has a championship, a runner-up and a fourth place finish. And, on Wednesday, at Olympic Stadium in Tianjin, they will both have their eye on a second title.

Norway edged host China, 1-0, to reach the semifinal. Coach Bjarne Berntsen says his team has returned to power after a 12-year title drought and is ready to face Germany.

"We are not afraid to play any team. And, we like to play that type of team," he said. "We think we are in very good position before the last game. So we have to get ready for that match."

German coach Silvia Neid has enjoyed watching her star players, many who were a part of the championship team four years ago. Following a 3-0 quarterfinal win over North Korea, she says Germany has also thrived from the atmosphere in the Chinese stadiums.

"Of course it is nice to be supported," she said. "There were a lot of German fans. It was quite nice. And that showed in the game."

The heavily favored United States plays Brazil in the other semifinal, Thursday, at Dragon Stadium in Hangzhou.

The tournament's third-place game is September 30 in Shangahi. The semifinal winners play there later that day for the Women's World Cup title.