Brazil has taken control of its group, in the first round of the Women's World Cup soccer tournament in the United States. Four Brazilian stars each found the net, to earn an upset, four-one victory over Norway and to rise to the top of Group B, with two victories. Daniela and Rosana scored in the first half. Marta and Katia were the second half heroes.
Brazilian Coach Paulo Goncalves says his team had to play well to beat one of the top-ranked teams in the world. "Norway is a very strong team. They are ranked second in the world and they deserve to be ranked second in the world," he said. "But we had to make some adjustments to try to do what we had to do to get a successful win."
The game was a rematch of the third-place game of the 1999 World Cup, won by Brazil on penalty kicks after a scoreless tie. The young Brazilian team controlled the flow against the physical play of the 2000 Olympic champions. Brazil will conclude its first round with a game against France, a one-nil winner over South Korea.
Marinette Pichon scored the game winner for France, in the 84th minute in a game where both teams had chances to score, but did not follow up well on their opportunities. South Korea has no points after two games.
The women's soccer teams from Germany and Canada were victorious in World Cup Group C matches, Wednesday night in Columbus, Ohio. Germany is clearly the strongest of the four teams in this group, after having won its first two games by three-goal margins.
The Germans followed up Saturday's four-one victory over Canada with a 3-0 shutout of Japan. Forward Birgit Prinze led the way against Japan, scoring once in each half (36th and 66th minutes). Sandra Minnert had the other goal (23rd minute).
German Captain Bettina Wiegmann says - although her teammates they may have not played as well as they did against Canada - they did what they needed to do to win. "I think Japan has a very good team," she said. "They played very well and we had some problems with them. But, in the end, we won three-nil and that's the main important thing for us."
In the second game of the doubleheader here, the two teams which had lost their opening games met. Canada beat Argentina, 3-0. Captain Charmaine Hooper converted a penalty kick in the 19th minute for Canada's first goal and Christine Latham tallied in both the 79th and 82nd minutes.
Before Latham got her two goals, late in the game, the match was in the balance. Canadian coach Even Pellerud said that made it tense. "That was not an easy game from the bench. We, of course, had hoped to score more goals in the first half, so we could relax and play a more confident type of game," he said. "But we suffered from not executing the goal chances we had. So, we had some problems and we should have scored more in the first half, but it's just a fact that it was a difficult game for us."
But the win over Argentina does keep Canada's hopes alive for a berth in the women's World Cup quarterfinals. Both Canada and Japan are now 1-1. They meet Saturday to determine which will advance. With two wins, Germany has already clinched a place in the quarterfinals, no matter how it does in its final Group C match against winless Argentina.