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Germany, Sweden to Meet in Women's World Cup Finals - 2003-10-06


Germany and Sweden are the finalists in this year's Women's World Cup tournament. In a battle of undefeated teams Sunday, Germany toppled the defending champion, United States, 3-0. Sweden came from behind to beat Canada, 2-1.

Kerstin Garefrekes headed the ball off a corner kick in the 15th minute to score what would be the winning goal. Her shot deflected off the top of the crossbar and into the net, setting the tone for the rest of the game.

Germany's defense then did a superb job thwarting the explosive American attack. Each American pass, shot or attempt to move the ball seemed always to be blocked by a German body. The final two German goals came quickly during the closing seconds of injury time, from Maren Meinert and Birgit Prinz, but were not indicative of the close, physical struggle between the two teams.

Mia Hamm -- playing in her final World Cup -- says the American squad accepts the loss. "You lose, you are done. It is as simple as that. All we can control is our preparation, our attitude," she says. "Whatever plays out within that 90 minutes we play, we go in with nothing but respect for our opponent and respect for the game. And, that is the way we approach every single game. Nothing has ever been handed to this team."

The United States will not repeat as World Cup champions, but will instead play for third place on Saturday in Carson, California, against regional rival Canada.

Sweden will have a chance to win the title in an all-European final against Germany, Sunday. After a scoreless first half, Sweden fell behind Canada, when Kara Lang sent a free kick through the hands of goalkeeper Caroline Joensson. But Malin Mostroem tied the game in the 78th minute before Josefine Oeqvist scored the game winner in the 86th minute.

Sweden reaches the Women's World Cup championship game for the first time. Germany is making its second appearance in the finals, having lost to Norway (2-0) in 1995.

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