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Germany Advances to Women's World Cup Final

Germany has reached the championship game of the Women's World Cup football tournament in China. VOA's Jim Stevenson reports from Tianjin, where the defending champions defeated Norway, 3-0.

A thick haze shrouded Olympic Stadium when the game kicked off Wednesday. A breeze began to blow, and visibility improved as the outcome of the game also became clear.

German coach Silvia Neid says her team played better as the game progressed.

"It started out in defense," she said. "We stood tight and we did not allow many chances [to score]. Players get a feeling for such a situation. And they realize that the opponent did not get many chances. So it helps their game. They gain self-confidence."

The defensive struggle began to break down in the 42nd minute when German captain Birgit Prinz sent a crossing pass in front of the net. Norwegian defender Trine Ronning jumped in an attempt to deflect the ball away. But instead it bounced off her and into the net for an own goal.

Norwegian coach Bjarne Berntsen says the mistake was the turning point of the game.

"We thought we could give Germany a better match," he noted. "[I was] quite satisfied with the first half. I think it was very equal. And we were a bit unlucky that we had an own goal right before halftime. Because it is very important to get the first goal when we play Germany."

German defender Kerstin Stegemann went on the offensive when her shot deflected off the Norwegian post and into the net in the 72nd minute. German veteran Martina Meuller added a sliding kick for a score just three minutes later.

Germany will face either the United States or Brazil in the final. Those teams meet in the other semifinal later Thursday in Hangzhou. The Women's World Cup final is Sunday in Shangahi.