The defending champion United States has reached the quarterfinal round of the Women's World Cup soccer tournament.
Many of the top U.S. stars sat on the bench Sunday in Columbus, Ohio for the their third and final game of the opening round, after winning the first two games. But the depth of the U.S. talent showed from the women who started. Amy Wambach fired a penalty shot into the net in the 17th minute after a North Korean player bumped her and nullified a hard shot that would have scored.
Defender Cat Reddick scored her first career World Cup goal by deflecting a corner kick in the net in the 48th minute. Reddick headed in another shot in the 66th minute. Defense played well too, highlighted by a leaping save from U.S. goalkeeper Brianna Scurry.
U.S. coach April Heinrichs is pleased with her team. "Nine points is great. Finishing first feels wonderful for our players. It is an achievement to be pleased about," she said.
North Korea is eliminated with one win and two losses.
Earlier Sunday, Sweden scored its second win of the opening round with three second-half goals, two from forward Hanna Ljungberg. The second half belonged to the Swedes, as Ljungberg found the net in the 56th and 79th minutes. Malin Mostroem capped the game with an 81st minute strike directly in front of the goal. Ljunberg said her team was confident after a scoreless first half. "We created so many chances. And we knew that we are stronger than Nigeria in 90 mintues. So we felt we were going to score in the second half," she said.
Nigeria goes home from the Women's World Cup without winning a game in its three opening round Group-A contests.