Amazing Marta escorts Brazil to World Cup final 2007-09-28 09:15:57   Print

Brazil's Marta (2nd L) celebrates after scoring the second goal during a semifinal against the United States at the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, on Sept. 27, 2007. Brazil was qualified for the final after beating the United States 4-0. (Xinhua/Xu Yu)

    By Sportswriter Pan Yi

    HANGZHOU, China, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Two amazing goals from striker Marta gifted Athens Olympic runners-up Brazil an incredible 4-0 whitewash over two-time champions United States on Thursday and a final berth in the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup.

    "Any game against US was tough, so it was a fantastic win and we make history," Marta said after the match.

    It was the first time for Brazil, who had not won any FIFA Women's World Cup or Olympic soccer tournament title, to advance to a World Cup final in which they would take on defending champions Germany in Shanghai on Sept. 30.

    Brazil also ended the United States' 51-game unbeaten run.

    "The whole team was full of passion. So it was a victory of the team, not myself," said Marta.

    She also expressed gratitude to her partner up front Cristiane and midfielder Daniela who, according to her, gave her full support on the pitch.

    Brazil coach Jorge Barcellos said, "We have many talented players and I said before that everything is possible on the pitch."

    "It is a fantastic win. We are determined to going into the final and we did it. I hope we can perform well in the final.

    Answering a question, Barcellos said, "For me, there is nothing different between a 1-0 and 4-0. The most important thing is a win."

    The 4-0 humiliation was the biggest-ever loss for the United States, the women's soccer giant who boast two World Cup champions (1991, 1999) and two Olympic gold medals (1996, 2000).

    "You can not draw any conclusion from this game. Shannon Boxx got so early sent off in the first half, which completely changed the game," U.S. coach Greg Ryan said.

    "I got two players to mark Marta. But she was fantastic," Ryan added.

    Replying to a question about the goalkeeper, Ryan said "I don't have any regrets to field her. She did everything she could to save."

    An stunning own goal by US midfielder Leslie Osborne on a Brazil's corner kick lifted Brazil to 1-0 lead in the 20th minute.

    Seven minutes later, Marta, FIFA best women player of 2006, broke the US defense from the right wing and sent home a flash low shot.

    Marta, a quick-pace dribbling master, also sealed the 4-0 win in the 79th minute when she thrust into the box from the left wing, danced past two defenders and fired another flash low shot home.

    With the two brilliant goals, Marta, the Player of the Match, now tops the World Cup scorer tally with seven goals. And no one would doubt that she is the top candidate for the Golden Shoe and Golden Ball.

    Cristiane scored the third goal for Brazil on 56 minutes when she secured an accurate pass in the open box and calmly drove the ball into the net.

    Cristiane almost widened the gap with two close-range shots, one hitting the post and the other saved by American keeper Briana Scurry.

    Brazilians' amazing skills created great trouble for the Americans who had to committed fouls to curb the Brazilian attacks, leading to a red card (double yellow) for midfielder Shannon Boxx in the 45th minute.

    The skilful Brazilians dominated the second half, making countless scoring chances against the ten-women US team.

    American soccer legend Kristine Lilly, a 36-year-old veteran, almost scored a consolation goal in the 63rd minute when she got a clear shooting chance in the box. But the ball flew directly into keeper Andreia's hug.

    Brazil's previous best result in world arena was the silver medal in Athens 2004 where they were beaten by the United States 2-1 through extra time.

    The United States had encountered Brazil twice in the previous World Cup events. In China 1991, the United States crushed Brazil 5-0 in group stage. In USA 1999, the United States beat Brazil 2-0in the semi-final.

    In the 2003 World Cup, hosts United States were routed by Germany 3-0 in the semi-final while Brazil lost 2-1 to Sweden in the quarter-final. Germany and Sweden went on to the final and the Germans won the trophy.

    Now, the United States will play with Norway, who was beaten by Germany 3-0 in the semi-final on Wednesday, in the third-place playoff, also in Shanghai on Sept. 30.

Editor: Gao Ying
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