The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on October 2, 2003 · Page 52
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 52

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Thursday, October 2, 2003
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SP_D_14_D14_LA_1_10-02-03_th_2_CMYK 2003:10:01:22:54:43 D14 THURSDAY,OCTOBER2,2003 , SOCCER LOSANGELESTIMES the scoring opportunity when she powered a free kick from midfield into the Norwegian penalty area in the 24th minute. Wambach, with her back to the goal, got her head to the ball and sent it spinning into the back of the net. “A goal like that doesn’t really happen unless the serve is on target,” Wambach said. “Cat did atremendous job to put that ball on my head. “It was just a flick. I knew that Ihad position on the girl who was marking me and I knew that if I flicked it, [Norwegian goalkeeper Bente] Nordby probably would have been screened in some way, so it would have been aguess for her as to where the ball was going to go.” That’s exactly what happened. Nordby was guarding the near post and Wambach’s flick flashed past her to her left before she could react. The U.S. was on the offensive for the full 90 minutes, carrying the game to the reigning Olympic champions and 1995 world champions. One goal never seemed to be enough, but in the end it turned out to be, as the U.S. defense, marshaled by veteran Joy Fawcett, turned back every threat. It was the Americans’ third shutout in four World Cup matches. Wambach was so impressed that she even slipped into football terminology. “My hat goes off to our defen- sive line,” she said. “Our back four did a tremendous job for us today.” The degree of U.S. dominance was shown by the final statistics. The Americans took 14 shots overall, compared to three for the Norwegians. The U.S. earned eight corner kicks, the Norwegians two. Seven of the U.S. shots were on target. Norway had only one attempt on goal. “It was a slow roller,” U.S. goalkeeper Briana Scurry said, laughing and pointing out how rested she felt. “I was like, ‘I could go run a marathon or something right now,’” she said. Norway’s loss knocked Coach Age Steen’s team out of the tour- nament and, equally distressingly for him, means that the No. 2-ranked women’s team in the world will not be in Athens next summer. The top two European finishers in the World Cup will represent the continent in the Olympics — along with host Greece — and with Sweden already in the semifinals and Germany or Russia set to join them, the Norwegians were ousted. “Congratulations to the U.S. team, today they were better,” Steen said, admitting that Wambach had been a handful. “She is very strong in the air and very strong in the box,” he said. “We tried to take her out in the box, but it is very difficult to stop her.” Nordby earned a yellow card when she tried to stop Wambach as the two collided at the edge of the penalty area in the 66th minute. The collision led to the penalty kick, but Hamm’s poorly directed shot was saved by Nordby, who guessed correctly and dived to her right. The U.S. is two victories from retaining its world championship, and Wambach hopes to lead it there. “Right nowit’s not about scoring goals, it’s not about looking pretty, it’s about winning games,” she said. “We all left it on the field today, and we’re just excited to be going to Portland and to be playing in the semis.” Gina Ferazzi Los Angeles Times MAKING THE DIFFERENCE: American Abby Wambach celebrates after goal against Norway. U.S. Wins a Bruising Battle [ Soccer, from Page D1 ] backup goalkeeper Sofia Lundgren upended Marta, Brazil’s 17-year-old midfielder, although the 44th-minute foul did not appear to be intentional. Zhang pointed to the penalty spot, and Marta drove the ball low into the right corner underneath the diving Lundgren to tie the score. Lundgren started the match in place of the usual Swedish starter, Caroline Joensson, after the latter was given morphine to ease stomach cramps she hadafter the team’s victory over Nigeria. As a precaution, FIFA recommended to Sweden that she be left out of the quarterfinal match because the drug would show up in doping control. The winning goal came eight minutes into the second half on adirect free kick by Andersson after a foul by Renata Costa. Andersson fired a perfect shot from 28 yards that flew into the upper right corner of the Brazilian net over the outstretched arms of Andreia. The result left the Swedes within one victory of the Oct. 12 championship match. “I think we have a chance against”either Canada or China,Lyfors said. “We shall do everything now to reach the final.” By Grahame L. Jones Times Staff Writer FOXBORO, Mass. — Sweden’s march toward the Women’s World Cup final continued Wednesdayevening with a deserved but nonetheless controversial 2-1 victory over Brazil in the quarterfinals. The Swedes played the more composed, more fluent brand of soccer, using goals by Victoria Svensson and Malin Andersson to advance to the semifinals, where they will play either Canada or China. The controversial aspect of their victory at Gillette Stadium revolved around a non- call by Chinese referee Zhang Dongquing in stoppage time at the end of the match. Brazilian forward Katia, the tournament’s joint-leading goal scorer with four goals, danced into the penalty area and was threatening the Swedish net when she appeared to be taken down from behind by Sweden’s Sara Call. “We, of course, believe that it was a penalty, because [Katia] had complete control of the ball and as she was getting ready to shoot it she was hit from behind,” Brazil Coach Paulo Goncalves said. “In most people’s minds, that is a penalty.” Sweden Coach Marika Domanski Lyfors begged to differ. “They got a penalty in the first half and that was enough, I think,” she said tersely. Even the first penalty was somewhat controversial. Sweden had taken the lead in the 23rd minute when Svensson powerfully headed Malin Mostrom’s cross past Brazilian goalkeeper Andreia. The Swedes were in complete control and were about to go into the locker room at halftime with the 1-0 lead when Sweden Composes a Victory It methodically beats Brazil, 2-1, but the latter claims a late-match penalty was ignored. Women’s World Cup United States1 Norway0 Germany Russia Brazil1 Sweden2 China Canada United States Sweden The third-place game: Oct. 11, 12:30 p.m., Carson (All times Pacific) Today, 4:30 p.m., Portland, Ore. Wednesday Today, 7:30 p.m., Portland, Ore. Wednesday Oct. 5, 4:30 p.m., Portland, Ore. Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m., Portland, Ore. Oct. 12, 10 a.m., Carson ChampionshipSemifinalQuarterfinal By Lisa Dillman Times Staff Writer PORTLAND, Ore. — Germany Coach Tina Theune-Meyer may have excellent powers of persuasion, but she distributed the credit globally, believing she had some help in convincing Maren Meinert to come out of international retirement. Assist, United States. “It was the whole of America,” Theune-Meyer said Monday. “Everyone kept saying, ‘Why don’t you play? You are the best player.’” American soccer fans had problems understanding the concept of sitting out. How could the most valuable player in the Women’s United Soccer Assn. be out, by choice, of the Women’s World Cup? It didn’t make sense, especially because Meinert, of the Boston Breakers, was playing the best soccer of her life, at age 30, no less. Meinert didn’t totally agree with the coach giving away the credit. “Not America, she did, I think,” Meinert said. “I had to talk to my husband. “He was in Germany. I can’t make a decision without him. We talked about it. I wanted to spend time at home and it’s always a tough decision.” Regardless, Meinert’s decision to play has been Germany’s gain. Ger- many’s explosive dominance has been one of the early story lines of the World Cup. Meinert has been stellar, as expected, with strike partner Birgit Prinz. Meinert has two goals and four assists, and Prinz has four goals. Meinert and Prinz will lead Germany against Russia today in the quarterfinals at PGE Park, followed by China versus Canada. Germany has never lost to Russia, winning eight times and tying twice. Though Germany has scored 13 goals and allowed two in three games, Theune-Meyer spoke about the group’s lack of depth, saying: “We didn’t play against the strongest teams.” There is no denying the quality of Prinz and Meinert’s form. Jurgen Klinsmann, former German star, told fifaworldcup.com : “Birgit Prinz and Maren Meinert are the best front two at this World Cup.” One of the few clouds on the German horizon is the absence of experienced defender Steffi Jones. Jones, 30, tore a ligament in her right knee in the last game against Argentina and will require surgery. “It’s always tough to lose a player like Steffi,” Meinert said. “You can always lose a player to injury.” But Theune-Meyer said the players received a big psychological boost when Jones addressed the team, telling them they would make the World Cup final. “They made it yesterday,” she said, of getting over the loss. “When Steffi Jones came back from the hospital, she said, ‘You will be fine and I will be back [to watch] the final.’” One of the potential obstacles, of course, could be the United States. Germany was eliminated by the U.S. in the quarterfinals four years ago, despite twice leading, eventually losing, 3-2. The Germans have been fielding many more questions about the Americans than the Russians. “It is on our mind because everybody keeps asking us,” Meinert said, chuckling. “We know we have to play our quarterfinals.” Said Theune-Meyer: “We’ve scored a lot of goals and we have a good sense of spirit in this team. We have to move on like we did before.” In the last quarterfinal, China will face Canada. Canada is making its first appearance in the World Cup quarterfinals, and needed a victory overJapan in the final game of group play to qualify. China has lacked finishing ability, scoring three goals in three games, and missing numerous chances in the Group D finale against Russia. German Star Feels Right at Home Meinert initially didn’t want to play in the World Cup, but the most valuable player of WUSA is glad she changed her mind. Tonight, she leads her team against Russia. David Maxwell European Pressphoto Agency ACE IN THE HOLE: Maren Meinert, right, has two goals and four assists in the World Cup. Soccer By Jim Barrero Times Staff Writer Alejandro Moreno , a 24- year-old forward whose consistent play has helped increase his stock with the Galaxy, was called up to Venezuela’s national team for a friendly Oct. 9 game against Guatemala. It is Moreno’s first promotion to the national side. The team is preparing for World Cup qualifying games in November against Colombia and Bolivia. “Every little kid in Venezuela who plays soccer dreams about playing for the national team,” said Moreno, who will depart Sunday for San Cristobal, Venezuela, after the Galaxy plays a game at Chicago. “I had that dream too, but once I came here, I wanted to be sure that I made an impact with the Galaxy, then things would fall into place.” The Galaxy picked Moreno in the third round of the 2002 Major League Soccer draft. He has appeared in 38 games with three goals and four assists, with most of the production coming in the last few months. “What he’s doing now is finding the net and playing with confidence,” Galaxy Coach Sigi Schmid said. “It’s a tremendous honor for him and a tremendous honor for the Galaxy, because it shows the kind of players we are able to produce.” Chivas Fires Coach Chivas of Guadalajara, which has won only three of its first 10 games in Mexico’s Apertura championship, fired its coach, Eduardo De La Torre . Club owner Jorge Vergara , who is expected to field an expansion team in MLS next season or in 2005, had given De La Torre a five-year contract less than a year ago. Dutchman Hans Westerhoff , who oversaw the club’s youth teams, was named De La Torre’s successor. Champions League English teams continued to flop in the Champions League as Chelsea and Manchester United lost Wednesday. Turkish champion Besik- tas, which had never won a Champions League match out- side its country, knocked off high-payroll Chelsea, 2-0, behind two goals from Sergan Yalcin . At Stuttgart, Germany, Imre Szabics and Kevin Kura- nyi scored two minutes apart early in the second half for VfB Stuttgart in a 2-1 victory over Manchester United. Aday earlier, another English team, Arsenel, played to an uninspired 0-0 tie at Lokomotiv Moscow. In other key games Wednesday: Defending champion AC Milan was held to a 0-0 tie against Celta Vigo; Wesley Sonck scored both goals to lead Ajax Amsterdam to a 2-0 victory over FC Brugge; Didier Drogba had a hat trick in Marseille’s 3-0 victory over Partizan Belgrade; and 10-time champion Real Madrid came back for a 3-1 victory over FC Porto on goals by Ivan Helguera , Santiago Solari and Zinedine Zidane . Quick Passes Malcolm Glazer , the owner of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers who also has had talks about purchasing the Dodgers, has increased his stake in Manchester United from 3.17% to 5.92%, the club said....Manchester United Coach Sir Alex Ferguson says he has been offered a contract extension through the 2007 season. If Ferguson accepts, it would push his tenure past 20 seasons. The salary is reportedly for $5 million a season....Former England star midfielder Paul Gascoigne will begin a tryout with club Al Jazira in the United Arab Emirates....Struggling Brazilian club Corinthians has hired former World Cup players Rivelino and Junior as technical director and coach, respectively.... John Wolyniec scored in the 88th minute and Amado Guevara scored twice to lead the New York/New Jersey MetroStars to a 3-2 victory over D.C. United in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal at Piscataway, N.J. The MetroStars will play the Chicago Fire in the final on Oct. 15 at a site that has yet to be determined.... Mark Chung scored a goal in the final seven minutes to give the Colorado Rapids a 1-1 tie Wednesday night with the Chicago Fire at Denver. Jesse Marsch had the lone goal for Chicago. Times wire services contributed to this report. DAILY REPORT Galaxy’s Moreno Gets Call to Join Venezuela At Foxboro, Mass. SWEDEN 2, BRAZIL 1 Sweden...........................................................11—2 Brazil..............................................................10—1 First half—1, Sweden, Svensson 3, 23rd minute. 2, Brazil, Marta 3 (penalty kick), 44th. Second half—3, Sweden, Andersson 1, 53rd. Yellow Cards—Sweden, Sjoestroem 15th, Lundgren 43rd. Brazil, Daniela 37th, Juliana 52nd. Referee—Zhang Dongqing, China. Linsemen—Liu Hsiu Mei, Taiwan; Hisae Yoshizawa, Japan. A—NA. Lineups SWEDEN—Sofia Lundgren; Karolina Westberg, Jane Toernqvist, Hanna Marklund, Sara Larsson (Sara Call, 90th), Frida Oestberg; Malin Mostroem, Malin Andersson (Therese Sjoegran, 72nd), Anna Sjoestroem; Hanna Ljungberg, Victoria Svensson. BRAZIL—Andreia; Juliana, Tania, Simone (Christiane, 58th), Rosana; Renata Costa, Daniela, Formiga (Kelly, 81st); Katia, Maicon, Marta. UNITED STATES 1, NORWAY 0 Norway..........................................................00 — 0 United States.................................................10 — 1 First half—1, U.S., Wambach 3, 24th minute. Second half—None. Yellow Cards—Norway, Nordby 66th, Klaveness 75th, Lehn 80th. Referee—Nicole Petignat, Switzerland. Linesmen—Elke Luethi, Switzerland; Nelly Viennot, France. A—25,103. Lineups NORWAY—Bente Nordby; Brit Sandaune, Ane Stangeland, Monica Knudsen, Marit Fiane Christensen (Linda Ormen, 77th); Solveig Gulbrandsen, Unni Lehn (Hege Riise, 84th), Lise Klaveness; Trine Ronning (Anita Rapp, 24th), Marianne Pettersen, Dagny Mellgren. UNITED STATES—Briana Scurry; Christie Pearce, Cat Reddick, Joy Fawcett, Kate Sobrero; Julie Foudy (Kylie Bivens, 81st), Kristine Lilly, Shannon Boxx; Mia Hamm, Cindy Parlow (Tiffeny Milbrett, 72nd), Abby Wambach. WOMEN’S WORLD CUP SUMMARIES GERMANY vs. RUSSIA 4:30 p.m., ESPN2, Ch. 46 How they got here: Germany easily wonGroup C by defeatingCanada, Japan and Argentina, scoring 13 goals and allowing two. Russia led Group D until the final day, suffering its lone loss, 1-0, to China, in Portland. In Carson, it beat Australia and Ghana. Players to watch: Russian striker Natalia Barbachina was the player of the game in the opener and redefined toughness in the second. She needed treatment on the side of the field to repair a gash in her forehead against Ghana, returned and scored a goal in the second half. Birgit Prinz, who has four goals for Germany, scored one of the best of the tournament against Argentina, putting away an acrobatic swinging volley with her right foot as she was falling the other way. Previous appearances: Four years ago in its first World Cup, Russia reached the quarterfinals.Ger- many’s best World Cup finish was in 1995, when it took second to Norway. Germany lost to the U.S. in the 1991 semifinals and the 1999 quarterfinals. Quick look: Germany has never lost to Russia in 10 games, winning eight timesand tying twice, while scoring 29 goals and giving up two. Russia’s plodding defensive style, designed to create maximum frustration with an occasional counterattack, won’t surprise Germany. Defender Steffi Jones, who injured her right knee in Germany’sGroup C finale against Argentina, won’t play. Russia’s veteran defenders and their lack of speed were exposed in the 1-0 loss to China on Sunday. —Lisa Dillman CHINA vs. CANADA 7:30 p.m., ESPN2, Ch. 46 How they got here: China won Group D with a 2-0-1 record, defeating Ghana and Russia and tying Australia. Canada finished second in Group C with a 2-1 record, losing to Germany and defeating Argentina and Japan. Players to watch: China forward Sun Wen won the Golden Ball as the MVP in the 1999 World Cup. She remains the team’s dominant player, but she hasn’t broken out as she did four years ago. She had five goals in the first round then. She had one this year. Bai Jie moved from left back to striker to give the Chinese another dimension on offense. She scored the other two goals. Canada is strong at forward with Charmaine Hooper, Christine Sinclair and Christine Latham. Goalkeeper Karina Leblanc is occasionally brilliant but inconsistent. Previous appearances: The Chinese have appeared in all four Women’s World Cups, advancing at least to the second round in each. They lost in the quarterfinals in 1991, the semifinals in 1995 and the final in 1999. This is the third World Cup for Canada, which is making its first appearance in the quarterfinals. Quick look: China, ranked fourth in the world, should be a solid favorite over Canada, which is ranked 12th. But the Chinese didn’t play up to their ranking in the first round. In the first round in 1999, the Chinese scored 12 goals. The Chinese don’t figure to score much if Leblanc has one of her good games. An upset is possible. —Randy Harvey TODAY’S QUARTERFINALS at PGE Park, Portland, Ore.

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