- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 25, 2003

The second round of games in this Women’s World Cup last night at RFK Stadium provided the first real surprise of the tournament.

A young, upstart Brazilian squad shocked the world’s second-ranked team, Norway, 4-1 and avoided facing the United States and potential elimination in the tournament’s quarterfinals.

Goals by Daniela, Rosana, Marta and Katia carried Brazil to a stunningly easy victory in the second match of GroupB play last night before 16,216 in the opener of a doubleheader.

“I don’t think the U.S. wants to get us either right now,” midfielder Daniela said. “Any team we play, we’re going to play very serious and try to get the win.”

Brazil’s lopsided win virtually wrapped up first place in the group. Assuming Brazil (2-0) wins GroupB, the South American champions will face the second team in GroupA — most likely North Korea or Sweden — in the single-elimination knockout round. With a plus-6 goal differential, the Brazilians are firmly in control of the group.

What the Brazilians did was expose an aging, slow team without its playmaker. Norway, the only other country to win a World Cup (1995) besides the United States, was completely out of sync.

With attacking midfielder Hege Riise unable to play because of an ACL injury suffered in the second week of the WUSA season, Norway (1-1) generated nothing resembling an attack while the Brazilians dominated possession.

“We thought we were better than that, and we are better than that,” Norway coach Age Steen said. “The Brazilian team was faster than us. The Norway team will come back in the next match.”

Not if they come as spectators again. Daniela’s goal made a mockery of the Norwegian players. In the 26th minute, Daniela, who played for the San Diego Spirit of the WUSA, ran 50 yards down the middle of the field and from 22 yards fired a one-bouncer inside the left post for a 1-0 Brazilian lead.

“They were chasing me, I could see them coming after me, but I was able to get loose and the defense backed up,” she said.

France 1, South Korea 0

Marinette Pichon, the 2002 season MVP in the WUSA, kept France alive by scoring in the 84th minute at RFK Stadium. With her team on the brink of elimination, Pichon controlled the ricochet of Elodie Woock’s free kick from the left wing and drove home the winning goal from 12 yards.

Germany 3, Japan 0

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Birgit Prinz scored two goals as Germany took the lead in Group C. Sandra Minnert added a goal as Germany (2-0) became the only team in the group with two wins.

Canada 3, Argentina 0

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Christine Latham scored twice in a three-minute span and Canada earned its first Women’s World Cup victory ever.

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