Thursday, September 25, 2003

Sparse crowd sees Germany top Japan


The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - The Americans weren't playing in Columbus for another four days, but that didn't dampen the enthusiasm of fans at Crew Stadium on Wednesday night for two Women's World Cup games.

There just weren't that many of them.

A sparse crowd of 15,490 was on hand for Germany's 3-0 win over Japan, which opened the doubleheader under sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-70s.

CANADA 3, ARGENTINA 0: Later at Columbus, Christine Latham scored twice in a three-minute span and Canada earned its first Women's World Cup victory ever.

Charmaine Hooper added a goal off a penalty kick as Canada (1-1) remained in the hunt for a second-round berth.

BRAZIL 4, NORWAY 1: At Washington, Brazil upset Norway to take the lead in Group B of the Women's World Cup.

Daniela and Rosana scored picturesque goals in the first half, and Marta and Katia scored in the second half for a Brazilian team that controlled the flow against the physical play of the 2000 Olympic champions. The victory all but assured Brazil (2-0) a place in the quarterfinals. Norway (1-1) will hinge its hopes on a final group game against South Korea on Saturday.

FRANCE 1, SOUTH KOREA 0: At Washington, Marinette Pichon, last year's MVP in the WUSA, kept France alive, scoring in the 84th minute. A tie would have ended any chance of France (1-1) advancing to the quarterfinals. Now it is tied for second in Group B with Norway, with a final first-round game vs. Brazil on Saturday.

Auto racing

LITTLE E CLEARED: Dale Earnhardt Jr. was cleared by NASCAR on Wednesday to race this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, where he is seeking a record fifth consecutive victory.

Earnhardt sustained a minor concussion and sprained his right foot in a wreck Sunday in Dover, Del., and NASCAR required him to undergo a physical before he could be cleared to race. Earnhardt was examined Monday; NASCAR reviewed the report Wednesday.


NAVRATILOVA PLANS: Martina Navratilova plans to get into public service after retiring in 2005.

Navratilova, who turns 47 next month, said Wednesday that she'll play through the end of next season. Then she wants to get involved with U.S. politics, perhaps running for office.

"If Arnold Schwarzenegger can run for governor in California, then who knows?" said Navratilova, a Czech-born U.S. citizen who lives in Colorado.

Horse racing

EMPIRE MAKER OUT: Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker was declared out of Saturday's Jockey Club Gold Cup with an injury to his right front foot.

The 1 1/4-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup was supposed to be a showdown between Empire Maker and Mineshaft, the top older horse and winner of the Suburban and Woodward in his last two starts.


SABRES: Buffalo agreed to terms Wednesday with restricted free agent defenseman Jay McKee on a two-year contract. McKee will make $1.7 million this year and $2.2 million next season.

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Sparse crowd sees Germany top Japan