Sunday, October 12, 2003

Americans finish on high note


Top Canadians 3-1 to take third place

The Associated Press

CARSON, Calif. - Led by veterans Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Tiffeny Milbrett, the United States won the World Cup's third-place game 3-1 over Canada Saturday.

"It was very important to finish this way, whether it was for first, second or third," Milbrett said.

The Americans, many of whom have said they won't play in another World Cup, saluted the crowd of 25,253 after the game, throwing kisses, waving and clapping.

"The atmosphere was tremendous," Hamm said.

Hamm's perfect twisting corner kick was headed home by Shannon Boxx for the winning goal in the 52nd minute. It was the 1,000th goal for the U.S. women.

Milbrett and Lilly also scored to boost the Americans' record against the Canadians to 26-3-3.

It's the second time the United States has finished third in the World Cup, also doing it in 1995. The Americans won the crown in 1991 and 1999.

In the game's 31st minute, 16-year-old Canadian midfielder Kara Lang missed a sliding shot and crashed into goalkeeper Briana Scurry, who also hit the goal post after the ball banged off the post. Scurry was down for four minutes, flexing her right leg but stayed in.

But Scurry had no chance on Christine Sinclair's low shot in the 38th minute that tied the score 1-1.

After the game, Canada coach Even Pellerud said the Americans were aging and that Canada should surpass them soon.

"They are a little bit on the way down," he said. "They're not as organized as they used to be. They give away more space to their opponents. They're not as fit as they used to be."

Germans picked as final favorites

CARSON, Calif. - Julie Foudy, co-captain of the United States team that lost 3-0 to Germany in a Women's World Cup semifinal, expects the Germans to hoist the trophy for the first time after today's final.

"I think Sweden is very good but that Germany will be able to handle them physically," Foudy said.

U.S. coach April Heinrichs says the week off between the semifinals and the championship works against Sweden.

"With six days of rest, Germany can play a high-energy game, and I think a high-energy game can prevail," she said.

Germany defeated Sweden in overtime to win the 2001 European Championship and holds a 6-5 edge against the Swedes. The Germans have outscored the opposition 22-3 here, with Birgit Prinz leading the event with seven goals.




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