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September 13, 2000
Australia go down 0-3
In the second game in Pool E of the women's soccer event at the Bruce Stadium in Canberra, hosts Australia went down by three goals to the world's number four-ranked women's team, Germany.
Germany controlled the game right through, while Australia was reduced to desperate defence against the relentless waves of attack.
Germany would have been even further ahead if Aussie goalkeeper Tracy Wheeler hadn't pulled off some excellent saves under the bar.
The Aussie defence first collapsed in the 35th minute, when Wheeler parried a hard drive from the top of the box, only for the ball to find Inge Grings racing in and slotting the rebound home to give Germany the lead.
Germany slowed things down a touch immediately after that goal, playing for the lemon-break.This game the Aussies a bit more room for manouevre, but some random marksmanship and a tightly organised Germany defensive line ensured that the scoreboard at the half-time whistle stayed 1-0 in favour of the Germans.
In the first half, Australia have looked a touch under-confident, in front of a good crowd. They will need to regroup rapidly if they ar to have a chance against the tight defence and good ball-marking skills of the Germans.
For the second half, Australia took the field with teen star Alicia Ferguson coming on for forward Sunni Hughes.
Australia started the second half nicely, floating one up into the penalty box but no forward managed to slip into space to meet it. In a quick counter, the Germans forced a corner, but the Aussie defence scrambled the ball to safety after a bit of a melee near the goalmouth.
The game got a touch scrappy in the early minutes, with free kicks going to both teams in succession. In between, Australia managed a corner, but as in the first half, the home team's finishing left much to be desired.
12 minutes into the second half, Julie Murray was taken down just outside the box, and had to be carried off on a stretcher. The experienced international was having a good game till that point, and Kelly Golebiowski, who at 19 years of age has 28 internationals to her name, replaced the senior player.
Australia recovered nicely, forcing the German defenders to scramble with some quick attacks. One such saw Kate McShea taken down, resulting in a freekick 20 minutes into the second half.
Immediately after, though, the Germans appeared to recover their second wind, and Grings, breaking away with a loose ball, raced down the left flank, then laid on an inch perfect cross to Wiegmann to score with a clinical header. Germany 2-0.
From then on, Germany held possession as the Australians, looking increasingly dispirited, allowed themselves to be pushed right out of the match.
Rather fittingly, Germany scored its third goal with a long shot from about 15 metres outside the penalty area. Renate Lingor took a shot on spec, but managed to catch Wheeler, under the Australian bar, by surprise. The ball went in off the goalie's fingertips, putting the lid on the home team's misery.
Overally, the noteable factor was that the controversy over the turf at Bruce Stadium appears to be settled. The turf, relaid for the second time just a week ago, appears to have 'caught', and the ball played quite nicely with no sign of undue or uncertain bounce.
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