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September 24, 2000
US, Norway in women's soccer final
Olympic champions United States beat Brazil 1-0 with a hotly-disputed Mia Hamm goal in a hard-fought semi-final on Sunday to secure a place against Norway in the final of the women's soccer tournament.
Norway clinched their spot in Thursday's final with a 1-0 win over Germany in Sydney thanks to an 80th minute own goal by Tina Wunderlich.
Brazil will meet Germany for the bronze medal in the third-place play-off match in a curtain-raiser to the final.
After a slow start at Canberra, the pace of the match picked up with both teams going on the attack and Swiss referee Nicole Petignat booking three players from each side.
Although the 11,000 fans at Canberra's Bruce Stadium - - who included FIFA president Sepp Blatter - - were clearly backing the Brazilians, the United States were the better team.
Brazil counter-attacked with pace and invention but the Americans were better organised and more efficient passers and movers of the ball.
Brazil suffered a blow when Katia, their most dangerous forward was carried off injured after 57 minutes - - and three minutes later they were in even worse trouble when they went behind.
Brandi Chastain sent a free-kick into the box which goalkeeper Andreia missed and it fell to Hamm who turned the ball in at the near post.
But Brazilian coach Jose Duarte later complained the referee should have called a foul with Andreia apparently pushed over by Tiffeny Milbrett as the pair challenged for the ball.
Brazil rallied and went close to scoring ater 63 minutes but Pretinha's effort was disallowed for offside.
U.S. coach April Heinrichs predicted a tough match against Norway, who have challenged the Americans for superiority in the women's game for the best part of a decade.
The United States beat Norway 2-0 during a preliminary match in Melbourne just before the Olympics started.
"Their defence will be tough to break down. It is going require a great performance on our part," Heinrichs said.
Norway, who took the bronze medal in Atlanta in 1996, a year after winning the world championship, needed an own goal 10 minutes from time to beat Germany in Sydney in front of 16,710 fans.
Wunderlich deflected the ball past her own goalkeeper with extra time approaching.
German captain Doris Fitschen said: "Obviously Tina feels bad, but we all lost the game not only her."
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