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Five-star Brazil shatters world champions Germany 4-1 in Olympic semifinal
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21:57, August 18, 2008

Marta and Cristiane's Brazil had a five-star show and crashed the "invincible" Germans 4-1 to cruise to the Olympic women's soccer final on Monday.

It was a fiasco night for Germany, as the World champions' perfect defence record was shattered in relentless way. It was an ecstatic night for Brazil, as the artistic team not only reach the final by beating the World Cup winner, but also displayed their "Joga Bonito".

Super star Marta, Cristiane netted three fantastic goals, and midfielder Formiga was also on target to help the Auriverde get their first win in history over Germany. They will meet either the United States or Japan in the final showdown.

However, the whole process is theatrical, Birgit Prinz's 10- minute goal seemed to foretell a German victory, and Germany took great advantage by launching fierce attacks from the beginning, forcing the skillful rivals make many errors in the passing and defence.

"At the very beginning we were a little bit nervous, but we adjusted our positions to bring our speed into play, and we won," said Brazil coach Jorge Barcellos. But Formiga's 43-minute equalizer proved to be decisive and totally changed the situation.

"I don't think it was a show of Marta and Cristiane. We are a team, other players like Formiga and Tania also made amazing contributions."

Formiga unleashed a powerful shot into the net after Cristiane fed a cross from the left before Marta missed the first-timing shot. The goal broke keeper Nadine Angerer's zero-conceding jinx since last year's World Cup, and eased the nerves of her teammates.

Before the match, Germany has kept an incredible record of not conceding in ten top-level international games. The Germans cruised to win FIFA Wolrd Cup 2007 championship without a goal against, and didn't allow any one to happen during the first four outings at the Beijing Games. Angerer has made many unbelievable saves to keep perfection.

Marta and Cristiane began to show their magic shortly after the break. Cristiane sidefooted home a cool drive on 49 minutes after Marta burst down the right flank in a counter-attack before cut a wicked pass to leave the other striker facing a lonely Angerer.

Four minutes later, Marta dash downed the right, rounding two defenders before firing an imaginative small-angle out-step shot to made it 3-1.

Cristiane, who had a hattrick against Nigeria, made an fantastic goal to round off the night on 76 minutes. The gifted striker meandered through four defenders freely and left them behind before they knew what had happened, and added another wound to Angerer by a calm low shot.

"We had two players to cover Cristiane but they didn't make it, and Marta also controlled the ball very well," said Germany coach Silvia Neid.

Neid didn't criticize the defence line, which lost injured major left back Linda Bresonik.

"The defence was pretty good, and if not so, we could have conceded six or seven goals. The problem lied in our attack. We could have scored more. I told my players we still have chance to win a medal. Today we could be unhappy, but we have to cheer up and prepare for the next match." Germany tried hard in the dying minutes, but their efforts were gulfed by the Brazilian panache.

Source: Xinhua

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2 USA 20 22 25 67
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3 Australia 11 10 12 33
5 Germany 9 7 7 23
6 South Korea 8 9 5 22
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