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Cristiane hattrick shines fiesta night, giants through in contrasting way
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09:24, August 13, 2008

Tuesday's last round group matches of the Olympic women's soccer tournament produced a glistening fiesta with twenty goals out of six games. World top teams Germany, Brazil, United States, Sweden, Norway and hosts China all cruised to the quarter-finals in contrasting style, and Brazilian star Cristiane's hattrick was certainly the beautiful fireworks of the night.

After the early blow from Nigerian Perpetua Nkwocha's penalty, Cristiane blazed the Brazilian attack with fantastic form. The 23- year-old forward quickfired thrice in twelve minutes before the break, first with a nice header in the 33rd minute and then with a spectacular overhead kick, before netting home a cross in injury time.

"Strikers live for scoring. I performed well and seized the opportunities," Cristiane said after the match.

The 3-1 win leads Brazil to top of Group F and they will play Norway, second-placed team of Group G on Aug. 15 in the quarter- final.

On contrary to Brazil, European powerhouse Norwegians suffered an unbelievable 5-1 humiliation by a desperate Japan in a nightmarish game.

After sealing early qualification with two straight wins over USA and New Zealand, the Scandinavians seemed to be on holiday on the pitch, which was in sharp contrast to the Japanese aggressive play.

However, it was Norway who took early advantage. Midfielder Guro Knutsen drove a low shot to beat Miho Fukumoto following captain Ane Stangeland Horpest's clinical through pass.

Then the game turned to be under Japan's reign, the Nadeshiko burst with strong emotion and stormed in five goals. Yukari Kinga, Kozue Ando, Shinobu Ohno, captain Homare Sawa and substitute Ayumi Hara were all on target from their technical and fluent shot passing play.

"I want to forget the match now. We let our opponents too easy to score." said Norway coach Bjarne Berntsen.

The convincing win rewarded the Japanese a birth in the knockout matches as one of the best two third-placed teams with four points( the other one is Canada of Group E), and they will meet hosts China (Group E leaders) in the quarter-final.

World Cup holders Germany left it late to frustrate a tough DPR Korea side, who pressured them heavily with their high-intensity style.

Substitute forward Anja Mittag poked in a rebound ball on 86 minutes following Birgit Prinz's small angel shot inside the box was parried by goalkeeper Jon Myong Hui to kill the DPR Koreans, who tried hard throughout the game and were the better side.

German keeper Nadine Angerer has kept her incredible clean sheet since the FIFA World Cup China 2007, who also saved several goal- bound shots in the breathtaking 3-0 win over the same opponents in the quarter-final last year.

The brave DPR Koreans (they rank third in Group F) have to go home as a solo win over Nigeria is not enough compared with Japan and Canada, who got four points respectively. While Germany will entertain Sweden in the next round.

USA dominated New Zealand throughout a 4-0 victory on a day when everything went their way. They qualified as Group G leaders and will welcome their North American neighbours Canada in the quarter- final.

Hosts China went on top of Group E after downing Argentina 2-0. Han Duan's touch inside the box following a freekick forced Maria Quinones make an own goal in the 52nd minute, before Gu Yasha sidefooted home a Xu Yuan cross in the dying minutes. In another game, Sweden beat Canada 2-1 to notch the second place of Group E with six points.

Source:Xinhua

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1 China 13 3 4 20
2 USA 7 7 8 22
3 South Korea 5 6 1 12
4 Germany 4 1 1 6
5 Italy 3 4 2 9
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