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U.S. downs Brazil 1-0 in extra time to retain Olympic women's soccer title
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08:35, August 22, 2008


Marta (L) of Brazil vies for the ball during Women's Gold - Match 26 between the U.S. and Brazil of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games football event at Workers' Stadium in Beijing, China, Aug. 21, 2008. The U.S. beat Brazil 1-0 and won the gold medal of the event.(Xinhua Photo)



The U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo grabs the ball during Women's Gold - Match 26 between the U.S. and Brazil of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games football event at Workers' Stadium in Beijing, China, Aug. 21, 2008. The U.S. beat Brazil 1-0 and won the gold medal of the event.(Xinhua Photo)



Marta (L) of Brazil vies for the ball during Women's Gold - Match 26 between the U.S. and Brazil of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games football event at Workers' Stadium in Beijing, China, Aug. 21, 2008. The U.S. beat Brazil 1-0 and won the gold medal of the event. (Xinhua Photo)

The defending champion United States edged Brazil 1-0 in the Olympic women's soccer final in Beijing Thursday night, a stunning repeat of the Athens Games final in which the Americans rallied to beat the Brazilians 2-1.

Pressed by the Brazilians during the most of the match, the United States harvested the unique goal on 97 minutes, seven minutes into the extra time. Midfielder Carli Lloyd charged into the penalty area and fired a powerful shot to break the deadlock.

The Brazilians, who crushed the United States 4-0 in the World Cup semifinal last year in China, created countless scoring chances but failed to cash in a single one.

American goalkeeper Hope Solo was the most eye-catching figure in the duel as her several crucial saves saved the whole team.

As the reigning FIFA Women's World Player of the Year, Brazilian star striker Marta tore the U.S. defense line many times but her acute shots were all miraculously denied by Solo.

Rattled Brazilians girls had to rally after the U.S. lead, however, their three most creative players - Cristiane, Marta and Daniela -- squandered several chances. The closest one came in the last minute of the game when Marta managed to deliver a beautiful right pass across the goal but Cristiane failed to catch.

"We always play well during the tournament, but in the finals, we can't score. I am also asking myself what is happening to us (Brazilian team) in the finals," Marta said after the match.

"We lost focus when we conceded the goal. We needed to have patience and know how to play when we are losing. Everybody knows that we wanted to win the Gold and again we came out of the match without it," the 22-year-old star player added.

Marta had been in the Athens final along with nine other members of the current team. The unquestionable world ace striker, Marta failed to capture any major international titles.

"We have faith that we'll win,in terms of the way we play the game, but football is very complicated...and we dominated it but we didn't make it," Brazilian coach Jorge Barcellos said.

The Americans have played in the Olympic gold medal match every time since the women's football debuted at the 1996 Atlanta Games, only losing the title in Sydney 2000 to Norway.

"We saw the team's getting better at every minute. (during the halftime break) We looked at each other's eyes and everybody had each other's back. Don't worry about making mistakes, just go out there and play in confidence and be brave,you feel it, every minute we were getting stronger especially in the overtime," Christie Rampone, capitain of the U.S. team said at a after-game press conference.

Source:Xinhua

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