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Women's Soccer Roundup: Brazil samba suffers final nightmare, USA retains Olympic title in novel style
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08:41, August 22, 2008

An artistic Brazilian team showed unparalleled prowess before the last nightmarish battle, but the formidable United States kept the wild samba at bay and successfully defended their Olympic title in some novel-like way.

If there's something to remember first for the whole Olympic women's soccer tournament, it should be Marta, Cristiane and Co who contributed largely to the "beautiful game" with their wild style full of aesthetic taste and graceful poise.

Although the Americans took the final victory and their show was respectable, it's the Brazilian "Joga Bonito" that attracted more limelight in the process.

Marta and Cristiane, the undisputed striking pair of amazing talents and creativity, greatly epitomized the Auriverde's play by always trying to trouble their rivals with tricky and glistening dribbles and maestro goals, which meets the fans' request to the greatest extent.

Marta scored three maestro goals and Cristiane collected five to be the top scorer of the tournament. The Brazilians seemed to be unstoppable en route to claim their first Olympic title, before being surprisingly downed 1-0 by resolute Americans in the final, just like the replay of what happened four years ago in Athens.

The Americans, in contrast, started awkwardly in a 2-0 defeat by Norway, but the old foe of Brazil rallied after that and gradually got into form. Before upsetting the Brazilians by an extra time winner to add the mystery to their opponents' final jinx, USA fought hard to get difficult wins over Japan and Canada, especially the four-hour long quarter-final with the Cannucks, which was delayed by the sudden thunderstorm in Shanghai Stadium.

But even the lightning could not prevent the Americans from going on to defend their honor, they battled like warriors in the final and fought with the technically better rivals throughout the game, destroying their patience into pieces and were finally rewarded the gold.

"Before the final we always played well and we could easily score. But in the final the ball always went a little bit wide, I just couldn't understand what had happened," said a weeping Marta after the heartbroken loss.

The great female player is annoyed by the final jinx, she tried hard but her every shot seemed to be spellbound. Marta lost the 2004 Athens Olympic final, 2007 World Cup final and 2008 Beijing Olympic final consecutively.

But the Brazilians didn't lost their future, Marta is only 22 years old and Cristiane is 23, they are likely to get the highest glory by improving the team combination in the future.

The European teams did not do well at the Beijing Games, World Cup champions Germany lost their ruthless power and staggered into the semi-final after some mediocre performance, before routed by Brazil 4-1. Norway was also beaten by the Auriverde in the quarter- final. Sweden was knocked out by Germany from the last four.

Japan is a big surprise of the tournament. The Nadeshiko displayed their passing and possessing style, and had some nice games as the 5-1 demolition over the Norwegians and 2-0 victory over China, before finally lost to USA in the semi-final.

DPR Korea was unfortunately pooled in a group of death with Brazil, Germany and Nigeria, and got early exit after some respectable play. The other Asian team, hosts China exposed their lack of strength, and was kicked out by the Japanese in the quarter-final.

Nigeria showed their technical advantage, but couldn't qualify from the tough group, while underdogs New Zealand and Argentina were not able to get past the group stage despite their improvement.

Source:Xinhua

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6 Germany 11 8 12 31
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