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Brazil to challenge Norway  in women's soccer
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The skillful Brazilians will play against the physically stronger Norwegians in the quarterfinals of the Olympic women's soccer tournament in Tianjin, north China, on Friday.

Brazil finished atop in Group F after a goalless draw with World Cup champions Germany and two wins over DPR Korea and Nigeria.

Norway beat Olympic defending champions the United States 2-0 and edged New Zealand 1-0 in their first two matches, but was humiliated 5-1 by Japan on Thursday.

"Norway has physical advantage, but we will count on our speed, energy and team work," Brazil coach Jorge Barcellos told a press conference.

"We can't over-emphasise our speed or energy, because that would be too one-sided. We need to make use of our skills," he said.

The Brazilian squad is almost the same with that in last year's World Cup when they humbled the United States 4-0 in the semifinal and suffered a 2-0 loss to Germany in the final.

Their top star Marta, regarded as the best women soccer player in the world so far, has all the techniques wrapped up in a five-foot-three package: dazzling dribbling, speed, balance and vision.

Marta formed Brazil's attacking partnership with Cristiane, who scored a first-half hat-trick to give Brazil a 3-1 win over Nigeria in the team's final group match.

"She's a key player for us, and her partnership with Marta is unique in football. I hope they are able to excel in the next match as well," Barcellos said.

However, the team's defense seemed to be not solid enough as former captain Aline Pellegrino missed the Olympic tournament for injury. They conceded two goals in the group stage.

Norway head coach Bjarne Berntsen said: "We watched them closely in last year's World Cup and they have almost the same team. We also analyzed the games they played just before the Olympics."

"We recovered well," Berntsen said, talking about the effects of Norway's 5-1 defeat by Japan in the final group match. "We were in the same situation in this year's Algarve Cup (in Portugal). We lost 4-0 to the U.S. team in the group final and then two days later we beat Germany 2-0 in the bronze medal match."

On whether the rainy weather forecast will suit Norway, he said: "We hope the rain will fall as much as possible. Actually, we don't care about the weather."

(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2008)

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