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Brazil reaches semifinals in women's soccer
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Brazil cruised to the semifinals in the Olympic women's soccer tournament after beating Norway 2-1 in Tianjin, north China, on Friday.

Midfielder Daniela put Brazil ahead in the 44th minute with a power shot from outside the box.

Marta doubled the advantage in the 57th minute when Norway's center back Marit Fiane Christensen underhit the backpass, allowing Marta nip in and lob goalkeeper Erika Skarbo.

Norway pulled one back in the 82nd minute with defender Siri Nordby's penalty kick after forward Elise Thorsnes was pushed down by goalkeeper Barbara in a counterattack.

In a match of contrasting styles, the skillful South Americans sought to impose their short passing game while the European side tried to exploit their aerial strength with long passes and high balls.

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.

Brazil's top star Marta formed strike partnership with Cristiane, who had scored a hat-trick in her team's 3-1 win over Nigeria in the final group match.

After a fairly even start, Brazil slowly controlled the situation.

Cristiane produced the team's first shot in the 13th minute when she failed to steer the ball into the empty net after intercepting the pass from Barbara.

In the 22nd minute, midfielder Formiga's powerful long shot sailed just over the crossbar.

Norway's first shot came in the 38th minute when midfielder Marita Skammelsrud Lund headed over from a free-kick.

Only five minutes later, forward Elise Thorsnes shot over a cross from midfielder Lene Storlokken.

Cristiane had a chance to extend the lead in the 68th minute, but her powerful shot at the edge of the box was tipped over by Skarbo.

Midfielder Solveig Gulbrandsen wasted Norway's last chance in the 90th minute when she headed over from a right-side free-kick.

Brazil had reached the quarterfinals after a goalless draw with World Cup champions Germany and two wins over DPR Korea and Nigeria while Norway beat Olympic defending champions the United States and New Zealand in Group G, but was humiliated 5-1 by Japan.

In the semifinals, Brazil will play against the winner of Germany vs Sweden in Shanghai on Monday.

(Xinhua News Agency August 15,2008)

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