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Sep 19, 2007

Two World Cup games postponed until Thursday

CHENGDU, China -- The two Women's World Cup matches scheduled for Wednesday have been postponed for a day, team officials said.

The Canada-Australia Group C match in Chengdu and the China-New Zealand Group D match in Tianjin will both be played on Thursday, team officials said.

That will allow them to be played simultaneously with the other final group matches set for Thursday -- Norway vs. Ghana in Group C and Brazil vs. Denmark in Group D.

All four games are critical and will determine which of the four teams advance to the quarterfinals. Of the eight teams, only New Zealand and Ghana have no chance to advance.

Under FIFA's planned schedule, all group matches were to be played at the same time, ensuring competing teams could not get an advantage by knowing the outcome beforehand of another match.

The schedule was disrupted when two matches scheduled for Wednesday were set back until Thursday, a move made necessary by Typhoon Wipha.

Although teams confirmed the move, FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, was late making the announcement.

"It's disappointing to find out so late about the rescheduling, but that aside it allows all teams to compete on an equal footing," Australia coach Tom Sermanni said.

Crowds in the northern city of Tianjin are likely to be upset. There was a big crowd expected in the 60,000-seat Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium to watch host China play.

"We just heard this ourselves," China's media officer Meng Hongtao said Wednesday afternoon. "We were prepared and the players were getting ready for the game. They ate at 4 o'clock and were planning to leave for the stadium at 6."