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Jun 29, 2011

Narrow wins for Brazil and Norway

A second-half strike from midfielder Rosana handed Brazil a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Australia in their Group D encounter at the Women's World Cup.

• Group A: Germany, France victorious
• Group B: England held, Japan beat NZ
• Group C: Wins for USA and Sweden

Brazil, who reached the 2007 final before losing to Germany, were made to work for an opening victory by a battling Matildas side, which included teenagers Emily van Egmond and Caitlin Foord.

Efforts from midfielder Collette McCallum and Kyah Simon threatened to break the deadlock for Australia in the first-half and Lisa De Vannaalso also failed to capitalise on a defensive error from Brazil captain Aline when sending the ball wide.

But the South Americans also had chances and Rosana was in the thick of things, directing a header off target and scooping a shot over, before making amends by smashing home the game's only goal at the start of the second period.

Australia failed to take advantage of host of opportunities to draw level at the end of a match that was perhaps most notable for the anonymity of World Player of the Year Marta, who struggled to make an impact.

Elsehwere, Norway had a late goal from Emilie Haavi to thank as they beat underdogs Equatorial Guinea 1-0 in Group D's other game.

The Norwegians, who won the 1995 edition, were expected to walk away with the game against the inexperienced debutants, however they were pushed back by some spirited play from the Africans, who managed 20 efforts on goal.

An injury to key defender Guro Knutsen Mienna had caused Eli Landsem's plans to change, but Norway should have been 2-0 ahead inside ten minutes with Isabell Herlovsen firing over and Haavi hitting the post.

For the Equatoguineans, captain Anonman pulled the strings and should have made it 1-0 just before half-time, but goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth made a fine save.

Herlovsen and Anonman were again in the spotlight as they both missed one-on-one chances, before Norway began to assert themselves and finally made a chance count after Leni Larsen Kaurin's cross found Haavi to sidefoot home with six minutes left.

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