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Jul 1, 2011

USA, Sweden advance to quarter-finals

USA breezed into the Women's World Cup quarter-finals with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Colombia, who are now out of the competition having lost both Group C clashes so far.

Goals from Heather O'Reilly, Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd gave the North American all three points and they will now face Sweden in a Group C showdown to decide who will finish top.

It was a dominant performance from USA and, in truth, the scoreline could have been far more convincing; Stars and Stripes' forward Abby Wambach was frustrated on several occasions and failed to open her account in the tournament.

However, O'Reilly had no such problem when, after 12 minutes, she crashed home a stunning goal after Colombia had given away posession on the edge of their penalty box.

Rapinoe doubled the lead shortly after half-time after being ably assisted by Lauren Cheney and Lloyd put the result beyojnd doubt with a long-range effort seven minutes later.

Colombia's best, and only real, opportunity fell in the first-half but Katerin Castor was ruled offisde when she was trough on goal.

A second-half strike from midfielder Lisa Dahlkvist was enough to book Sweden a place in the last eight, as they beat North Korea 1-0 to end the Asians' campaign ended at the group stage.

Both Sweden and North Korea squandered chances to open the scoring in the first half in Augsburg, Lotta Schelin firing over the crossbar and into the side-netting, while Kim Su-Gyong also twice missed the target, with a left-foot effort and a header.

But it was Thomas Dennerby's side who made the crucial breakthrough in the 64th minute, when Linda Forsberg's left-wing cross was directed into Dahlkvist's path by Therese Sjogran and the midfielder made no mistake from close range.

The North Korean's had a Ri Un-Hyang shot cleared off the line soon after, but Sweden held on for a vital win.

"I always felt that a goal was going to come, I'm just happy to have been the one to score it," Dahlkvist said. "I felt that we were in control of the game, and in the second half especially we had most of the possession and most of the game was played in Korea DPR's half.

"We did it because of the fans really. The atmosphere here today was simply amazing. The fans were great: cheering, clapping, singing and waving for most of the 90 minutes. It was so great. I didn't think the World Cup would be like this. I knew it would be big, but not this big."

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