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Jul 6, 2011

Australia through, Sweden beat USA

Australia booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Women's World Cup as they secured a dramatic 2-1 victory over Norway in Group D.

Norway had much the better of the first half, and Cecilie Pedersen may have put them ahead had her well-struck shot not deflected over the bar. Elise Thorsnes, who had tested goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri with a series of shots in the first half, finally put Norway ahead on 56 minutes after capitalising on a defensive mix-up.

However, Australia were level just a minute later, and again there were questions over the defending. Norway lost possession cheaply, allowing Lisa De Vanna to centre for Kyah Simon, who fired into the far corner with precision.

Trine Ronning came close to restoring Norway's lead late in the game, but her free-kick from just outside the area struck the crossbar and bounced clear.

It was to prove costly, as Australia responded with a winning goal in the 87th minute. Norway failed to deal with a long corner and, when the ball was whipped back into the box by Kim Carroll, Simon was on hand to head home for her second goal of the game.

Brazil, who were already certain of their place in the next round, maintained their 100% record with a 3-0 win over Equatorial Guinea.

Brazil were nearly up after a minute when a free-kick just evaded goalkeeper Miriam's post, but they struggled to create clear chances afterwards and the sides reached half-time without breaking the deadlock.

On 49 minutes, though, Brazil were ahead, and in some style. Erika collected the ball after a meek clearance from Miriam and juggled the ball impressively before firing expertly into the net. Five minutes later, they doubled the advantage as Cristiane stabbed home a cross. Cristiane then completed the rout in injury time as she calmly slotted home her second goal of the game from the penalty spot.

Sweden finished top of Group C after a 2-1 victory over USA. The teams had gone into the encounter level on six points.

Sweden were awarded a penalty on 14 minutes when Amy LePeilbet clumsily brought down Lotta Schelin as she went through on goal. LePeilbet was fortunate to escape with only a booking, but Lisa Dahlkvist made no mistake from the spot. It was 2-0 on 35 minutes, as a Nilla Fischer free-kick took a wicked deflection from LePeilbet and left Hope Solo with no prospect of making a save.

USA found a way back into the game on 67 minutes when a Lauren Cheney cross deflected home from Abby Wambach's shoulder, but they were unable to add a second.

Sweden - who saw a goal wrongly ruled out for offside in injury time - will face Australia in the quarter-finals while USA take on Brazil.

In the other encounter in Group C, North Korea and Colombia played out a 0-0 draw. Neither side scored a goal in the tournament but the result ensured they each went home with a point.

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