March 4, 2011

US Gains Final after 2-0 Win over Norway

The United States has secured a berth in the Algarve Cup final by defeating Norway 2-0 on Friday. Lindsay Tarpley and Carli Lloyd scored the goals for the United States. The United States have clinched Group A because they have defeated both teams that could catch them in the standings.

Pia Sundhage started virtually the same lineup on Friday as she did two days ago, with the exception being Tarpley at forward instead of Lauren Cheney.

Tarpley opened the scoring in the 33rd minute as Rachel Buehler started the play with a long pass over the Norwegian defense from the back. Amy Rodriguez, who timed her run perfectly, got behind two defenders. With Nora Berge bearing down from behind and goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth coming out, Rodriguez was able to win the ball and tap it back to Tarpley. Tarpley was able to left-foot the ball into the open net while falling backwards from nine yards out.

Lloyd's goal came after the break in the 63rd minute. Megan Rapinoe was able to get the ball to Lloyd in the middle, about 40 yards from the net. Lloyd dribbled first right and then back left to give herself space. She then released a low shot along the ground from 25 yards out that appeared to catch Hjelmseth leaning the wrong way. The ball went just inside the right post to make it 2-0.

The United States outshot Norway 17-5 and held the edge in shots on goal by a 7-2 margin. Nicole Barnhart gained the shutout in goal.

The US will face Finland on Monday in the final group stage match, but it will have little meaning on the final standings. They will then face the Group B winner on Wednesday. Iceland leads Group B with two wins and will be the opponent if they win or tie. They will face Denmark, who could also win Group B with a win, as could Sweden depending on goal differential.

Japan 5, Finland 0

Japan scorched Finland with five goals on Friday, easily winning their second match of the Algarve Cup. They evened their record after losing their opener to the United States.

Shinobu Ohno and Nahomi Kawasumi scored first half goals to give Japan a 2-0 lead at the half. FFC Turbine Potsdam forward Yuki Nagasato pushed the lead to 3-0 in the opening minutes of the 2nd half. Second half substitution, Mami Yamaguchi, completed the scoring with a late brace. Ayumi Kaihori earned the shutout.

Japan will now face off against Norway on Monday, in a match that will decide second position in Group A. Finland will finish in fourth place in Group A.

Iceland 2, China 1

For the second straight match, Iceland was able to earn a 2-1 victory, this time over China. And for the second time, it was a come-from-behind victory. Margrét Vidarsdóttir was again one of the heroes, scoring both goals for Iceland.

China was able to take the early lead on a goal by Ma Jun in the 21st minute of the match. But Vidarsdóttir was able to tie the match just six minutes later, as she was able to get the ball past Chinese keeper Huang Luna, who was making her debut. Vidarsdóttir gave Iceland the lead early in the second half with her second goal.

Iceland will now face Denmark on Monday, with a chance to secure a place in Wednesday's final with a tie or win.

Sweden 3, Denmark 1

Sweden was once again able to get the best of Denmark with a 3-1 victory on Friday. Jessica Landstróm scored twice and Josefine Oqvist was able to score her second goal in as many games.

Landstróm opened the scoring in the eighth minute of the match, with the ball apparently going off of her hip into the goal. Kristine Pedersen answered for Denmark just two minutes later. The match went into halftime tied.

Oqvist scored in the 53rd minute, followed by Landstróm's second of the match in the 60th minute as Sweden played a strong second half to earn the victory. Sweden will now face China on Monday, a team they lost to earlier this year at the Four Nations Tournament.

Portugal 0, Chile 0

The host team, Portugal, played to a scoreless draw against Chile. Neide Simões posted the shutout for Portugal, while Christiane Endler had a stellar match in earning the shutout for Chile.

Portugal can now win Group C with a victory against Romania on Monday or a tie combined with a Welsh tie or loss to Chile.

Wales 2, Romania 1

Wales was able to come from behind to defeat Romania 2-1 on Friday. They were able to bounce back after an opening match loss to the host team.

Cosmina Dusa once again scored giving Romania a 1-0 lead in the opening half. Wales came back strong as Jessica Fishlock tied the match and then assisted on Helen Lander's game winner a few minutes later.

Wales now has a chance to win Group C with a victory over Chile and a Portugal tie or loss against Romania.