clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Norway returns to co-favorite form

LANDOVER, Md. -- After a sloppy win in its opener, defending champion Norway roared back to make a case for cofavorite status with the United States in the Women's World Cup.

Wednesday night's 7-1 rout of Canada was a classic case of a great team dominating a lesser one. That was also supposed to be the case when Norway played Russia four days earlier, but a big advantage in time of possession and shots only translated into a 2-1 victory."That's what's fantastic about football, there are no mathematics," said Norway coach Per-Mathias Hogmo, whose team became the first to qualify for the quarterfinals. "Today we created 21 chances and scored seven goals. That gave us 1-to-3 and I'm quite happy about that."

Sweden kept its second-round hopes alive with a 3-1 victory over Australia in the other half of the first-round doubleheader before 16,448 at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium.

Norway's goals came from all over -- in nearly every way imaginable.

Ann Kristin Aarones had two goals and an assist, Unni Lehn scored on an elegant give-and-go, Hege Riise nailed a 19-yard free kick, Linda Medalen and Marianne Pettersen scored off corner kicks, and Solveig Gulbrandsen netted on a fast break.

"Right now I'd say that Norway is a little bit more solid overall, but the U.S. team is a little bit more dynamic," said Canada coach Neil Turnbull, who went on to call Norway "the best team in the world."

Norway had an imaginative goal celebration when Medalen lifted her shirt over her head. Fortunately for television censors, she was wearing a sports bra.

CHINA 7, GHANA 0; RUSSIA 5, JAPAN 0: At Portland, Ore., in a game filled with rough play, China's Sun Wen didn't resort to pushing and shoving. And she dealt out the most devastating punishment.

"The team's fighting spirit was the one thing that helped us win the game," Sun said after scoring the third hat trick of this Women's World Cup in China's 7-0 rout of Ghana on Wednesday night.

While China used precise passing and tenacity to win its second game, Ghana was completely outmatched, resorting to hard hits that resulted in three yellow cards and one red.

Russia had it nearly as easy, turning a 1-0 halftime lead into a 5-0 blowout of Japan.