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Americans giddy to get another shot at Brazil

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FOXBORO, Mass. — There were smiles among the players of the U.S. women's soccer team when Brazil upset China in overtime in the semifinals of the Gold Cup. It set up a Brazil-United States final Monday night and a chance to settle a score.

The Americans thought they were the better team in their scoreless tie against Brazil in group play last week. Among the missed chances was Kristine Lilly's weak penalty kick, saved by goalkeeper Andreia in the final minute.

"The standards we set for ourselves are extremely high," forward Mia Hamm said. "And tying games isn't a standard of ours."

Both teams advanced to the semifinals, where the United States beat Canada 4-1 and Brazil defeated China 3-2 Saturday.

"Yeah, we wanted another go at them," captain Julie Foudy said. "I think any time you walk away from a game like that, that's mentally, physically exhausting, you want another chance. A 0-0 tie for us is really a loss."

For Brazil, the game is another chance to make its case as a gold medal contender at this year's Olympics.

"The Brazilian football, compared with China and the United States, is very young," coach Jose Duarte said. "We have some young players that are playing for the first time. Our team was nervous the first two games. I believe in time we are going to be just as good as the United States and China."

Brazil and Canada give the U.S. team a good contrast in its Olympic preparation. The Americans frustratingly called the victory over Canada a "pingpong" game because their opponents' preference to play long balls in the air. Brazil and the United States play a similar, flowing game.

"The U.S. team is able to play any style in the world," coach April Heinrichs said. "We can play in the air. We can play on the ground. We want to play a much more subtle game — a game that has more possession, more attacking play, more attacking flair. We have to win against any opponent, against any style."

Canada and China will play in the third-place game.