BERLIN - The United States outclassed
Colombia 3-0 in a one-sided game to reach the quarter-finals of
the Women's World Cup with a match to spare on Saturday.
The U.S. were too strong physically for the lightweight
South Americans, who were never allowed to settle into their
close passing game, and they could easily have doubled their
tally as they dominated the Group C game in Sinsheim.
Heather O'Reilly opened the scoring with a powerful, dipping
25-metre shot in the 12th minute before Megan Rapinoe and Carli
Lloyd scored in a seven-minute spell early in the second half to
finish off the match as a contest.
The U.S. have six points from two games in Group C and have
qualified for the last eight alongside Sweden, who earlier beat
North Korea 1-0 and also have maximum points.
"Sometimes we were really good, sometimes not so good," said
U.S. coach Pia Sundhage, who faces her native Sweden in the
final group game.
"We need to work on controlling the game regardless of
whether it's defence or attack, sometimes we are too eager to
find the final pass instead of keeping it."
The U.S., who have not conceded a goal so far, had already
missed several chances before O'Reilly fired them in front
against opponents who are taking part in the finals for the
first time after qualifying at the expense of Argentina.
Abby Wambach shot straight at goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda
after finding herself free on the left and Amy Rodriguez then
blasted over from the rebound.
Shortly afterwards, Colombia lost possession and Rodriguez
found herself free again only to shoot wide.
However, the U.S. made the breakthrough when Colombia's
Liana Salazar failed to control the ball which fell to O'Reilly
whose powerful effort left Sepulveda helpless.
Wambach missed two headers, one from only a couple of
metres, and Rodriguez was wayward again as the U.S. squandered
They could have paid dearly when Katerin Castro had the ball
in the net for Colombia in first-half stoppage-time but her
effort was disallowed for offside.
That appeared to rattle the U.S. who quickly finished off
the game after the break.
Rapinoe made it 2-0 five minutes into the second half with
an emphatic finish after being set by Lauren Cheney's incisive
Lloyd added another with a long-range shot that slipped
through Sepulveda's hands seven minutes later.
Rapinoe and Wambach then both hit the woodwork against the
flagging Colombians in the closing stages.
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