Footballing giants Germany and the United States set up a much-anticipated semi-final clash in the Women’s World Cup on Friday by beating France and China respectively. Top-ranked Germany, winners in 2003 and 2007, won a dramatic penalty shoot-out 5-4 to break French hearts after the tie ended 1-1 after 120 minutes in Montreal. The United States, champions in 1991 and 1999, overpowered China 1-0 in front of a largely American crowd of 24,000 fans at Ottawa’s Lansdowne Stadium thanks to a second half Carli Lloyd goal. The scoreline was deceptive as the young Chinese “Steel Roses” were no match for the world’s number two ranked team. “It was just great, the more pressure we put China under, the more they coughed the ball up,” said Lloyd, who earned her 200th cap in the game. “We just kept our foot down on the pedal and that was just what we needed. We’re going to be flying in the next game.” Although the […]

China captain Wu Haiyan was only six years old when ‘The Steel Roses’ competed in their only Women’s World Cup final. That time, their rivals the United States won a penalty shootout to break Chinese hearts in Pasadena’s Rose Bowl. Sixteen years on, a new-look Chinese side will be bidding to bury those painful memories against the “Stars and Stripes” in Friday’s quarter-finals at Ottawa’s Lansdowne Stadium. “I didn’t watch the match at that time. I watched replays later in life. It was an exciting and historical moment,” said the 22-year-old defender. “I hope we can create history too tomorrow.” That run by China to the final inspired Wu’s teammate Wang Shanshan to take up football. “I was in primary school, but I remember watching it very well. That was when my dream started, when China played so well to reach the World Cup final. Sun Wen was my favourite player and my hero at that time,” said the 25-year-old […]

Portugal and Sweden made it to the semi-finals of the European Under-21 Championship in the Czech Republic on Wednesday after taking the top two spots in Group B while England bowed out. A 1-1 draw was all that Portugal and Sweden needed to reach the semi-finals while Italy were left empty-handed despite an impressive 3-1 win over bottom-placed England. Portugal won the group with five points from three games while Sweden and Italy both had four points with Sweden making it to the next stage owing to a 2-1 win over Italy in the group’s opener. Portugal will take on Germany while Sweden face Denmark in the June 27 semi-finals. In Wednesday’s game, Portugal and Sweden took their time to score knowing early on that a draw would send them both to the semi-finals. FC Porto striker Goncalo Paciencia put Portugal ahead eight minutes from time, but Groningen midfielder Simon Tibbling equalised a minute from the end. In the group’s […]

Footballing giants Germany and the United States continue their quest for a record third title on Friday when they meet France and China respectively in the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals. Top-ranked Germany, winners in 2003 and 2007, face an ambitious France in the largely French-speaking city of Montreal. The French seek their first major title after finishing fourth in Germany 2011 and the 2012 Olympics. Over in Ottawa, the United States will be up against a resilient Chinese side who are rekindling memories of their glory days, when they reached the 1999 final but lost to the Americans in a penalty shootout. The USA also won the inaugural edition of the tournament in 1991. The Chinese failed to qualify for the 2011 tournament and the London Olympics, with their 1-0 last-16 win over Cameroon earning them a bonus of around one million yuan ($160,000) from the national football association. Champions Japan, the only team to have won all their matches […]

Germany and China booked the first two spots in the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup on Saturday as they brushed aside rivals Sweden and Cameroon. Germany, champions in 2003 and 2007, demolished Sweden 4-1 in Ottawa, while China won 1-0 in Edmonton to send the last African challenger Cameroon home. Forwards Celia Sasic and Anja Mittag both scored their fifth goals of the tournament, with Sasic netting a double, as the top-ranked Germans closed down their fifth-ranked European rivals in scorching conditions at Lansdowne Stadium. Germany coach Silvia Neid described the victory as “a very important game, maybe a key match” in the tournament. “We haven’t had games of this quality in the World Cup apart from Norway,” said Neid, whose group had included minnows Ivory Coast and Thailand. Germany, who were shocked in the quarter-finals of the 2011 World Cup at home, next play either France or South Korea for a place in the semi-finals. Fought like warriors […]