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2. WOMEN'S GOLD CUP: USA and Canada bound for China
November 23rd, 2006 1:22AM



Sixteen years after its victory at the inaugural Women's World Cup, the USA will return to China next year to compete in the fifth FIFA world championship for women.

  • Women's Gold Cup Semifinal Summaries

  • Abby Wambach made sure of that, scoring twice to lead the USA to a 2-0 victory over Mexico Wednesday in the semifinals of the Women's Gold Cup in Carson, Calif. Canada also qualified with a 4-0 win over Jamaica at the Home Depot Center.

    The opportunistic Wambach opened the scoring in the 12th minute when she scored on a rebound after Mexico goalie Sophia Perez failed to hold Carli Lloyd's low shot. Wambach upped her season total to a team-high 17 goals in the 66th minute when she scored on a header off a cross from captain Kristine Lilly, the lone holdover from the China '91 team. The win extended the USA's unbeaten streak to a record 31 games and was the 18th in 18 games against Mexico.

    In the other semifinal, Canada put away the Reggae Girlz with three second-half goals. Christine Sinclair, the 2005 Soccer America Women's College Player of the Year, scored the first two goals against Jamaica and set up former University of Tennessee star Rhian Wilkinson for the third goal. University of Florida redshirt Melanie Booth finished the scoring in the 88th minute.

    Mexico and Jamaica will play for third place on Sunday with a berth in a two-game playoff against Japan on the line. The winner of that home-and-away series will earn the final berth to the Women's World Cup. Canada and the USA became the 11th and 12th teams to qualify for the 16-team Women's World Cup. Already through are host China, Australia and North Korea from Asia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, defending champion Germany and England from Europe and Nigeria and Ghana from Africa. Qualifying isn't finished in South America and Oceania.

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