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Record-setting Germans cruise into Women's World Cup final
by Paul Kennedy, September 27th, 2007 7AM
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[WOMEN'S WORLD CUP] Germany returned to the Women's World Cup final with a 3-0 victory over Norway Wednesday in the semifinals.

The defending champion will meet the winner of Thursday's USA-Brazil semifinal in Sunday's final in Shanghai.

The shutout was the the fifth in five games at the 2007 Women's World Cup and extended Germany's scoreless streak to 529 minutes dating back to the 2003 final against Sweden. The streak broke China's shutout record of 442 minutes in the 1999 and 2003 events.

The game turned a substitution late in the first half. Kosovo-born Fatmire Bajramaj came on for Melanie Behringer to play on the left side of midfield and her through ball led Birgit Prinz, whose cross was deflected by Norwegian defender Trine Ronning into her own goal just before halftime.

Germany dominated after halftime and pulled away on goals by Kerstin Stegemann and Martina Mueller. Germany was denied a fourth goal when Bajramaj's shot hit the crossbar.

"Yet again," said Germany coach Silvia Neid, "our defending was the key to our success. We allowed Norway hardly any chances. Overall, I would say it was another first-rate and solid team performance."

The win gave the Germans four victories and a tie in their five games in China.

"We peaked at the right time," Prinz said. "We were stronger than our last two opponents, particularly in the second halves we were the better team. It seems we are fit at the right moment."

Sept. 26 in Tianjin
Germany 3 Norway 0.
Goals: Own goal 42, Stegemann 72, Mueller 75.
Germany -- Angerer, Stegemann, Hingst, Krahn, Bresonik (Minnert, 81), Behringer (Bajramaj, 40), Smisek (Mueller, 65), Lingor, Laudehr, Garefrekes, Prinz.
Norway -- B.Nordby, Stangelund Horpestad, Folstad (S.Nordby, 48), Huse, Ronning, S.Gulbrandsen (Storlokken, 56), Knutsen, Herlovsen (Klaveness, 46), Larsen Kaurin, R.Gulbrandsen.
Referee: Dagmar Damkova (Czech Rep.).

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