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DiCicco's Yanks cruise into quarterfinals
by Paul Kennedy, December 1st, 2008 7:01AM
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[UNDER-20 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP] The USA moved into Thursday's semifinal at the Under-20 Women's World Cup in Chile thanks to a 3-0 win over England on Sunday.

Portland's Keelin Winters broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute and UCLA freshman Sydney Leroux, a former Canadian youth international, added two late goals to put the Americans in the final four against the winner of Monday evening's quarterfinal between Brazil and Germany.

Penn State goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher picked up her third shutout in three games, and Colorado's Nikki Marshall and Notre Dame's Lauren Fowlkes continued their solid play in the middle of the backline.

"I thought in the first half England did a very good job of not letting us play our style," said U.S. coach Tony DiCicco. "We had to change the way we played and then work back to our style as the game went on. We felt that coming back to Chillan was like playing in our home stadium."

Moments after Christine Nairn came into the game in the 52nd minute, she sent it into the box, picked up the clearance on the right and and sent a ball to the far post where Winters rose above two defenders to send a well-struck header from seven yards out just inside the left post.

"I think we have to give a lot of credit to England because in the first half they were really battling with us," said Winters. "In the second half, we came out with a little bit more desire and I think that's what it came down to tonight."

In the 81st minute, Nairn was involved in another corner kick opportunity, playing an in-swinger that flew perfectly for Leroux, who darted in front of a defender to head down and into the net on a bounce from five yards away.

Leroux's second of the night came in the fourth minute of added time when she placed a perfect shot just inside the right post past the onrushing English goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer after being played through by Winters.

"I think there were some nerves, but we knew what we had to do to turn ourselves around in the second half," said Leroux after the match. "The change was just us realizing that if we didn't step it up that we could be going home. We've all sacrificed too much to go home at this point."

In the other quarterfinal contest, France, which had fallen to the USA, 3-0, in the first round, knocked off Group A champion Nigeria, 3-2..

In Monday's highly anticipated quarterfinal matches, Japan and North Korea will meet an all-Asian affair, while Brazil and Germany will meet in a clash of traditional powers to determine the final two semifinal teams.

Japan and Brazil are the tournament's only unbeaten teams.

Nov. 30 in Chillan
USA 3 England 0. Goals: Winters 53, Leroux 81, 90.
USA -- Naeher, Reed, Fowlkes, Marshall, Klingenberg, Wells (Nairn, 52), Winters, Edwards, Washington (Enyeart, 80), Morgan (Fountain, 90), Leroux.
England -- Spencer, Houghton, Rafferty, Buet (Moore, 66), Whelan, Duggan, Allen, Dowie, Clarke, Weston, Chaplen (Williams, 57).
Referee: Jacqui Melksham (Australia).
Att.: 11,008.

Nov. 30 in Coquimbo
France 3 Nigeria 2. Goals: Machart 2, Le Sommer 49, Coton Pelagie 88; Orji 13, Jegede 38.
France -- Gerard, Butel, Gonssollin, Rebard, Agard, Loze (Coton Pelagie, 46), Plaza, Le Sommer, Machart (Bilbault, 90), Hamraoui, Pervier.
Nigeria -- Egwuenu (John, 13), E.Michael, Ishola, Orji, Chukwudi, Chikwelu, S.Michael, Jegede, Jerome, Ukaonu, Kalu.
Referee: Jennifer Bennett (USA).
Att.: 12,363.



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