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On the right foot

German, Brazilian women open Games with soccer wins

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Latest: Thursday September 14, 2000 01:48 AM

  Germany's Renate Lingor (right) and Australia's Amy Wilson fight for the ball during their Olympic match in Canberra. AP

CANBERRA (AP) -- The German and Brazilian women's soccer teams opened the Olympics competition on Wednesday with convincing victories in preliminary round action outside the host city Sydney.

Two days before the Games officially get under way, Germany won 3-0 against hosts Australia in Canberra on the strength of goals by Inka Grings, Bettina Wiegmann and Renate Lingor.

In Melbourne, Pretinha put Brazil up 1-0 with a simple tap-in on 22 minutes and Katia sealed the 2-0 victory 20 minutes from time after scoring on the turn.

Both goals were set up by star midfielder Formiga, clearly the game's most dominant player.

Germany's leading scorer, Grings struck first, beating the Australian defense to a loose ball in front of the net for the lead in the 35th minute.

German keeper Silke Rottenberg barely cleared Alicia Ferguson's long range shot in the 67th minute, but Wiegmann put the Aussies away three minutes later with a diving header after a Grings cross. Lingor added an injury time goal to make it 3-0 for Germany.

Germany, who lost to eventual champions United States at the World Cup 1999 quarterfinals, leads the Group E standings with three points.

Brazil, who finished third at the 1999 World Cup, is one goal back.

Group F action kicks off Thursday with the world champion United States facing World Cup 95 winners Norway in Melbourne and 1999 runners up China playing Nigeria in Canberra.

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