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Spoiling the Jubilee

U.S. women win 1-0, capture German tournament

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  Michelle Akers, Ariane Hingst Michelle Akers is challenged by Germany's Ariane Hingst during Saturday's match. AP

GOTTINGEN, Germany (AP) -- Julie Foudy scored just before she was knocked off her feet by a diving tackle, giving the United States a 1-0 victory over Germany on Saturday and the title of a four-nation tournament.

Her left-footed goal in the 57th minute left the U.S. women with a record of two wins and a tie in the DFB Jubilaum Tournament, marking German soccer's 100th anniversary.

The American women are unbeaten at six tournaments this year. That leaves coach April Heinrichs encouraged for the Olympics, where the United States will defend its gold medal.

"Our best soccer is still in front of us," Heinrichs said. "I'm just very pleased with this team. They're met every challenge. It's amazing. This title just makes us very focused on the Olympics."

The Americans got back World Cup veteran Michelle Akers, who replaced Brandi Chastain in the 59th minute. She played her first match after being sidelined a year with a shoulder injury.

Less fortunate was defender Kate Sobrero. She collided near the German goal and was taken to the hospital amid fears of a possible concussion.

The tournament featured four of the world's best teams. Norway took second by defeating China 1-0 on Saturday on a goal by Dagny Mellgren. The Chinese finished third and winless Germany was last.

Heinrichs considers Norway the biggest threat to the United States at the Sydney Games.

The lone goal came when Foudy charged in from the left. She took Tiffeny Milbrett's cross that swept past the front of the goal. Her short shot fluttered past onrushing goalie Silke Rottenberg, a split second before Foudy was upended by a German defender.

The goal was one of the few chances for the U.S. women in the second half of a game that lacked the drama and highlights of the Americans' 3-2 win over Germany at the World Cup.

"I think we held our own against the United States, the World Cup and Olympic champions," Germany coach Tina Theune-Meyer said. "I'm very confident we can get more out of this team."

The Americans, with their defenders easily clearing every German threat, had several chances during the first 45 minutes to score.

Most of the danger came from Milbrett. Her roller early in the match ricocheted off the left post. She also squandered a wide-open shot in the 38th minute, sending the ball directly into Rottenberg's arms.

Akers was rusty after her long layoff, making some bad passes. Her best moment came in the 84th minute when she quick-kicked a hard shot from well outside the penalty box. But the ball flew straight at the goalie.

Two other veterans of the 1999 World Cup triumph, goalie Briana Scurry and defender Carla Overbeck, are expected to return from injury soon.

Germany proved a big disappointment at a tournament celebrating its soccer heritage, with its defense riddled for seven goals in losses against China and Norway.

China came into the final round of the tournament with a record of 1-0-1, leading the Americans on a goal difference of one. The two World Cup finalists tied 1-1 on Wednesday.

Norway finished with a record of 2-1, China was 1-1-1 and Germany 0-3.


 
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