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US eliminate Colombia, Bronze pure gold for England

US eliminate Colombia, Bronze pure gold for England

EDMONTON: The United States capitalised on Colombia goalkeeper Catalina Perez’s dismissal to earn a 2-0 win and set up a women’s World Cup quarter-final against China, while England continue to build up a head of steam after coming from behind to beat Norway.

England’s reward for fighting back in sweltering conditions to record a 2-1 victory in Ottawa is a last-eight tie against hosts Canada in Vancouver on Saturday.

The United States will face China a day earlier in a repeat of the 1999 final but they had to work for their win at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton and only took control of the game with the sending off of Perez after half-time.

Despite a series of unconvincing displays, US coach Jill Ellis was happy with the way her team were finding a way to win.

“This is the World Cup, I am really satisfied with advancing,” said Ellis. “It is about finding a way. I thought we stroked the ball around pretty well at times. So I am pleased with where we are.”

The game turned the Americans’ way shortly after half-time when Alex Morgan was brought down just inside the area by Perez, who was then sent off.

Abby Wambach stepped up to take the penalty but dramatically sent the ball left of goal, denying her a record-equalling 15th Women’s World Cup goal to match Brazil star Marta.

Morgan finally broke through after 53 minutes with Carli Lloyd getting a second 13 minutes later from a penalty after Megan Rapinoe was fouled inside the box by defender Angela Clavijo.

It was, however, a costly game for the Olympic champions, with key midfielders Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday set to miss the China game after collecting yellow cards.

Earlier at Landsdowne Stadium, where the temperature hovered around 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in the first half, sixth-ranked England were trailing after Solveig Gulbrandsen headed in for 1995 champions Norway after 54 minutes.

England, who lost their group opener to France but have now won three in a row, equalised from a corner in the 61st minute when captain Steph Houghton outmuscled two defenders to score with a fine header of her own.

Defender Lucy Bronze then blasted in the winner in the 76th minute to book England’s spot in the quarter-finals.

“The names of these players, this team, will go down in English football history — but make no mistake, this journey is not over,” warned coach Mark Sampson. “Canada have the home crowd, excellent players, an excellent manager, we need to produce another massive England performance to get though.”

Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2015

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