Blows through the World Cup

BATTLE: US forward Heather O'Reilly, left, and Nigeria's Faith Ikidi fight for the ball in their Group B match. Pic. Eugene Hoshiko. 18/09/07. © AP.
BATTLE: US forward Heather O'Reilly, left, and Nigeria's Faith Ikidi fight for the ball in their Group B match. Pic. Eugene Hoshiko. 18/09/07. © AP.

SHANGHAI - The United States rolled into the World Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday to remain on track for a third title as Asia's top team North Korea lost, but still scraped through for the first time.

SHANGHAI - The United States rolled into the World Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday to remain on track for a third title as Asia's top team North Korea lost, but still scraped through for the first time.

The Americans beat African champions Nigeria 1-0 as Typhoon Wipha bore down on Shanghai, bringing heavy rain, with Lori Chalupny's first-minute goal proving decisive.

It means the world's number one team topped Group B with seven points and now plays a rapidly improving England in the quarterfinal in Tianjin on Saturday.

The Koreans take on defending champions Germany in Wuhan, also on Saturday, despite being beaten 2-1 by Sweden in Tianjin.

They go through on goal difference after both teams ended their group matches with four points, meaning Sweden, runner-up in 2003, failed to make the last eight for the first time in the tournament's 16-year history.

The two women's World Cup matches scheduled for yesterday have been postponed for a day, team officials confirmed.

The Canada-Australia Group C match in Chengdu and the China-New Zealand Group D match in Tianjin will both be played today, team officials said. That will allow them to be played simultaneously with the other final group matches set for today - Norway v Ghana in Group C and Brazil v Denmark in Group D.

All four games are critical and will determine which of the four teams advance to the quarterfinal. Of the eight teams, only New Zealand and Ghana have no chance to advance.

US coach Greg Ryan said that after emerging undefeated from the so-called "group of death", he was confident his team could win the World Cup. - Sapa-AFP

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