Norway rout Ghana

HANGZHOU - Star striker Ragnhild Gulbrandsen plundered a hat-trick as former champions Norway stormed into the women's World Cup quarterfinals with a 7-2 demolition of already eliminated Ghana yesterday.

HANGZHOU - Star striker Ragnhild Gulbrandsen plundered a hat-trick as former champions Norway stormed into the women's World Cup quarterfinals with a 7-2 demolition of already eliminated Ghana yesterday.

Gulbrandsen pounced in the 39th minute and added another two after half-time to become the tournament's top scorer with five goals in three games, and book the European heavyweights' place in the last eight.

Norway finish top of Group C and now take on either Denmark or hosts China in the last eight in Wuhan on Sunday.

Norway began the bombardment in the fourth minute, Lene Storlokken chesting down and rifling home after being picked out with a header.

Norway, who needed only to draw to qualify, immediately eased off the pace and appeared to be coasting at the near-empty Dragon Stadium. But after shouts of encouragement from goalkeeper Bente Nordby, one of the best goalkeepers in the game, Gulbrandsen doubled their advantage.

Captain Ane Stangeland Horpestad kept the scoreboard ticking over with a sweetly struck penalty on half-time, and after the break 16-year-old substitute Isabell Herlovsen beat two defenders and slotted home past 'keeper Gladys Enti. Ghana left with some consolation as captain Adjoa Bayor thumped home a free-kick on 73 minutes and Florence Okoe converted a penalty. - Sapa-AFP

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