Gender transcended in China

TIANJIN - Germany are ruthless and efficient, Brazil are flamboyant and Australia battling.

TIANJIN - Germany are ruthless and efficient, Brazil are flamboyant and Australia battling.

Sound familiar? At the women's World Cup, national stereotypes transcend gender.

So it was no surprise when England crashed out in the quarterfinals, or when Brazilian flair subdued an against-the-odds assault by brave Australia.

North Korea showed typical Korean vigour in their run to the last eight, Japan were lightweight and China were talented but couldn't score.

"The key to our success is that we all play as a unit to win," said Korean striker Ri Kum Suk.

Meanwhile, the Scandinavian teams have been predictably well organised and physical, Nigeria impressed against the odds and New Zealand were out of their depth.

Obvious exceptions include double champions, United States, whose success can be traced to its professional league, and Argentina, who shipped an uncharacteristic 18 goals in three group games.

These aside, the similarities are often striking. Defending champions Germany are even questioned about their coolness under pressure and penalty-taking skills.

The reason, apart from lazy cliche, could lie in women players being inspired by their high-profile male counterparts.

Thus Australia's Matildas sought to emulate the have-a-go Socceroos' success at last year's men's World Cup.

"Like they said with the Socceroos, we won't just be going to make up the numbers - we want to put a stamp on the World Cup," said goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri before the tournament.

Shades of Ronaldinho can be seen in Brazilian forward Cristiane, who cites O Fenomeno as her idol.

Argentina forward Maria Potassa looks up to Boca Juniors heroes Juan Roman Riquelme, Carlos Tevez and Rodrigo Palacio.

"Yes they are all Boca legends, and I could end up continuing my career there this year," Potassa said.

Cynthia Uwak said Nigeria's women shared many psychological traits with the men's team. "Both the men and the women are the same. When it comes to football, we're highly passionated and motivated," she said.- Sapa-AFP