Twenty three times they've played each other in international competition.

The United States holds the overwhelming advantage over Brazil in women's soccer, winning 19 matches in the series (including two Olympic gold-medal games) and suffering only two losses.

The U.S. and Brazil, two of the super powers in the women's game, will renew their rivalry Sunday when they meet in the quarter-finals of the Women's World Cup in Germany — four years after their previous tournament encounter.

On that fateful day in Hangzhou, China, the U.S. entered the final-four showdown as the favourite and appeared well on their way to earning a record third World Cup crown. But it was the Brazilians who emerged with their pride intact following a 4-0 victory, ending the Americans' march to the crown in abrupt fashion.

So, what happened? How did the U.S. suffer one of its heaviest defeats in a game it seemed destined to win?

Well, for one, the Americans gave up an early own goal, and found themselves down 2-0 at halftime. Their task was made even harder when they were reduced to 10 players after midfielder Shannon Noxx earned her second yellow card of the match in the 46th minute.

Oh yeah, there was also the goalkeeping controversy.

The U.S. cruised through the first four matches of the competition, with Hope Solo registering three shutouts and conceding just two goals. But American coach Greg Ryan opted in the semifinal to start veteran Briana Scurry, who was undefeated in 12 previous games against Brazil, including the gold medal match at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The goalkeeping switch backfired, though, as Scurry looked rusty between the posts and was at fault on Brazil's second goal, after being beaten by a harmless shot from Marta.

Solo and the U.S. would gain their revenge a year later, defeating Brazil for the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But the memory of that 4-0 loss in Hangzhou still rankles.

"If you're a successful athlete, you are able to compartmentalize certain moments of your career … that time for me was an utter disappointment. We just gave up that game," American forward Abby Wambach recently told CBC Sports.

"We can talk all day about controversy this and controversy that, but at the end of the day the better team won. Brazil deserved to win that game."

Solo caused a major uproar after the Brazil game when she vented her frustration after the game in an exclusive interview with CBC Sports, claiming Ryan "made the wrong decision."

Looking back, Solo doesn't regret her outspokenness, but maintains the slate has been wiped clean by her teammates and new coach Pia Sundhage, who succeeded Ryan after the World Cup.

"It's been four years now, [and in] four years a lot has happened: a new coach, a new team and a new playing style, new everything. So, of course, I don't look back and have any regrets because I think everything happens for a reason," Solo said.

American midfielder Heather O'Reilly claims the team has grown up since the Brazil loss in 2007.

"The neat thing about the timing of that was that [shortly after] we brought in a new coaching staff… and that sort of gave it a fresh start," explained O'Reilly.

"In a short time we had to prepare for the Olympic Games, under Pia we were able to come together, and even without our big goal scorer [Wambach broke her leg on the eve of the tournament] we were able to put a championship team together."