FIFA Women's World Cup: United States overpowers Colombia

Alex Morgan scored her first goal of the Women's World Cup and the United States advanced to the quarter-finals with a 2-0 victory over Colombia on Monday night. Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze scored second-half goals as England rallied to a 2-1 win over Norway.

England roars back to oust Norway, will meet Canada

American Alex Morgan was upended by Colombia's goalkeeper but scored shortly after as the United States won 2-0 in the Round of 16 and advances to meet China. (Todd Korol/Getty Images)

Now that Alex Morgan has a goal, she doesn't want to look back on the opportunities she's missed.

She wants to look forward to the goals to come.

"I don't remember the last goal I've had with this team," said Morgan, who had been hampered by a bone bruise in her left knee going into the tournament. "And that's not a good sign. I don't want to look back and see when the last one was because now I've scored, and it's a fresh start moving forward."

Morgan scored her first goal of the Women's World Cup and the United States advanced to the quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory over Colombia on Monday night. Her previous U.S. goal came March 6 in the Algarve Cup.

Abby Wambach's penalty kick early in the second half went wide after Colombia goalkeeper Catalina Perez — a backup herself — was ejected for a foul on Morgan. Stefany Castano, who replaced Perez in goal, got a hand on Morgan's shot five minutes later, but couldn't stop the goal to put the United States up 1-0.

"It didn't have much power on it as I wanted, but it went in and that's all that matters," she said about her right-footed goal.

Usually she's lefty: "It comes in handy when it needs to," she smiled.

Carli Lloyd also scored for the second-ranked Americans, who will face No. 16 China on Friday in Ottawa. The United States is seeking its third World Cup title, but first since 1999.

The Americans have not allowed a goal in 333 minutes.

Colombia has never won soccer's premier tournament, but the No. 28 Las Cafeteras pulled off one of the biggest upsets in any World Cup in the group stage when they defeated third-ranked France 2-0.

Morgan and Wambach started up top for the United States, which used the same starting lineup as it did in the group-stage finale against Nigeria — a first since Jill Ellis became coach.

It was Morgan's second straight start after working her way back from a bone bruise in her left knee. Morgan came in as a sub in the first two matches of the tournament.

Perez, a 20-year-old junior at Miami, started because regular goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda was serving a suspension for yellow-card accumulation. Sepulveda had six saves in Colombia's win over France. Castano had started in Colombia's World Cup opener, a 1-1 draw with Mexico.

The teams played to a goalless first half, with the United States unable to finish several good chances.

Wambach was ruled offside for her attempt at a rebound goal in the fourth minute. Morgan later had a chance, but her shot bounced in front of Perez, who tipped it up and over the crossbar. Perez made three saves in the first half.

Holiday, Rapinoe out for quarter-finals

The United States was hurt in the 17th minute when Lauren Holiday got a yellow card, her second of the World Cup. She'll have to sit out the quarter-final, and it happened again in the 41st minute when Megan Rapinoe got her second yellow.

Perez was sent off at the start of the second half after sliding into Morgan, who was charging toward goal. After Castano took over, Wambach fooled her on the right side but the penalty kick sailed well left of the post.

After Morgan's goal in the 53rd minute, Lloyd scored on a penalty kick in the 66th, Lloyd's first goal of the tournament.

The U.S. had won each of the previous two meetings. When they met nearly three years ago in the London Olympics, Colombia striker Lady Andrade sucker-punched U.S. star Abby Wambach in the eye, drawing a two-match suspension.

In the days before the match in Edmonton, some of Colombia's players said they felt they'd been disrespected by the Americans ever since.

"Because of something that happened three years ago, they've said things that have not been taken by us in the best way," midfielder Yoreli Rincon said. Andrade told reporters she thought the Americans had "belittled" the Colombians.

Colombia, the third-place finisher in Group F behind France and England, was making its second World Cup appearance; it finished in 14th in 2011 in Germany. Colombia had never won a match in the sport's premier tournament until the upset of France.

The second-ranked Americans finished on top of the so-called Group of Death, with victories over Australia and Nigeria and a 0-0 tie with Sweden.

China, the Americans' next opponent, has played in six World Cups, but missed out four years ago. The Steel Roses have never won a title, but they made the final in 1999, losing memorably to the United States on penalty kicks at the Rose Bowl.

England roars back to edge Norway

Defender Lucy Bronze scored a fine winning goal as England came from behind to beat Norway 2-1 in a second round Women's World Cup game on Monday and set up a quarter-final clash against hosts Canada.

The two technically skilled European sides largely cancelled each other out in the sweltering heat for the first hour and sixth-ranked England had to wait until the 76th minute to take the lead, Bronze thumping home a shot from 22 yards out.

England, who have now reached the quarter final for the third successive World Cup, will meet Canada on Saturday in Vancouver and fancy their chances against the home team who have largely failed to shine.

"We have an excellent record against this Canada team ... the momentum we got from this game will put us in a great place going into the quarter final," said upbeat England coach Mark Sampson.

With temperatures on the pitch hovering around 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) at the start, the players initially adopted a slow pace. Norway had two good chances in the first 45 minutes but could not beat England keeper Karen Bardsley.

Eleventh-ranked Norway, the 1995 World Cup champions, started to lose their dominance when Sampson took off tricky, diminutive midfielder Fran Kirby in the 54th minute and replaced her with the more imposing Jill Scott.

"I felt we needed to get a little tighter in midfield and gain more territory," said Sampson.

Seconds after the switch, though, Solveig Gulbrandsen broke the deadlock, getting her head to a corner at the near post and flicking the ball in off the bar.

But England started to look much the better team and deservedly drew level from a corner in the 61st minute when captain Steph Houghton outmuscled two defenders to score with a fine header of her own.

England have now won three in a row at this World Cup after losing their first game.

Norwegian coach Even Pellerud said his team had started to struggle with the pressure after half-time, especially in the wake of Houghton's goal.

"We should have finished the game in the first half and we didn't," he said, congratulating Sampson for the way he had changed England's tactics.


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