Brazil ties Germany with seconds left, 3-3

Maicon's goal in traffic gives team Group B title

Nigeria beats Denmark

June 28, 1999|By Lowell E. Sunderland | Lowell E. Sunderland,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER -- Unseeded Brazil, outplayed the entire second half, stole a dramatic 3-3 draw with top-seeded Germany in Women's World Cup play yesterday, turning a botched clear of a free kick into a goal 10 seconds from the game's end.

"We have a saying, `God is Brazilian,' so this proves it," said coach Wilson De Oliveira Rica, grinning over the goal that came nearly four minutes into stoppage time, his team's only bright moment of the second half.

Second-half substitute Maicon had the errant ball drop to her in traffic 14 yards from goal and just to the right of center, and she slammed home a rising shot for the tie with scarcely 10 seconds left.

"I saw the ball coming, and I thought, `It's a goal,' " said the diminutive Maicon, an ankle being iced from a foul near the end line that had dropped her writhing and set up the winning free kick. "It wasn't a tie. It was a victory for us."

The chip across the packed penalty box to the far post came from Sissi, who in the 20th minute had put Brazil ahead 2-1 with a 22-yard restart and became the tournament's leading scorer doing what Brazilians seem to do better than anyone, curl free kicks around player walls.

With the draw before 22,109 at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, the Brazilians (2-0-1) won Group B over favored Germany (1-0-2), the 1995 Cup runner-up, but both teams advanced into quarterfinal play here Thursday night. Brazil, beating Germany for the first time, reached single-elimination play for the first time. Both teams remained in the running for seven berths in next year's Olympics in Australia.

In the quarterfinals, leading to the Cup title game July 10 at the Rose Bowl, Germany will face the 3-0-0 U.S. team, winner last night of Group A, and Brazil will face Group A runner-up Nigeria (2-1-0), a 2-0 winner here over Denmark in yesterday's second game.

German coach Tina Theune-Meyer, one of two female coaches in the tournament, said before yesterday's game, " an objective for us is to try to avoid Team USA." More resolute afterward, she said: "I am happy we don't have to move to another town. We can have a rest."

Germany scored after just eight minutes, in what many expected to be group play's most competitive match, on a three-on-one break that 21-year-old forward Birgit Prinz finished from eight yards. Eight minutes later, Brazilian forward Katia da Silva tied it at 1 with a 17-yard shot.

Lectured at halftime for being too cautious against the free-wheeling Brazilians, Germany tied the score at 2 just 48 seconds into the second half on a penalty kick by midfielder Bettina Wiegmann, who was playing her 100th international game. Switching to a 3-5-2 posture, the Germans also took control of midfield and seemed headed for victory.

In the 58th minute, German defender Steffi Jones, daughter of an American soldier she has seen once in 20 years and thought might attend yesterday's game (he didn't), gave her team a 3-2 lead on an insistent right-side run, a feed from midfielder Sandra Smisek and deflection off a defender's foot of her hard shot from the top left of the box.

* Nigeria 2, Denmark 0: The Nigerians, rebounding from a 7-1 loss to the U.S. team, sent the disappointing, injury-hampered Danes home with their third-straight Group A loss.

The Nigerians played a much cleaner game than against the Americans and scored in each half to become the first African team in three World Cups to reach knockout play.

"I think today will be a great day in my country," said forward Mercy Akide. Her 24th minute, five-yard goal after a through pass sprung her at the top of the penalty box was Nigeria's first.

In the 81st minute, midfielder Nkiru Okosieme put in the second from 14 yards after a Danish defender kicked the ball directly to her at the box's top left.

The Danes' best chances were an apparent 45th-minute goal that was waved off because of a foul and a 77th minute shot off the crossbar.

* Italy 2, Mexico 0: With neither team having anything to gain, they played a spirited match at Foxboro Stadium in Massachusetts.

Italy (1-1-1) got goals from Patrizia Panico in the 37th minute and Paola Zanni in the 51st, both on shots goalkeeper Lenny Quinones misplayed.

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