|Ambitious China failed to take down Norway's gritty defence and was edged out of the home-based 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup with a 1-0 defeat on Sunday.|
|Sept.24 - Ambitious China failed to take down Norway's gritty defence and was edged out of the home-based 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup with a 1-0 defeat on Sunday. |
It's the second straight failure of the Chinese "steel roses", at the world's biggest women's football event, to enter the semi-finals. They were ousted by Canada in the quarterfinals in the US four years ago.
The defeat also put an end to China's unbeaten record against the Nordics in the world cup tournament; previously with a 4-0 win in 1991 and a 5-0 triumph in 1999.
This was the 22nd clash between the two sides. China won 7 of the 21 previous meetings, that also included three draws.
China's head coach Marika Domanski-Lyfors expressed strong confidence for China's breakthrough into the last four of the tournament. But worries over the team's performance were sparked after it conceded a 4-0 defeat to Brazil.
China closed in on an opener in the 22nd minute when Bi Yan raced onto a through ball in close range but failed to beat the Norwegian goalie Bente Nordby.
Han Duan also missed a rare opportunity two minutes later as she shook off a rival defender to intercept a right cross, the ball flew just beside the post.
China took an overall lead in the statistics, but it was Norway who cruised to a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute as Isabell Herlovsen sprung from behind and stripped the ball off China's inattentive Wang Kun, before sending the ball into the back of the net. The Chinese keeper Zhang Yanru reacted in time, but could only witness the goal after moving to the wrong side.
Ma Xiaoxu, nicknamed the Chinese "Wayne Rooney", proved to be still out of top form. The AFC Women's Player of the Year 2006 only managed one shot at goal in the first half that was easily saved by Nordby.
Norway's surge continued after the break, a long shot six minutes into the second half was just denied by the bar on China's goal.
China played all out in the hope of an equaliser that eluded them through to the final whistle. Most of their efforts were eclipsed in front of their rivals who managed better strength and organisation.
The US and Germany have grabbed semi-final berths with wins over England and North Korea respectively.