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Brazil and Norway scrape thru
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 30 - 06 - 2011

FRANKFURT: Brazil and Norway became the latest tournament favorites to run into stubborn opposition at the women's World Cup Wednesday, as both escaped with 1-0 wins.
Either the gap is closing between nations in women's football or the World Cup favorites have yet to hit their stride, as all the top contenders have won their opening group matches but none has scored more than two goals.
Norway needed a late goal to edge Equatorial Guinea, while Brazil beat Australia in the day's other Group D game.
Four years ago, Germany kicked off its campaign with a 11-0 rout of Argentina and there were 39 goals scored in the first eight matches, compared with 14 in this tournament after all 16 teams completed their opening matches.
In Moenchengladbach, a second-half strike by Rosana earned Brazil its victory over Australia while, in nearby Leverkusen, Norway needed a late goal from Emilie Haavi to edge World Cup newcomer Equatorial Guinea.
The results made for some revealing comparisons.
Four years ago, Brazil played New Zealand at the start and won 5-0; Norway also faced an African side in its group in 2007 and beat Ghana 7-2.
And Germany did not concede a goal in winning its second title in China in 2007.
Now, it already has let one in its opening game, at home.


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