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USA wins women’s tournament in China. Venturini, Hamm and Parlow score in 3-0 rout of Norway.

GUANGZHOU, China (Saturday, January 24, 1998) -- The United States soundly defeated defending world champion Norway 3-0, using goals by Tisha Venturini, Mia Hamm and Cindy Parlow today to win the Guangzhou International Women's Tournament.

The Americans did not allow a goal in the three matches of the round-robin event, finishing 2-0-1 with seven points, one point ahead of Norway (2-1).

"To get three shutouts against teams of this caliber is something that hasn't happened in a long time, if ever," said sweeper and team captain Carla Overbeck, who played in her 108th career match. "It's a credit to the entire team, and although the 1999 World Cup is a long way off, it was a great start to 1998."

The Americans, who won the first women’s Olympic gold medal in 1996, had recorded a 3-0 victory over Sweden and a 0-0 tie with China, setting up the championship match at Tianhe Stadium, the site of the U.S.’s 2-1 victory over Norway for the first women’s world championship in 1991. Six players from that match played today.

"It's always satisfying to beat the reigning world champions," said U.S. coach Tony DiCicco. "Norway is an outstanding team with a great tradition and they are very well coached. It was an impressive effort by the USA and something we can build on looking towards the 1999 Women's World Cup."

Norway had the first chance of the game in the 20th minute, but U.S. goalkeeper Briana Scurry pushed Marianne Pettersen's shot wide. Scurry would go on to record her first-ever shutout against Norway in eight games.

It wasn’t until the 31st minute that the Americans managed their first shot, but it led to the first goal. Venturini intercepted a defensive clear and sent a one-touch pass to Shannon MacMillan on the right wing. MacMillan cut towards the goal and dribbled straight at Norwegian goalkeeper Bente Norbdy, who rushed out to challenge.

MacMillan cut her pass back to Parlow whose soft shot was cleared poorly off the goal line and fell right into the path of Venturini. Norbdy scrambled to get back in her net, but the U.S. midfielder gave her no chance, striking a blistering volley from 14 yards out into the left side of the goal for her 34th international goal in 91 games.

The U.S. then turned up the pressure. In the 36th minute, Hamm broke free and dribbled 40 yards before unleashing a hard shot that was spectacularly pushed over the cross bar by a flying Norbdy.

The USA scored on its first shot of the second half from a play similar to the first goal. Hamm slipped a pass behind Norway's defense to Kristine Lilly in the left side of the penalty area. Norbdy once again was faced with a U.S. player dribbling straight at her, but could do nothing as Lilly cut her pass back to Hamm, who calmly took a touch before burying her left-footed shot into the right corner from 12 yards.

"We struggled to get our rhythm, but once we did, we took control of the game," said Hamm, who scored her 82nd international goal in 139 games and was named most valuable player of the tournament. "All three goals resulted from good possession that made Norway chase and unbalanced their defense."

Parlow picked up the clinching goal after a series of one-touch passes at the top of the penalty box got the ball to the foot of MacMillan. Her shot was blocked by a defender, but rebounded to Hamm, who sent a pass back to Parlow. The 19-year-old striker smacked an 18-yard shot through traffic and between Norbdy's legs.

United States 3, Norway 0

Lineups: USA - Briana Scurry, Carla Overbeck, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett (Christie Pearce 79), Julie Foudy (Lorrie Fair 59), Tisha Venturini, Kristine Lilly, Shannon MacMillan (Debbie Keller 77), Tiffeny Milbrett (Sara Whalen 69), Cindy Parlow, Mia Hamm (Tiffany Roberts 83). Norway - Bente Norbdy, Anne Nymark Andersen (Ann Kristin Aarones 60), Goril Kringen (Anne Tonnessen 81), Linda Ormen, Silje Jorgensen (Brit Sandaune 79), Hege Risse, Monica Knudsen (Elisabeth Fagereng 77), Margunn Haugenes, Unni Lehn (Ragnhild Gulbrandsen, 66), Marianne Pettersen, Linda Medalen.

Scoring: USA - Venturini (unassisted) 31; USA - Hamm (Lilly) 53; USA - Parlow (Hamm) 75. Total shots: USA 11, Norway 8. Saves: USA 5, Norway 3. Corner kicks: USA 2, Norway 4. Fouls: USA 12, Norway 12. Offsides: USA 2, Norway 2. Yellow card cautions: USA - Chastain 39, Hamm 45, Parlow 55, MacMillan 65.

Referee: Zuo Xiudi (China). Referee's assistants: Zhou Weixin (China), Deng Junxia (China). Attendance (Tianhe Stadium): 750. (weather: 38 degrees, breezy.)