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Hamm scores three; U.S. women beat Germany 4-2.

CHICAGO (Sunday, June 28, 1998) -- In her second game back from injury, striker Mia Hamm scored three times in a 20-minute span of the second half to lift the United States women to a 4-2 victory before 13,107 at Solider Field.

The two teams tied 1-1 Thursday. "It was a very good win for us because we felt we were fortunate to get a draw in the first match," said U.S. midfielder Julie Foudy. "We felt we could have scored a few more today.There were some defensive breakdowns on our part and some more things we can work on, but all-in-all, it was a great performance."

The Americans who got on the board first in the 30th minute when Foudy sent a perfect cross from the right side to Kristine Lilly at the far post. Lilly collected the ball, cut back inside defender Kerstin Stegemann and struck her right-footed shot into the lower left corner, beating goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg for her 59th international goal.

German midfielder Sandra Smisek had two golden chances in the first half, but U.S. defender Kate Sobrero ran her down from behind in the 17th minute to deny the breakaway and U.S. goalkeeper Briana Scurry dove to her left to save a hard shot in the 36th minute.

Then, after intermission, Hamm doubled the lead to 2-0 in the 49th minute, when German sweeper Steffi Jones stepped on the ball and fell to the turf 35 yards from the net.Hamm picked up the loose ball and easily converted her breakaway, rolling her shot into the right corner from 12 yards out. It was the eighth career hat trick and second of 1998 for Hamm, who now has 92 international goals.

Hamm added her second goal for a 3-0 advantage just two minutes later as Foudy took advantage of another German giveaway, as Stegemann was again victimized. Foudy stole her pass and raced toward goal where she fed Hamm in the right side of the penalty box. Hamm let the ball roll across her body, freezing a German defender, and tucked her shot low into the left corner from 10 yards out.

Germany narrowed its deficit to 3-1 in the 55th minute when Inka Grings headed Tanja Vreden's cross past Scurry from eight yards out.

Hamm completed her scoring in the 69th minute following a patient buildup. Striker Tiffeny Milbrett shrugged off a defender and dribbled up the right flank before sending a perfect cross into the middle of the penalty area.With a defender draped on her back, Hamm was able to get inside position and slid to meet Milbrett's cross, knocking the ball into the roof of the net from seven yards.

U.S. coach Tony DiCicco was ejected in the 73d minute for a tirade at referee Kari Seitz-Varnhagen after German Monika Meyer kicked Hamm in the back of the leg, sending her flying into the American bench.

Germany added a final goal in the 81st minute when Ariane Hingst knocked in a rebound of a shot that Scurry saved but couldn't hold. Just before the final whistle, Scurry redeemed herself, diving at the feet of Claudia Muller to snuff a breakaway.

"There isn't as much of gap between our play and that of the rest of the world," said DiCicco. "But when we play our best, we are still the best team in the world. We have a lot of work to do before we can win back the (1999) World Cup, but today's result against a first-class opponent was very satisfying."

The U.S., is unbeaten in its last 36 matches on American soil, next plays in the Goodwill Games in Hemstead, N.Y. The U.S. plays Denmark on and China takes on Norway July 25 with the winners playing for the gold medal two days later.

United States 4, Germany 2

Lineups: United States - Briana Scurry, Carla Overbeck, Kate Sobrero (Christie Pearce, 72), Lorrie Fair, Joy Fawcett, Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy (Shannon MacMillan, 65), Kristine Lilly, Debbie Keller (Cindy Parlow, 46), Tiffeny Milbrett, Mia Hamm (Tisha Venturini, 74). Germany - Silke Rottenberg, Kerstin Stegeman, Steffi Jones, Doris Fitschen, Sonja Fuss (Inken Becher, 46, Ariane Hingst, 72), Sandra Smisek (Renate Lingor, 63), Melanie Hoffmann, Martina Voss, Inka Grings (Claudia Müller, 77), Tanja Vreden, Monika Meyer (Nicole Brandebusemeyer, 79).

Scoring: United States - Lilly (Foudy) 30; United States Hamm (unassisted) 49; United States - Hamm (Foudy) 51; Germany - Grings (Vreden) 55; United States - Hamm (Milbrett) 69; Germany - Hingst (Vreden) 81. Shots: United States 20, Germany 11. Saves: United States 4, Germany 4. Corner kicks: United States 2, Germany 0. Fouls: United States 10, Germany 12. Offside: United States 1, Germany 1. Yellow card cautions: United States - Fawcett 38. Red card ejection: United States - Ton DiCicco (coach) 73.

Referee: Kari Seitz-Varnhagen (United States). Assistant referees: Ted Covaciu (United States), Marcel Yonan (United States). Attendance: 13,107 at Soldier Field in Chicago. Weather: Hot, humid, 83 degrees.