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Second-half tallies by MacMillan, Wilson are good for 2-0 victory over England.

MacMillan's first-half goal enough for 1-1 draw with Sweden to open Algarve Cup.

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Late Gulbrandsen goal gives Norway 3-2 victory, berth in Algarve Cup title game, leaving Americans to play for fifth.

LAGOS, Portugal (Tuesday, March 5, 2002) -- With the winner guaranteed a spot in the Algarve Cup championship match, midfielder Solveig Gulbrandsen scored in the 85th minute to give Norway a 3-2 triumph over the United States, relegating the Americans to Thursday’s fifth-place game.

Sweden (1-0-2) registered a 6-3 decision over England (0-3) to take second place in Group B behind Norway (2-0-1) which will face China to decide the Algarve title. Sweden takes on Germany in the third-place match with the U.S. (1-1-1) meeting Denmark to decide fifth place.

The Americans also played in the fifth place match at last year's Algarve Cup, losing to Norway 4-3. Norway, now 18-13-2 against the Americans, has defeated the U.S. in four consecutive meetings, starting with the 2000 Summer Olympics gold-medal match in Sydney, Australia.

The Algarve Cup has been the source of much frustration for the U.S. women with just one title to show for seven trips overseas.

"Our team is very disappointed right now, but the perspective I have is that this is an extremely young U.S. team," said U.S. coach April Heinrichs. "We have had a dramatic change from the 1999 to the 2000 roster and this group of players represents an even more radical change from the 2000 roster. But we feel that this is the core of the 2003 World Cup team and the good news is that we have a year and half to develop this group.

"We are competing and battling and are without Cindy Parlow and without Mia Hamm and those are two critical players for us in an area that we are struggling. We missed them both in this tournament. Give us a year and a half and I think the United States will be back in the tradition role of being in finals and finding ways to win the major tournaments."

With the score tied at 2-2 and the U.S. pressing for the winning goal over the last 30 minutes, Norway countered, starting its winning sequence when midfielder Linda Ormen's cross from the right flank spun off a U.S. defender's shin. The ball bounced to Gulbrandsen who redirected the ball into the lower left corner from seven yards out. U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo had replaced LaKeysia Beene just a minute earlier to add her booming kicking game to the American push for a winner, but the first time she touched the ball was when she picked it out of her net.

Just as disappointed as the U.S. was Sweden which would have advanced to its second consecutive Algarve Cup championship game had the Americans and Norwegians played to a draw.

Wasted for the U.S. was a two-goal performance by striker Shannon MacMillan who raised her career total to 43. She found net in he fourth straight match and has scored four of the five American goals in three preliminary group matches.

The U.S. trailed 2-1 at intermission and created little at the beginning of the second half before MacMillan scored on her side’s first shot to make it 2-2 in the 59th minute. Midfielder Kristine Lilly beat Norway’s back line with perfect pass into the right side of the penalty area where MacMillan held off a defender. Despite seeming to lose her angle by carrying deep, MacMillan lifted her shot past keeper Bente Nordby into the near corner.

The Americans got off to a quick start when midfielder Aly Wagner got a small piece of a cross from forward Danielle Fotopoulos' cross, but spun her shot wide from 10 yards out. Soon after, striker iffeny Milbrett had her soft header saved by a diving Nordby.

"I like the way we started the game," Heinrichs said. "We went after Norway and put them under tremendous pressure. Our corner kicks were outstanding and created a lot of chances."

In the 14th minute, MacMillan gained possession 35 yards out, cut to her past Norwegian midfielder Hege Riise before striking a 30-yarder that dipped under Nordby and into the right corner for a 1-0 lead.

MacMillan nearly scored again a minute later, running onto a deflection behind the Norway defense that put her on a breakaway against Nordby. MacMillan tried to dribble to the right around the keeper, but Nordby got a piece of the ball. MacMillan recovered and shot, but defender Brit Sandaune blocked the shot at the goal line.

Two goals in a six-minute span gave Norway a 2-1 lead. In the 23rd minute, the midfielder Monica Knudsen burst through the middle of the U.S. defense. Beene rushed out and threw her body on the ball, but referee Craig Thomson ruled the keeper knocked Knudsen off the ball, awarding a penalty kick.

Riise nailed the penalty into the right corner to tie matters at 1-1.

"We scored a great goal, then two minutes later we get another great chance and it gets cleared off the goal line," Heinrichs said. "It comes down to not finishing chances early on, and then we give up a penalty kick. Norway is down a goal and under tremendous pressure and suddenly they are back in it. It just shows you how quickly the game can change."

In the 29th minute, U.S. defender Cat Reddick ran down a Norway long ball and played a short back pass to Beene in the left side of the penalty area. Beene miskicked the ball, topping it right to striker Dagney Mellgren who took a touch past the keeper deep into the left side of the penalty area. From nearly the end line, she had the time to collect the ball and roll it into an empty net past sliding defender Joy Fawcett.

In Group A, China earned a trip to the championship game with a 1-0 win over Denmark while Germany edged Finland 2-0. In Group C, Scotland defeated Wales 1-0 and Canada beat up on Portugal. 7-1. Canada will play Finland for 7th place, Scotland will battle England for 9th place and Wales will face Portugal for 11th.

Norway 3, United States 2

Lineups: United States - LaKeysia Beene (Hope Solo 84), Danielle Slaton, Joy Fawcett, Cat Reddick, Julie Foudy (captain), Aly Wagner (Lorrie Fair 78), Kristine Lilly, Jena Kluegel (Kylie Bivens 46), Tiffeny Milbrett, Danielle Fotopoulos (Kelly Wilson 46, Heather O'Reilly 68), Shannon MacMillan. Norway Bente Nordby, Brit Sandaune, Anne Tonnessen, Ane Stangeland, Bente Kvitland, Hege Riise (captain), Solveig Gulbrandsen, Monica Knudsen (Unni Lehn 46), Trine Ronning (Linda Ormen 68), Anita Rapp (Lise Klaveness 85), Dagny Mellgren.

United States - MacMillan (unassisted) 14.
Norway - Riise (penalty kick) 23.
Norway - Mellgren (unassisted) 29.
United States - MacMillan (Kristine Lilly) 59.
Norway - Gulbrandsen (Ormen) 85.

Shots: United States 14, Norway 13. Shots on goal: United States 9, Norway 7. Saves: United States 4, Norway 6. Corner kicks: United States 10, Norway 4. United States 7, Norway 16. Offside: United States 3, Norway 0. Yellow card caution: United States - Fotopoulos 31.

Referee: Craig Thomson (Scotland). Assistant referees: Guy Beale (England), Allan Thurston (Scotland). Attendance: 300 at Municipal Stadium in Lagos, Portugal. Weather: Cloudy, cool, 64 degrees.

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