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Women's World Cup

MacMillanís first touch sets up Fawcett winner in beating Germany 3-2.

By Gary Davidson
SoccerTimes

LANDOVER, Md. (Thursday, July 1, 1999) -- Tiffeny Milbrett already had one goal on the night, but it was the corner kick she deferred that provided the United States its margin of victory.

Fresh off the bench, Shannon MacMillan sent that right-side corner to the near post where defender Joy Fawcett flicked home a header into the top right corner in the 66th minute, powering the United States to a 3-2 victory over Germany in a Women's World Cup quarterfinal before 54,462 at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium.

The U.S. advanced to play Brazil, a 4-3 overtime victory over Nigeria, in Sunday's semifinal at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif.

"I ran on and Tiff was over taking my corner. She said 'It's all yours,' " said MacMillan, who, in a rare start, had a goal and two assists in Sunday's opening-round 3-0 victory over North Korea. "I'd been watching all game, so I saw that Joy was open on that near post. She had one that had bounced off her head. I just wanted to make it easy for her to finish it. It's an awesome play and I've just seen her put away so many like that. The thing is it gets in there before (the defense) really has a chance to react. I've played balls off her like that many times before and she was ready for it."

MacMillan had to sprint nearly 100 yards from the bench across the field to take the kick. "She had the energy, she was so happy to get in," said Fawcett, who scored from inside the six-yard box. "I know when Shannon takes that corner kick, she's the only one who can fire that ball near post. "On previous corners, the keeper had blocked over my head, so my goal was to make sure I went to the ball and get to it first."

It was the second straight U.S. tally generated by a corner kick. The Americans used their first to erase their second one-goal deficit to tie the score at 2 in the 49th minute.

Striker Mia Hamm curled a left-side corner kick near the end line past the far. Defender Steffi Jones caught the ball with her right foot on a short hop, accidentally sending it back into the middle to defender Brandi Chastain, who buried an eight-yard shot into the right corner.

The U.S. had found itself trailing 2-1 at intermission after conceding a goal in injury time. Standing near the right sideline, midfielder Sandra Smisek touched a pass to Bettina Weigmann who spun to her left. With American Cindy Parlow stepping back, Weigmann launched a shot from outside the box that beat goalkeeper Briana Scurry into the left corner.

The U.S got off to the same shaky defensive start that has plagued it throughout this tournament. Defender Brandi Chastain tracked back to cut off a through pass from German midfielder Maren Meinert. As Scurry came out to give Chastain a target for a backpass, the defender misread Scurry's intentions and instead put a ball behind her and into her own net for a 1-0 Germany lead in the fifth minute.

"Any time you play world class opponents, many times when you make a mistake, they're going to capitalize," Fawcett said. "I don't necessarily think it us starting slowly, I just think we made mistakes. I don't we were nervous. We were very confident."

Scurry said the own goal was a fluke that angered and actually psyched up the U.S. "It pumped us up, but I'd kind of like not to do it," Scurry said of another early defensive lapse. "I'd kind of like to knock it off.

"It's amazing. I wasn't really upset about it because I knew we were still in the game and we were going to get it back. There was nothing I could do to stop it. It's a thing that never happens. And it happened. We've had one own goal in my five years on the team . . . There's not a lot we can do. We know it happens and we tell ourselves and focused on not (making early mistakes). We're like, 'Let's just kick it out. We have no reason to play with it back there. Let's get rid of it.' Next game we'll hopefully come out focused and not make that type of mistake."

With Weigmann being treated off the field for an injury, the Americans capitalized on the one-player advantage to tie the match at 1 in the 16th minute. Midfielder Michelle Akers' shot glanced off the underside of Meinert's arm. With the German defense advancing to pull the Americans offside, the ball squirted directly to the penalty spot and feet of striker Milbrett, who quickly drivo her equalizer inside the left post.

"I don't think it's nerves, but we set ourselves back again early in the game by giving them an own goal," Millbrett said. "I think my goal helped get us back on track. It was a surprise to have the ball land where it landed and I was just there to put it in. I just had to turn and shoot it."

Coach Tony DiCicco inserted young defenders Lorrie Fair and Tiffany Roberts in the game late to try to stem the German onslaught. The Americans refused to sit on their 3-2 lead, countering downfield several times in a wild finish. The German's still produced three nice passing combinations, but in each instance, a potentially dangerous shot went right to Scurry.

"Germany controlled the ball pretty well," Fawcett said. "We had some tough times back there. Iím surprised they didnít shoot more."

In attendance was the entire First Family and Health and Human Services secretary Donna Shalala. President Clinton congratulated the team in the lockerroom.

"He told us we played an excellent game and he was very proud of us," Scurry said. "We showed a lot of pride and a big heart. And he's very supportive of us."

Gary Davidson is managing editor of SoccerTimesand can be e-mailed at info@soccertimes.com.


United States 3, Germany 2
Quarterfinals

Score:
United States 3
Germany 2
Scoring:
Germany - own goal (Chastain) 5;
United States - Milbrett (3) (Akers) 16;
Germany - Bettina Wiegmann (3) (Sandra Smisek) 46+;
United States - Chastain (1) (unassisted) 49;
United States - Fawcett (1) (MacMillan) 66.

Lineups: United States - Briana Scurry, Carla Overbeck, Joy Fawcett, Kate Sobrero, Brandi Chastain (Lorrie Fair 73), Michelle Akers, Julie Foudy (Shannon MacMillan 65), Kristine Lilly, Cindy Parlow (Tifanny Roberts 85), Tiffeny Milbrett, Mia Hamm; Germany - Silke Rottenberg, Ariane Hingst, Steffi Jones, Doris Fitschen, Sandra Minnert, Sandra Smisek Renate Lingor 84), Bettina Wiegmann, Maren Meinert, Pia Wunderlich (Monica Meyer 53), Birgit Prinz, Inka Grings (Melani Hoffman 92+).

Shots: United States 14, Germany 8. Shots on goal: United States 3, Germany 7. Saves: United States 6, Germany 0. Corner kicks: United States 10, Germany 3. Fouls: United States 4, Germany 17. Offside: United States 1, Germany 0. Yellow card caution: United States - none, Germany - Doris Fitschen 53.

Referee: Martha Toro Pardo (Colombia). Assistant referees: Ana Isabel Perez Assante (Peru), Corrie Kruithof (Netherlands). Attendance: 54,642 at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, in Landover, Md. Weather: Humid, 84 degrees.

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