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Women's World Cup

Parlow, Akers score, Scurry sensational in net, beating Brazil 2-0.

By Gary Davidson

STANFORD, Calif. (Sunday, July 4, 1999) -- Cindy Parlow scored on a header off goalkeeper Maravilha's bobble in the fifth minute and Michelle Akers added a late penalty kick, but it was goalkeeper Briana Scurry’s exceptional play that paved for the United States to defeat Brazil before 73,123 in a Women's World Cup semifinal at Stanford Stadium this afternoon.

The U.S. advanced to Saturday’s championship match at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. against China, which thumped Norway 5-0.

The U.S got the only goal it needed in the fifth minute after midfielder Julie Foudy drove a ball from the deep left corner. Maravilha jumped and got both hands on the ball, but it popped loose and Parlow headed it home from three yards.

Scurry made six saves to earn her 52nd career shutout. "Brazil is an excellent team. They have a lot of offensive power and I’m just glad that we were able to hold the fort," Scurry said. "It was a little but dangerous at times, but I think we held up well and I’m very proud of our defenders because they kept the majority of shots off me. So I had to do my job today and I’m glad I could do it."

She dove into a crowd to punch one ball away and tipped a 35-yard shot by Nene over the net in the first half. After intermission, she stopped two close-in shots -- barely getting a hand on Nene's attempt in the 56th minute making a sprawling two-handed stop to her right on Pretinha’s low blast in the 83rd.

"Having Briana back there is certainly a calming force," defender Carla Overbeck said. "She is extremely athletic, she’s extremely dependable. And just knowing that, we as defenders are going to make mistakes, but knowing that Bri’s behind us makes all the difference in the world. She’s the best keeper in the world."

Scurry’s heroic were important because the U.S. was hardly sharp offensively for much off the match. The Americans were outshot 13-10 and Brazil led in shots on goal 6-5.

"For sure, we knew we had to play a lot of defense," U.S. coach Tony DiCicco said. "We really worked on trying to eliminate space for Sissi and not create any fouls around the penalty area. And defensively, we did a lot of very good things when (Brazil) was good enough to get in on us. Briana Scurry was awesome and she was for sure the number one star for us today."

Late in the game, with Brazil pushing forward to tie, Overbeck's goal kick was headed downfield by Akers to Mia Hamm, who broke into the penalty area. She was nudged down by Brazil’s captain Elane and referee Katriina Elovirta signaled the penalty kick.

Akers buried it into the right corner to make it 2-0 in the 80th minute.

The Americans return to the World Cup final they won over China in 1991. In 1995, the U.S. was eliminated in the semifinals by eventual champion Norway.

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

United States 2, Brazil 0

United States 2
Brazil 0
United States - Parlow (2) (Foudy) 5;
United States - Akers (2) (penalty kick) 80.

Lineups: United States - Briana Scurry, Carla Overbeck, Joy Fawcett, Kate Sobrero, Brandi Chastain, Michelle Akers, Julie Foudy, Cindy Parlow (Shannon MacMillan 62), Mia Hamm (Lorrie Fair 85), Kristine Lilly, Tiffeny Milbrett (Danielle Fotopoulos 88); Brazil - Maravilha, Nene, Elane, Tania, Juliana, Suzana (Maicon 70), Cidniha, Formiga, Sissi, Katia Da Silva, Pretinha.

Shots: United States 10, Brazil 13. Shots on goal: United States 5, Brazil 6. Saves: United States 6, Brazil 3. Corner kicks: United States 8, Brazil 8. Fouls: United States 5, Brazil 6. Offside: United States 0, Brazil 2. Yellow card caution: United States - Akers 90; Brazil - Tania 13, Sissi 41, Katia Da Silva 90+.

Referee: Katriina Elovirta (Finland). Assistant referees: Hisae Yoshizawa (Japan), Ghislaine Peron-Labbe (France). Attendance: 73,123 at Stanford Stadium, in Palo Alto, Calif. Weather: Humid, 84 degrees.

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