U.S. women reach sixth consecutive Algarve final

March 10, 2008

ALVOR, Portugal -- The United States scored four second-half goals, beating Norway 4-0 Monday in the Algarve Cup and setting up a showdown with Denmark in a rematch of last year's final.

A mistake by Norwegian goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth allowed Natasha Kai to break the deadlock in the 55th. Hjelmseth placed the ball on the ground after an American attack and Kai kicked it into the goal.

Two minutes later, Abby Wambach scored on a cross by Carli Lloyd. Heather O'Reilly got her third goal of the tournament in the 65th with a header.

"They had the better of it in the first half," O'Reilly said. "Kai's energy and her goal inspired us in the second."

Substitute Amy Rodriguez got the fourth goal with a weak shot in the 90th that Hjelmseth fumbled. The United States have scored 10 goals so far in the tournament.

"You have to believe in what you're doing, you have to relax," U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said. "This game has taught me a lot. You must continue with what you set out to do."

The U.S. finished 3-0 in Group B. Denmark defeated Finland 1-0 win Monday in Group A.

Last year, the U.S. defeated Denmark 2-0 to win the Algarve Cup for the fifth time.

World champion Germany defeated Sweden 2-0, and will face Norway in the third-place playoff.

In the other Group B game, Italy beat China 2-0.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press