PORTLAND, Ore. - Bai Jie scored in the 16th minute as China
beat Russia 1-0 Sunday night to claim first place in Group D
Women's World Cup play.
China had already clinched a spot in the quarterfinals thanks to
Ghana's 2-1 win over Australia in the earlier match. China now
plays Canada on Thursday at PGE Park, while Russia, the runner-up
in group D, will play Germany.
China jumped out early when Bai got past Russia goalkeeper Alla
Volkova, who ran helplessly behind.
Despite increased pressure in the second half, Russia had no
luck against China goalkeeper Han Wenxia. Vera Stroukova came
closest with a free kick that narrowly missed the goal.
Volkova made a critical save in the 77th minute when Bai charged
at her alone and she unflinchingly blocked the shot.
Sun Wen missed an earlier opportunity for China when her
first-half header caromed off the goalpost.
Sun led the tournament with seven goals in 1999, when the
Americans beat the Chinese 5-4 on penalty kicks for the title at
the Rose Bowl.
She has one goal in the competition, 106 in her career and 11 in
World Cup play, one shy of Michelle Akers' Cup record. The
30-year-old has said she will retire after the World Cup.
Russia (2-1) had clinched a spot in the quarterfinals with 3-0
win over Ghana on Thursday.
China, which was supposed to host the World Cup before it was
moved because of the SARS outbreak, beat Ghana but played to a 1-1
tie against Australia before downing Russia to claim the top
ranking in Group D.
The game was played before an announced crowd of 19,132 at PGE
Park, home of the Triple-A Portland Beavers baseball team, and the
soccer's A-League Portland Timbers.