World champions Germany will look to stop the United States making it four Algarve Cup successes in a row when they meet in the final on Wednesday.
FIFA's top-two ranked teams, and the winners of Groups A and B respectively, go head to head at the Estádio Algarve in the showpiece match of the prestigious annual tournament. Germany clinched their place by beating Norway 1-0 while the USA were 4-1 winners against France. Despite their defeat, France at least have the chance to play for the bronze medal tomorrow as Group B runners-up. They will take on Group A counterparts Sweden.
Germany made it through in dramatic fashion, with Petra Wimbersky scoring the deciding goal in added time. "It was a very lucky win, we were way too unfocused," coach Silvia Neid said. "After the break, we managed to put more pressure on them and attacked better. Maybe this game helped us by shaking us up before the final. If we don't start well against the US, we will be 5-0 down after ten minutes."
Also in Group A, a Victoria Svensson hat-trick helped Sweden to a 4-1 victory against Finland, with Malin Moström also registering. Finland coach Michael Käld remained upbeat, saying: "We played a very good first half - only the goals were missing. We passed the ball well and put pressure on Sweden. In the second half we got a bit tired and that led to mistakes."
In the key Group B contest, the USA took the lead after 28 seconds through Kristine Lilly. Further goals from Aly Wagner and Linday Tarpley were followed by a second booking for France midfielder Sandrine Soubeyrand just after the hour. Hoda Lattaf pulled one back for the European team, only for the USA to extend their advantage through Natasha Kai. In the other pool match, Denmark confirmed their last-place finish with a 6-0 defeat by China, who narrowly missed out on second spot.
Finally, Mexico topped Group C following a 6-0 victory over Portugal, leaving the Algarve Cup hosts bottom of that three-team minor section with no points. The Republic of Ireland, who did not play yesterday, finished level with Mexico on four points.
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