October 7 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 22  

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SPORTS

Canadians' fairy tale ends

PORTLAND, Ore. (CP) — With an upset victory within their grasp Canada was caught napping Sunday and gave up the tying goal, then watched in shock as Sweden roared back for a 2-1 victory in the semifinal of the FIFA women’s World Cup.

Canada had taken a 1-0 lead when striker Kara Lang scored off a free kick in the 65th minute.

With the clock winding down, and Canada’s improbable World Cup journey looking like it may end in the final, Sweden was awarded a free kick just outside the 18-yard box.

The Canadians looked confused and slow in their reaction to the call. Swedish striker Victoria Svensson, named player of the game, quickly put the ball down and sent a pass to Malin Moestroem who scored in the 76th minute.

With just four minutes left in regulation time, Svensson again played Canuck killer, sending a ball to Josefine Oqvist who scored to break Canada’s heart and send Sweden into Sunday’s final against Germany.

Canada will face the U.S. in Saturday’s third-place game.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” said Lang, of Oakville, Ont., who at 16 is the youngest member of the Canadian team.”We were caught on our heels and one step behind. We’re all in a little bit of shock. Right now all I can think is this wasn’t supposed to happen.”

Coach Even Pellerud said he was proud his team, but was left shaking his head that a victory was so quickly snatched out of its hand.

“It’s very frustrating,” said Pellerud. “We were 15 minutes away. We had pretty good control at that time. I was feeling more and more comfortable but never safe.”

Swedish coach Marika Domanski Lyfors said her team never gave up.
“We were pushing and pushing and trying to get a goal after their goal,” she said.”We were a little bit nervous when we got down, then we had a plan. We scored once, we scored twice then we had to calm down a little bit and keep the result.”

It looked like Lang had booted Canada into the final with her goal.

Sweden’s Jane Toernqvist was given a yellow card for bulling over Canada’s Christine Latham. Lang calmly launched a rocket from 30 yards out that went off the hands of diving goalie Caroline Joensson, hit the post and went into the net.

Lang said she didn’t think at the time one goal would be enough to beat Sweden.

“When I scored I looked at the clock and knew we still had a lot of time and a lot of soccer to play,” she said. “We all knew it wasn’t going to be over until 90 minutes.”

Earlier, a sellout crowd of 27,623 at PGE Park saw Germany get goals from Kerstin Garefrekes, Maren Meinert and Birgit Prinz to defeat the defending champion U.S. 3-0.

U.S. coach April Heinrichs was asked how difficult it will be to rally her team for a game with no championship on the line.

“When you gear up as we geared up for the last 12 months it is difficult to get it together again to play quickly,” said Heinrichs, who was on the verge of tears.

“We’ll take a few days off. Their pride will get together again and they will play a phenomenal match.”

 

 

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