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U.S. Tops Germany, Moves Into Soccer Final

August 23, 2004

IRAKLION, Greece (AP) _ The only teenager on the U.S. women’s soccer team gave the old vets a chance to leave with one last gold. Heather O’Reilly, minutes after missing a wide open net, scored in the ninth minute of overtime Monday to give the United States a 2-1 victory over World Cup champion Germany and a place in Thursday’s gold-medal game.

Mia Hamm set up the goal with a short cross from the right, pushing back the pass toward a cluster of three players about 6 yards from the net. The 19-year-old O’Reilly, a freshman at North Carolina, somehow got her foot on the ball before defender Ariane Hingst did, pushing a shot to left of goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg.

The win gives the Fab Five _ long-standing U.S. stars Hamm, Julie Foudy, Joy Fawcett, Brandi Chastain and Kristine Lilly _ a chance to go out as champions in their final tournament together.

The U.S. team will face either Brazil or Sweden, who played later Monday in Patras, for the Olympic title Thursday in Athens. Germany will play in the bronze medal game on the same day.

The victory avenges a 3-0 loss to Germany in the World Cup semifinals 11 months ago in Portland, Ore. Germany went on to win the Cup and entered the Olympics ranked No. 1 in the world.

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