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U.S. soccer women move into Olympic quarterfinals

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Heather O’Reilly, a gold-medal winner in 2004, scored the fastest goal in Olympic women’s soccer history Tuesday, and the United States went on to rout New Zealand, 4-0, gaining a place in the tournament quarterfinals.

O’Reilly’s first-minute strike knocked the air out of the Kiwis, who later gave up goals to Amy Rodriguez just before the first half ended and to Lindsay Tarpley and Angela Hucles in the second half on a humid night in Shenyang, China.

The victory, combined with Norway’s stunning 5-1 upset by Japan, meant the United States finished atop its group, ahead of Norway.

The Norwegians had already reached the last eight before their loss, and were joined there by the Japanese. Also securing their places in the quarterfinals were host China, which shut out Argentina, 2-0; Sweden, which defeated Canada, 2-1, as both advanced; Brazil, which ousted Nigeria, 3-1, on a hat trick by Cristiane; and world champion Germany, which edged out North Korea, 1-0.

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The quarterfinal pairings were due to be announced later on Tuesday.

The U.S. game was about as lopsided as the score would suggest. New Zealand did not have the speed or the skill to cope with a U.S. team that has grown in strength since its opening loss to Norway.

O’Reilly set the tone from the outset, latching onto a pass down the center of the field, spotting New Zealand goalkeeper Jenny Bindon off her line and lofting a long-range shot that put the Americans ahead after only 40 seconds.

The U.S. outshot New Zealand, 16-5, including 11-3 in shots on target, and goalkeeper Hope Solo was seldom troubled while earning her second shutout in three matches.

-- Grahame L. Jones


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