WOMEN'S SOCCER : U.S. Team Plays Tonight Minus Akers

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The United States will be without Michelle Akers when it plays Denmark tonight in a crucial Women's World Championship soccer match at Gavle.

Akers, the top goal scorer in the last world championship in China four years ago and a key to the Americans' hopes of retaining their title, was still suffering from a severe headache Wednesday after a collision in Tuesday night's game against China.

She played only a few minutes in that game, a 3-3 tie, after a clash of heads with China's Yungie Fan that left her cut and bleeding and with a mild concussion. As a precautionary measure, she was taken to a local hospital, where a CAT scan proved negative.

Apart from the concussion, Akers also sustained mild ligament damage to her right knee when she landed awkwardly in the collision.

Coach Tony DiCicco said that Akers definitely will not play tonight, and it is doubtful she will be in the lineup Saturday, when the U.S. team plays Australia at Helsingborg.

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At Karlstad on Wednesday, Japan scored its first world championship victory by defeating Brazil, 2-1, with both Japanese goals scored by Akemi Noda after Delma Goncalves had given the South Americans the lead in the eighth minute.

At Helsingborg, Sweden staged a dramatic comeback in the closing minutes of its game with European champion Germany to score a 3-2 victory.

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