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Aug. 23, 2008 A SILVER LINING
Crew's Ekpo takes 2nd with Nigeria
While he stood on the medal winner's platform at the Bird's Nest Saturday afternoon, Nigerian Emmanuel Ekpo admitted he had mixed emotions. The Columbus Crew midfielder was about to receive a silver medal as the Nigerians took second place in the Olympic men's soccer tournament.
Aug. 23, 2008 THEY DON'T GO HAND IN HAND
Olympic and World Cup success
After Argentina defeated Nigeria for its second consecutive Olympic gold medal, there was talk that the country's success at the Under-20 and U-23 levels could give it a boost in the World Cup. In recent years, however, Olympic success has not meant triumph at the international level or in the World Cup:
Aug. 23, 2008 SETTING A NEW GOLD STANDARD
Messi leads Argentina to 2nd straight Olympic men's final win, 1-0 over Nigeria
With Lionel Messi, you just can't win. If he doesn't beat you one way, he'll find another route. Stop the 21-year-old manchild from scoring and he'll slip a pass to a teammate to score the game-winner. Case in point: Saturday's men's Olympic semifinal. Once again Messi demonstrated why he is considered one of the best soccer players in the world -- perhaps the very best by some. Messi left the Bird's Nest without a goal, but he certainly settled for some Olympic gold, setting up Angel DiMaria's score as Argentina overcame Nigeria with a 1-0 win and 108-degree field temperatures.
Aug. 23, 2008 GOLDEN BRACE
Argentina stops Nigeria, 1-0, to win consecutive men's soccer gold medal
Argentina went into the record books as one of the great Olympic men's soccer teams, becoming only the fourth team to win back-to-back gold medals and the first team to accomplish that feat in 40 years Saturday afternoon. Midfielder Angel DiMaria connected for the lone goal of the match in the 58th minute to lift the Argentines to a 1-0 victory over Nigeria before a fullhouse of 89,103 spectators at the Bird's Nest.
Aug. 22, 2008 BRONZE BOMBERS
Brazil 3, Belgium 0
SHANGHAI, China—Brazil lacked some of their usual joie de vivre, but they got the job done on Friday, whitewashing Belgium 3-0 to take the Bronze Medal in the Beijing Olympic soccer tournament.
Aug. 21, 2008 NO SILVER LINING
Marta, Brazil fall short again
You think the United States had problems when it was embarrassed by Brazil in the Women's World Cup semifinals last year? Well, you should take a look at the Brazilians' headaches. They have been in three major tournament finals in the last four years and has scored but one goal and lost all three of them.
Aug. 21, 2008 SHE'LL BE BACK
Sundhage to return as women's coach
There will be no drama as to whether Pia Sundhage will be back as coach of the U.S. Women's National Team. Both sides said so after the Americans secured their third gold medal in four tries in their 1-0 victory over Brazil Thursday night.
Aug. 21, 2008 SOLID GOLD
Hope Solo shines as U.S. women best Brazil for Olympic women's soccer gold medal
Almost 11 months ago, U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo left China in disgrace, ostracized by her teammates for controversial remarks she made after her benching in Women's World Cup semifinals. Solo completed a remarkable personal comeback Thursday night, playing a vital role for the Americans as they captured their third Olympic women's soccer gold medal.
Aug. 21, 2008 THE GOLD STANDARD
U.S. women earn Olympic crown for 3rd time on Lloyd's extra-time goal vs. Brazil, 1-0
Many of their critics said it couldn't be done, but the U.S. Women's National Team managed to mine some Olympic gold once again. For the second consecutive Olympics, the U.S. was outplayed by Brazil but managed to secure the gold medal with an extratime goal. Midfielder Carli Lloyd, who struggled with her passes at midfield for most of the match, connected for the dramatic goal some seven minutes into extratime to lift the Americans to a 1-0 triumph at Workers Stadium Thursday night.
Aug. 20, 2008 A SECOND CHANCE
Boxx ready for Brazil in gold-medal match
U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo isn't the only one who has a second chance against Brazil in the women's Olympic gold-medal match Thursday night. Defensive midfielder Shannon Boxx has an opportunity to take care of some unfinished business against Brazil at Workers Stadium (USA Network, NBC Olympic Soccer Channel, 9 a.m. ET), but she isn't making a big deal out of it.
Aug. 20, 2008 SOME HOPE FOR A GOLD
Solo gets a chance at redemption vs. Brazil
U.S. international goalkeeper Hope Solo gets an opportunity Thursday night that not many of us will get -- a chance at redemption. Ten months after being in the middle of a major controversy, Solo finally takes on Brazil in a meaningful game -- the women's soccer gold-medal match of the Olympics in Beijing.
Aug. 20, 2008 SOME GOLDEN OLDIES
When the U.S. beat Brazil in 2004
For one last glorious time, they stood together shoulder-to-shoulder in triumph. The Fab Five -- Julie Foudy, Joy Fawcett, Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Brandi Chastain – laughed, cried and joked around on the winner’s podium at Karaiskaki Stadium. They celebrated their fourth and final major international championship together -- the Olympic women's soccer gold medal after surviving a dramatic, 2-1 extra-time win over Brazil on Thursday night.
Aug. 20, 2008 WORLD CUP MELTDOWN
When the U.S. lost to Brazil last year
If you needed a worse nightmare scenario for the U.S. Women's National Team in the Women's World Cup, you couldn't find a more devastating one than in their stunning and embarrassing 4-0 semifinals loss to Brazil Thursday night.
Aug. 20, 2008 HOW SWEDE IT WAS
Remembering a talk with Sundhage
Yours truly has spoken to Pia Sundhage only twice, although I figure I'll get a third opportunity Tuesday afternoon. That's when the former Swedish international star forward will be introduced as the first foreigner to coach the U.S. Women's National Team.
Aug. 19, 2008 ALMOST AS GOOD AS GOLD
Argentina's beautiful game bests Brazil, 3-0
Not only did Argentina bury Brazil's gold-medal quest Tuesday night, the South American side also stole the beautiful game from its archrivals. Who would have ever thought that the Argentines would play pretty soccer and the Brazilians would wind up the ugly side? That's what happened as the Argentina recorded a 3-0 triumph to reach the gold-medal match for the second consecutive time.
Aug. 19, 2008 NO CONTEST
Argentina bests Brazil, heads for final
Argentina is only one win away from making some more Olympic soccer history. The Argentines took apart archrival Brazil in the men's semifinals, 3-0, to reach the gold-medal match for the second consecutive time.
Aug. 18, 2008 THEY'RE READY
U.S. women savor confrontation vs. Brazil
The U.S. women can't wait to play Brazil for the gold medal in the women's Olympic soccer tournament. The Americans will take on Brazil after recording a 4-2 win over Japan Monday night. The Brazilians bested defending Women's World Cup champion Germany, in Shanghai Monday, 4-1.
Aug. 18, 2008 A HUCLES-EAN EFFORT
Her brace lifts U.S. over Japan and into gold-medal match vs. Brazil
After trading Angela Hucles from the Boston Breakers five years ago, U.S. women's national coach Pia Sundhage admitted she didn't have the heart to cut the forward from the National Team. It turned out to be the best move Sundhage never made. Today, Hucles finds herself as one of the key U.S. players as the Americans head for their fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal match. They have Hucles to thanks for that as she connected twice in a 4-2 victory over Japan Monday night and set up a confrontation with Brazil Thursday.
August 18, 2008 BRAZILIAN BLITZ
Cristiane, Marta fuel 4-1 rout of Germany
SHANGHAI---Cristiane scored two goals and Marta had a goal and set up three others as Brazil shattered defending World Cup Champion Germany 4-1 in the Olympic semifinals. The Samba Queens will face the United States in Thursday's gold-medal match.
Aug. 17, 2008 THE FIRST MEETING
Lloyd lifts U.S. to 1st Olympic win, 1-0
The U.S. women rebounded from Wednesday night's disastrous loss to Norway with a solid effort and a 1-0 victory over Japan in its second match of the Olympic soccer tournament Saturday night. Carli Lloyd, a bust at last year's Women's World Cup in this same country, gave the U.S. all the scoring it needed with her first big-time goal in the 27th minute.
Aug. 17, 2008 ABOUT THAT GOAL CELEBRATION
Kai explains it, well kind of
For those of you who are still trying to figure out Natasha Kai's goal celebration -- the one after her score lifted the United States to a 2-1 quarterfinal victory over Canada -- here's Kai's and her teammates' take.
Aug. 17, 2008 THE FINAL STEP
U.S. women meet Japan again in semis
Well, here we go again, the USA vs. Japan in the Olympic women's soccer tournament, this time for a spot in gold-medal match. On paper, Monday's encounter at Workers Stadium should be pointing toward an American victory, the United States has dominated the series between the two countries with a rather impressive 18-0-3 record. But numbers sometimes can be worth their weight in paper at such high-level tournaments.
Aug. 16, 2008 OLYMPIC ROUNDUP
BEIJING---Belgium played 80 minutes with a man down, but still managed to wrest a 3-2 victory over Italy in the Semifinal Olympic soccer game Saturday.
Aug. 16, 2008 A MESSI WIN
Star striker lifts Argentina men into semis
In his short, yet productive professional career with Barcelona, forward Lionel Messi has made his reputation as the scorer of beautiful goals. But Saturday night, Messi's most important and dramatic contribution was a pretty pass for the Argentine Olympic team. The 21-year-old phenom set up Angel DiMaria set up the winning goal as Argentina survived a nail-biter of a quarterfinal, a 2-1 extra-time win over the Netherlands in the men's soccer tournament.
Aug. 15, 2008 101ST AIRBORNE
Kai's OT header boosts U.S. women to 2-1 win and into the medal round
The American women overcame the weather, a tough Canadian side and sometimes their errant shooting while surviving a 100-minute lightning delay to reach the semifinals of the Olympic soccer tournament at Shanghai Stadium Friday night. Forward Natasha Kai, who came on at the start of extratime, headed home in the 101st minute to lift the U.S. to a 2-1 victory and into the medal round against Japan in Beijing Monday night.
Aug. 14, 2008 A DERBY AWAY FROM HOME
U.S. vs. Canada women in Olympic quarters
The United States and Canada have traveled some 6,000 miles to play what is turning into one of the hotly contested rivalries in women's soccer in the Olympic quarterfinals Friday (6 a.m. ET). At stake is a place in the semifinals and medal round. The loser goes home.
Aug. 13, 2008 NEVER AGAIN
Adu: 'worst feeling I've had'
U.S. Olympic midfielder Freddy Adu made a vow never to let what transpired at this year's Summer Games happen to him again. That was getting suspended for a key match after accruing two yellow cards. Adu watched the game from the stands. “This is the worst feeling I’ve had as a professional athlete after a loss in a tournament because I couldn’t be out there with the guys," he said.
Aug. 13, 2008 A FAMILIAR REFRAIN
U.S. men a goal shy of reaching quarters
So the U.S. Olympic men's team missed out on reaching the quarterfinals, dropping a 2-1 decision to Nigeria Wednesday. And the sun also rises. The Americans have accomplished that in five of the past six Summer Games in which they have competed.
Aug. 13, 2008 OLYMPIC ROUNDUP
Men’s day three
SHENYANG, China—Gerald Sibon’s 73rd-minute penalty kick was all the Netherlands needed to defeat Japan 1-0 and advance to the Olympic quarterfinals out of Group B Wednesday at Shenyang Olympic Stadium.
Aug. 13, 2008 SEEING RED
U.S. men eliminated from Olympics after early red card puts team in hole
Let's face it. There is only so much adversity that a team can overcome. Playing without your two best midfielders was one helluva challenge against a Nigerian team that likes to attack. Losing a defender to a red card four minutes into the match proved to be too much for the U.S. to bear Wednesday night. Playing virtually the entire match with one foot tied behind their backs after defender Michael Orozco was ejected, the Americans were faced with an uphill battle the entire way en route to a bitterly disappointing 2-1 defeat that quashed all hopes of advancing to the quarterfinals.
Aug. 12, 2008 CLOSE CALLS
How U.S. men missed reaching next round
The U.S. men are talking about securing a victory and not a tie against the Nigerians. If you look at the recent history of the American men in the Olympics, they seem to just fall short. When they needed a win to advance out of the group, they wound up with a tie. When they needed a draw, they lost.
Aug. 12,2008 A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY
U.S. women rout New Zealand, get easier path to the gold-medal match
The U.S. women forged a clear path through to the Olympic gold-medal match Tuesday night. The stars certainly were aligned in the right order for the Americans as they got results they desperately needed to avoid always dangerous Brazil in the Olympic quarterfinals. Instead, they will play long-time CONCACAF archrival Canada after scoring a resounding 4-0 Group G victory over New Zealand. Coupled with Japan's surprising 5-1 triumph over Norway in a game played at the same time, the U.S. can breath easier after winning the group on goal differential over the European side (plus three to minus one).
Aug. 12, 2008 OLYMPIC ROUNDUP
Women’s Day 3
BEIJING, China—Cristiane became the first player in these Olympics to register a hat trick, as her three goals lifted Brazil to a 3-1 win over Nigeria at in front of 51,112 at Workers Stadium Tuesday.
Aug. 10, 2008 OLYMPIC ROUNDUP
Men’s Day 2
SHENYANG, China---Two goals by World Player of the Year Ronaldinho helped Brazil advance to the Olympic quarterfinals with a 5-0 win over New Zealand at Shenyang Olympic Stadium.
Aug. 10, 2008 A FAST FORWARD
No "homers" for this A-Rod this time
There are many ways to measure a forward's performance. Did she play with effort? Did she do her job? Did she create chances for herself or her teammates? And did she create or score any goals? By that reckoning, U.S. forward Amy Rodriguez got three out of four right in her first start for the U.S. women in their 1-0 victory over Japan Saturday night.
Aug. 10, 2008 GROUP LEADERS, BUT NO RESPECT
Dutch coach: U.S. not in Nigeria's class
The U.S. Olympic soccer team is the only team in Group B that has a victory and finds itself in first place. Yet, the Americans still don't get respect. For example, take what Dutch coach Foppe de Haan said about them after the Netherlands played Nigeria to a scoreless draw here Thursday. "I think the USA and Japan don't have the level of Nigeria," he said.
Aug. 9, 2008 A POLE'S POSITION
Nowak understands Olympic history, legacy
While he was growing up in Poland in the 1970's, Peter Nowak had the opportunity to watch one of the best National Teams in the world at that time. Poland was one of the more feared and respected sides in that decade. In fact, during an astounding four-year span, the Poles earned gold and silver medals in consecutive Olympics and finished third in the World Cup, feat that will be difficult to duplicate in modern times.
Aug. 9, 2008 FEELING THE HEAT
Altidore: Heat, pollution bad combination
Holding a major athletic competition in cities that rank high in the world's air pollution list is a risky proposition, to say the least. After all, how can you tell athletes to take in as much air as possible when it carries heaven knows what?
Aug. 9, 2008 SEIZING THE MOMENT
Lloyd makes the most out of 2nd chance
It's not very often you get a second chance in life in the same country where you crashed and burned in a major soccer tournament less than a year earlier. But Carli Lloyd had the opportunity handed to her on a silver platter Saturday night.
August 9, 2008 OLYMPIC ROUNDUP
Women’s Day 2
TIANJIN, China---Christine Sinclair gave Canada a 1-0 lead, but China came back on a goal by Xu Yuan as the hosts earned a 1-1 draw in the group E match Saturday. A crowd of over 56,000 cheered on the Chinese.
Aug. 9, 2008 BOUNCING BACK
Lloyd lifts U.S. to 1st Olympic win, 1-0
Warning: If you expect U.S. Women's National Team to be anything like the ones that won two world championships and two Olympic gold medals, you will be greatly disappointed. There are no stars on this team, no Mia's, no Brandi's or even any Abby Wambachs. The Americans are a blue-collar team that will grind out wins, which is exactly what the Americans did in their 1-0 Group G victory over Japan Saturday night.
Aug. 9, 2008 THEY LOVE A PARADE
Altidore, Bradley in opening ceremonies
After a week in this satellite Olympics city, the U.S. men got a taste of what the Summer Games were really about when they participated in the parade of countries and athletes at the opening ceremonies in Beijing Friday.
Aug. 7, 2008 THE GREAT MOVE
Edu's switch to defense a key move
A good reason why the U.S. is in the Olympics, let alone atop Group B men's standings is one Maurice Edu. A midfielder with Toronto FC in MLS, U.S. Olympic coach Peter Nowak decided to switch Edu to central defense during the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament in Tampa in March. And since then he has demonstrated the poise, knowledge and skill to become an impact player on the American' backline.
Aug. 6, 2008 FROM A BOY TO A MAN
Adu key to U.S. success in Olympics
Freddy Adu is growing up. He still has that boyish smile, but he has started to do things that grown men in the sport have accomplished -- changed the course of games. Now a "grizzled veteran" of 19 after making his pro debut at 14, Adu has improved his overall game and has developed a lethal free kick.
Aug. 6, 2008 DISASTER
Early goals sink embarrassed U.S. women in Olympic opener in 2-0 loss to Norway
The U.S. Women's National Team could not have picked a worse time to play their worst game ever in the Olympic soccer tournament Wednesday night. The Americans hardly looked like defending Olympic champions in a stunning 2-0 loss to Norway in its first game of the Beijing Games. The embarrassed Americans looked more like novices taking their first steps in the Summer Games.
Aug. 5, 2008 ON THE TUBE
U.S.-Norway on MSNBC Wednesday
The U.S. Women’s National Team will kick off their Group G Olympic opener against Norway at the Qinhuangdao Olympic Sports Center Stadium at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday (MSNBC and Universal HD, 7:45 a.m. ET).
Aug. 5, 2008 A HUGE TASK
U.S. women must overcome no Wambach
No matter what the U.S. women soccer team accomplishes at the Summer Games, its success or failure will be defined by someone who won't play a minute in Beijing. Striker Abby Wambach, who scored the game-winner in the gold-medal match in Athens four years, will watch the games from her living room couch in suburban L.A.
July 21, 2008 THE ULTIMATE GOLD STANDARD
Wambach takes injury in stride, shows leadership from off the field
As she wound down her conference call Monday afternoon, injured U.S. star striker Abby Wambach literally sent a message to the American media about the U.S. Women's National Team's chances at next month's Beijing Olympics. Wambach had all the faith in the world that the Americans would be standing on the podium at Worker's Stadium in Beijing with gold medals hanging around their necks Aug. 21.
July 17, 2008 UNDER THE KNIFE
Wambach surgery called successful
It certainly did not take Abby Wambach long to undergo the knife less than a day after a devastating injury. The U.S. Women’s National Team forward underwent successful surgery Thursday morning at Sharp Memorial Hospital to repair a broken leg suffered in the USA’s 1-0 victory over Brazil Wednesday night.
July 17, 2008 WAMBACH'S REPLACEMENT
Cheney on U.S. women's Olympic roster
Forward Lauren Cheney will replace Abby Wambach on the U.S. Women’s Olympic team after the side's leading goal-scorer broke her leg in the first half of the Americans' 1-0 victory over Brazil in San Diego Wednesday night.
July 16, 2008 WAMBACH OUT
U.S. star to miss Olympics with broken leg
The United States road to an Olympic medal just got a little harder. Forward Abby Wambach suffered a mid-shaft oblique fracture of the tibia and fibula, the two bones that make up the lower leg, in a 31st minute collision with a Brazilian defender during the U.S.’s 1-0 victory Wednesday night and will miss the Beijing Olympics.