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Marta leads Brazil over Norway, into quarters

Jul 3, 2011 - 7:33 PM Wolfsburg, Germany (Sports Network) - Marta showed once again why she is the best women's player in the world Sunday.

The reigning five-time world player of the year had two goals and an assist as Brazil rolled to a 3-0 win over Norway in Group D to seal a quarterfinal berth in the Women's World Cup.

Marta opened the scoring at Volkswagen-Arena in the 22nd minute, assisted on a goal from Rosana in the opening minute of the second half, and then scored her second in the 48th.

"Thank God Marta is Brazilian," Brazil coach Kleiton Lima said.

Marta was the leading scorer in the 2007 event with seven goals, and is tied for second all-time with 12 goals. Germany's Birgit Prinz is the top scorer in World Cup history with 14 goals, but has yet to score in two games.

Marta may overtake Prinz before the tournament ends, but the true prize is the World Cup trophy. Germany defeated Brazil in the 2007 final, and has won back- to-back titles.

"We are pleased to qualify for the next stage. We have a long [way] to go but we will keep up our hard work," Marta said.

"Our aim is to get to the final and be crowned champions."

Four years ago, Marta had a penalty kick saved in the final game, a 2-0 defeat to Germany. But if Sunday's performance by the 25-year-old is a sign of things to come from Brazil, she might get another shot on July 17.

Marta scored her first goal with a brilliant individual effort, as she nudged Norway defender Nora Holstad Berge on the right wing to reach a long pass from Erika, then drove into the area against Maren Mjelde.

After getting Mjelde on the ground after a failed tackle, Marta moved into the open space and drove a low shot inside the right post.

Marta took a blow to the head later in the half when she fell and her head hit the ground, but she shook off the pain and then inflicted it on Norway.

Less than a minute into the second half, Marta gained possession near midfield and drove into the left side of area, where played a pass across to the right side to an open Rosana, who converted for her second goal of the tournament.

Before Norway could figure out what happened, Marta added a third goal with an easy finish off an rebound. Brazil's Christiane hustled to force a turnover in Norway's box, and her shot deflected to Marta.

Marta dribbled into space and scored from 12 yards, as she tied United States legend Michelle Akers for second all-time on the World Cup scoring list.

"It was impossible [to stop Marta]," Norway coach Eli Landsem said.

Brazil extended its undefeated streak in group play to 11 matches and will win the group with at least a tie against Equatorial Guinea, which was eliminated with Brazil's win, on Wednesday. Brazil could even win the group with a loss.

Norway needs to beat Australia in its last group game to advance. Australia is currently level on points with Norway, but leads on goal differential - which is the first tiebreaker. Norway has never been eliminated after group play.