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Brazil defeats Equatorial Guinea to top Group D

Jul 6, 2011 - 8:50 PM Frankfurt, Germany (Sports Network) - Brazil defeated Equatorial Guinea 3-0 behind a Cristiane brace to round out Group D action in the Women's World Cup on Wednesday.

Brazil entered the match having already qualified for the quarterfinals, winning its previous group matches 1-0 over Australia and 3-0 over Norway.

Given Brazil's goal differential, it would have taken a major collapse at the hands of Equatorial Guinea for the Samba side to claim anything but the top spot in Group D. However, a team effort from Brazil ensured it would finish atop the group and face the Group C runner-up.

"Overall, I don't think we're making the most of our technical ability yet, but our defense is 100 percent solid," Brazil coach Kleiton Lima said.

In a rather tame first half, Brazil possessed the ball for long stretches while Equatorial Guinea sat back with a great deal of discipline and organization.

Brazilian playmaker Marta, a five-time world player of the year, was noticeably frustrated with her inability to get into any sort of rhythm, as she was closely marked throughout the duration of the first half. What resulted was a scoreless opening period with few scoring chances.

When play resumed, it did not take Brazil long to tally its first goal of the match.

In the 49th minute, Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper Miriam punched a cross to the top of the box, where it fell to Erika. The Brazilian defender controlled the ball, juggled over an oncoming defender, and laced a volley with her left foot that found the back of the net.

Cristiane added to Brazil's margin five minutes later with a well-taken finish from close range. Marta found herself in a wide position on the left and played a dangerous ball into the box to find Cristiane, who calmly redirected the ball out of the air and past a diving Miriam.

Brazil seemed content with its 2-0 lead until injury time, when a charging Marta drew a foul in the box to earn a late penalty. Cristiane took the kick and slotted to the goalkeeper's left to secure the win for Brazil.

Brazil's opponent in the quarterfinals is yet to be determined, as the United States and Sweden kick-off later Wednesday.

Equatorial Guinea bows out of the Women's World Cup, having lost to Norway, Australia, and now Brazil by scores of 1-0, 3-2, and 3-0, respectively.

"We've played in a top quality tournament and we've learned a lot," Equatorial Guinea manager Marcello Frigerio said. "The World Cup finals will have been extremely valuable for my players."