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November 13, 2008
Vicki DiMartino strikes yet again helping U.S. women reach U-17 World Cup final

Christchurch, New Zealand -- Vicki DiMartino scored for the fifth consecutive game to help the U.S. to a 2-1 victory over Germany in what was termed a classic semifinal at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup on Thursday.

The U.S. will face North Korea in the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup final at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland on Sunday. Kickoff for the championship game is 4 p.m. local (10 p.m. ET on Saturday). The skillful North Koreans edged a gritty England side by a 2-1 score in the other semifinal.

“We’ve been progressing a lot each game, but we were the underdog in this game," DiMartino said. "A lot of people wanted Germany or the polls said Germany would win, and we proved ourselves, so it’s exciting.”

U.S. coach Kazbek Tambi agreed.

“It’s awesome," he said. "I’m just so proud of the kids. Not only in terms of pulling out the result and winning a World Cup semifinal against a great team in Germany, but in the way they played. We played our best game against a great team and played a great brand of soccer. I think we represented America well in terms of some good soccer today.”

Germany had taken the lead in the sixth minute off a corner kick from the left side as Dzsenifer Marozans drilled her service into the middle of the box and 5-9 Alexandra Popp powered her way to the ball before sending a bullet header into the U.S.’s net from six yards.

The Americans never gave up.

Against South Korea in the USA’s quarterfinal match, midfielder Erika Tymrak entered the game in the 81st minute and sent up a goal three minutes later. She bettered that against Germany, coming on the 61st minute before setting up DiMartino’s 63rd-minute equalizer.

Tymrak ran at two German defenders down the right flank, creating enough space near the end line to loop a cross into the middle. The ball flew over the Germany goalkeeper and dropped at the far post for DiMartino to bundle into the net from close range.

“I knew [the cross] was going over the goalkeeper," DiMartino said. "Erika played a great ball and I just put my whole body into it and bundled it in.”

It was DiMartino’s fifth goal in five games, making her the only player to score in all five of her matches at the U-17 WWC.

Right before she bagged the winner, Verloo had a chance from 35 yards, catching goalkeeper Anna Sarholz off her line with a looping shot from 35 yards that fell into the top of the net.

That set the stage for Brook’s thumping shot and the wild winning goal, which was Verloo’s fourth of the tournament.

U.S. defender Amber Brooks found herself with some space in the center of the field about 45 yards from the German net. She sent a canon ball shot that froze Sarholz as it smacked off the upper right corner of the goal and bounced into the middle of the penalty area. U.S. midfielder Julia Roberts was first to the ball, but couldn’t get a solid hit on it and it was swept away by a retreating Germany defender. The ball bounced to Verloo, who pounded the ball home from six yards.

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