Mia Hamm set up the first goal with a corner and scored in the second half as the United States beat China 2-0 Saturday to win the bronze medal in the women’s World Cup.
Goalkeeper Briana Scurry also made a key contribution for the 1991 world champions, making a series of sparkling saves as the Chinese tried to duplicate their opening-match comeback against the Americans.
In that match 11 days ago, the Chinese rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 with two late second-half goals to get a 3-3 tie.
This time, with only prestige at stake, the Americans held off the Chinese.
“We didn’t play good team defense then,” coach Tony DiCicco said. “It was our first priority today. We had to play a bit more defensively that we usually do.
“We got some help from Briana when we broke down. She was outstanding today. In time, I think she will be recognized as the best goalkeeper in the world.
DiCicco also was lavish in his praise of Hamm.
“Mia Hamm was awesome today,” he said. “She was dragging. She was tired. But she played 90 minutes of relentless soccer. She had an outstanding performance.”
Tisha Venturini scored the first goal in the 24th minute with a header for her third goal in the championship, tying her for the team lead with Kristine Lilly and Tiffeny Milbrett.
Goalie Honglian Zhong went up for Hamm’s corner from the right, but the ball slipped behind her for an easy goal by Venturini.
Hamm, who was scoreless after scoring one against China in the opener but set up several en route to a 1-0 semifinal loss to Norway, made it 2-0 in the 55th minute.
Norway will play European champion
Germany in today’s final in Stockholm.
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