Belanger scores, Canada goes on

Los Angeles Times - - WOMEN'S WORLD CUP -

VAN­COU­VER, Canada — Josee Belanger’s goal in the 52nd minute gave Canada a 1- 0 vic­tory over Switzer­land in a knock­out- round game Sun­day at the Women’s World Cup.

Belanger, back at her pre­ferred for­ward po­si­tion af­ter a three- game stint on de­fense, con­trolled a pass from Chris­tine Sin­clair and struck it left- footed into the lower cor­ner of the net past div­ing goal­keeper Gaelle Thal­mann.

The 53,855 at BC Place erupted when Belanger scored.

Canada ad­vanced to face sixth- ranked Eng­land or No. 11 Nor­way in the quar­ter­fi­nals Satur­day.

The Cana­di­ans beat a Euro­pean team in the World Cup for the f irst time in 11 tries.

Belanger had a chance at another goal when Thal­mann got pulled out of the box in the 68th minute, but Caro­line Abbe stepped in and cleared the shot.

In the 78th minute, Cana­dian goalie Erin McLeod blocked a shot by Vanessa Ber­nauer in front of the goal. She had another leap­ing save in the wan­ing mo­ments of in­jury time.

Swiss star Lara Dick­en­mann couldn’t get a foot on the ball from close range in the 14th minute on a cross from Ra­mona Bach­mann in Switzer­land’s best op­por­tu­nity.

Belanger hit the post in the 16th minute, mo­ments be­fore Melissa Tan­credi col- lided midair with Thal­mann, who fell hard to the turf.

For one half, the Swiss hung tough play­ing at BC Place for the third time in four World Cup games. They beat Ecuador, 10- 1, on June 12 in Group C play and lost to Ja­pan, 1- 0, on June 8 in their World Cup opener.

Canada ad­vanced past the group stage for only the sec­ond time.

In 2003, the Cana­di­ans reached the semi­fi­nals and led Swe­den be­fore giv­ing up two goals over the f inal 12 min­utes to lose, 2- 1, and wound up in fourth place.

That’s the coun­try’s best fin­ish, and Sin­clair was part of that run.

Darryl Dyck As­so­ci­ated Press

NOELLE MARITZ ( 5) of Switzer­land is tack­led by Chris­tine Sin­clair of Canada in the f irst half.

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