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Victory salute for troops, quarterfinal spot for U.S.

Heather O’Reilly, center, celebrates her goal that put the United States ahead to stay in a 3-0 victory over Colombia in Sinsheim, Germany. Check out tampabay.com/blogs/alleyes for a photo gallery from Saturday’s World Cup games.

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Heather O’Reilly, center, celebrates her goal that put the United States ahead to stay in a 3-0 victory over Colombia in Sinsheim, Germany. Check out tampabay.com/blogs/alleyes for a photo gallery from Saturday’s World Cup games.

SINSHEIM, Germany — Anyone can sign autographs or pose for photos. The U.S. women found a better way to say "thank you" to American military members who turned their World Cup match into a home game.

The United States advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women's World Cup with a 3-0 rout of Colombia on Saturday, delighting a sellout crowd made up almost entirely of Americans. The team lined up for a military salute after Heather O'Reilly's opening goal.

"The troops came out to practice the other day, which was a fantastic environment," said Carli Lloyd, who scored the third goal. "We thought it would be good to salute them. It was fun, something different."

Megan Rapinoe, who entered as a substitute to begin the second half, scored the second U.S. goal in the 50th minute.

The two-time World Cup champions play Sweden, one of two teams to beat them this year, Wednesday in Wolfsburg to settle Group C. Both have six points, but the United States leads the group on goal differential and can claim the top spot with a win or a tie.

Colombia is on the rise, finishing fourth at the Under-20 World Cup last year. But this is its first World Cup appearance, and the youngsters were no match for the deeper, more experienced Americans, who harassed goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda relentlessly.

"It's a growing experience," said Colombian defender Nataly Arias, who was born and raised in the Washington area. "It was their size, their speed. They're all big, they're all fast, they're all agile."

And the game could have been more lopsided. The Americans missed at least a half-dozen other chances and had a 27-12 advantage in shots. Former Florida star Abby Wambach missed so many chances, including one off the right post, that she had little choice but to laugh at her misfortunes by the end.

Hope Solo punched away Colombia's best chance, by sub Orianica Velasquez in the 54th minute.

In the 12th minute, O'Reilly jumped on the ball after it bounced off Liana Salazar. O'Reilly took a few steps and blasted a right-footer from 25 yards that Sepulveda had no chance to stop.

The crowd of 25,475 cheered and the players lined up for their Independence Day weekend salute. There is a U.S. Army base in nearby Mannheim, and about 350 service members and their families watched practice Thursday.

SWEDEN 1, NORTH KOREA 0: Sweden reached the quarterfinals on a second-half goal by midfielder Lisa Dahlkvist in Augsburg. North Korea was eliminated with its second loss. North Korea nearly tied it in the 73rd minute when Ri Un-hyang's header from a corner kick was cleared off the line by fellow defender Sara Thunebro.

Women's World Cup

Top two in each group advance:

GROUP A

GP W D L GF GA Pts

France 2 2 0 0 5 0 6

Germany 2 2 0 0 3 1 6

Nigeria 2 0 0 2 0 2 0

Canada 2 0 0 2 1 6 0

GROUP B

GP W D L GF GA Pts

Japan 2 2 0 0 6 1 6

England 2 1 1 0 3 2 4

Mexico 2 0 1 1 1 5 1

New Zealand 2 0 0 2 2 4 0

GROUP C

GP W D L GF GA Pts

United States 2 2 0 0 5 0 6

Sweden 2 2 0 0 2 0 6

North Korea 2 0 0 2 0 3 0

Colombia 2 0 0 2 0 4 0

GROUP D

GP W D L GF GA Pts

Brazil 1 1 0 0 1 0 3

Norway 1 1 0 0 1 0 3

Australia 1 0 0 1 0 1 0

Equ. Guinea 1 0 0 1 0 1 0

Today's schedule
Gm Group When TV Matchup
15 D 8 a.m. ESPN2 Australia vs. Equatorial Guinea
16 D 12:15 p.m. ESPN Brazil vs. Norway
United States schedule, Group C
Gm When TV Matchup
22 2:45 p.m. Wednesday ESPN Sweden vs. U.S.

Victory salute for troops, quarterfinal spot for U.S. 07/02/11 [Last modified: Saturday, July 2, 2011 11:10pm]

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