Brazil's impressive race toward the medal rounds continued unabated on Friday night as the Group F winners roared past over Norway 2-1 in Tianjin's last Olympic game thanks to strikes from Daniela and Marta. The South Americans will now face Germany, who beat Sweden in their semi-final.
All the early attacking was done by the Brazilians, with Norway keen enough to sit back and try to exploit their talented opponents on the odd break.
The conservative policy nearly paid dividends too, as the Scandinavians looked like surviving the first half without conceding. But Daniela had other ideas with just a minute to go before the break. After near misses by both Marta and the tournament's joint-top scorer, Cristiane, the Sweden-based midfielder took advantage of a giveaway in midfield. Controlling with one touch, she lined up a stunning strike from 30 yards that soared over the flailing Erika Skarbo, who managed only to get fingertips to the ball.
Marta continued to heap pressure on in the second period. And with the Norwegians forced to emerge steadily from their defensive shell, the Brazilians were finding more gaps to exploit. In the 57th minute, the Canarinhas had the second goal their dominant play thoroughly deserved.
Marta, determined and prancing like a racehorse, refused to give up on a bouncing ball heading toward the Norwegian goal. Outpacing Marit Fiane Christensen, the Umea striker poked the ball over the advancing keeper for her second goal of these Beijing Games.
The Europeans were given a lifeline in the 81st minute when Brazilian goalkeeper Barbara raced off her line and felled Elise Thorsnes in the area on her way to goal. Substitute Siri Nordby stepped up and coolly converted from the spot. The goal caused a nervy last ten minutes for the Brazilians, who nevertheless survived to pick up a deserved win.
The Auriverde, silver medallists four years ago in Athens, will now meet Germany in a re-play of last year's FIFA Women's World Cup final and a 0-0 first round meeting here in Beijing.