Brazil earn shot at gold

Brazil's 4-1 win over Germany was not only their first over the reigning world champions at senior level, but it was the result that sealed their place in the final of the Women's Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008.

With Cristiane and Marta in inspired form, Germany had no answer to the creativity, class and composure of their opponents, despite having the better start. Silvia Neid's side imposed themselves from the first whistle, and in the opening five minutes had already asked questions of their opponents' defence by firing two corners and a free-kick into the box.

The pressure paid off in the tenth minute, when Erika lost possession with Birgit Prinz bearing down upon her to present the German striker with a one-on-one opportunity. The 30-year-old used all of her experience to keep her cool, rounding Barbara and slotting the ball home. It was her first in the competition and took her tally in the Women's Olympic Football Tournament to ten.

Although the Brazilians saw more of the ball in the 15-minute period after the goal, it was still the Europeans who created the better chances, with Renate Lingor's free-kicks causing all kinds of problems for their defence. However, the pick of the opportunities came in the 18th minute when Anja Mittag fired wide from 25 yards with just the keeper to beat.

Germany were left to rue that miss when Brazil equalised in the 43rd minute. Following some great approach play down the left, in which she nutmegged Kerstin Stegemann, Cristiane sent the ball in from the left. Marta swung and missed, but with the German defence's eyes on the Brazilian No10, they ignored the unmarked Formiga, who smashed a right-footed shot into the net. It would have taken something special to beat a goalkeeper who had previously never conceded at a FIFA Women's World Cup or Olympic Games, but the German No1 was left with absolutely no chance from the midfielder's thunderbolt.

Marta almost added insult to injury a minute later when her goal-bound shot was superbly tipped over the bar by Angerer, but both teams went into the interval level.

The crowd did not have to wait too long for Brazil's next goal. Renate Lingor's corner was cleared by the Brazil rearguard into the path of Marta, who ran from deep inside her own half to the edge of the German box. The FIFA Women's World Player of the Year showed great awareness to slip the ball to her left and find Cristiane, who had the easiest of opportunities to slot the ball home.

By now, Brazil's pace and movement were threatening to tear the German defence apart and Marta's goal in the 53rd minute was just reward for their dominance. Receiving the ball down the right channel, she ran at the German defence before squeezing in a left-footed poke past Angerer from the narrowest of angles.

Another Brazilian counter-attack in the 76th minute led to their fourth - and Cristiane's second of the evening. She squeezed her way past four German defenders and then side-footed the ball into the net for her fifth of the tournament. Four could have easily been five just minutes later when Marta broke down the right and fed substitute Francielle, who screwed her shot wide with only the goalkeeper standing in her way.

Both teams now travel to Beijing for their last match in this competition, but while Brazil will be preparing for a final, Germany must now battle for bronze.