No more mistakes, warns Barcellos
© AFP

On the eve of his side's eagerly anticipated semi-final showdown with Germany at the Women's Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008, Brazil coach Jorge Barcellos has warned his gifted charges against the kind of complacency that almost cost them dearly against Norway.

Two goals to the good and cruising against the Scandinavians in Friday's quarter-final, their opponents pounced on over-elaboration going forward by midfielder Daniela to send Elise Thorsnes rushing into the box, where she was brought down by Auriverde keeper Barbara. And after substitute Siri Nordby successfully converted the spot kick, what should have been a comfortable closing spell for the Seleção turned into in a nerve-wracking final few minutes.

"We can't afford to make stupid mistakes like the one that led to the Norwegian counter-attack and subsequent penalty," he said. "We lost the ball in attack when Daniela tried to do everything by herself. I've even had to have a word with her about that."

Take your chances
And the Canarinha supremo also believes his side need to be more ruthless in front of goal if they wish to overcome the world and European champions on Monday in Shanghai.

"We created ten goalscoring chances against Norway and we only converted 20 per cent of them. Fortunately for us it was enough," said Barcellos, whose side are unlikely to enjoy as many openings against a German defence yet to concede a goal thus far.

But despite the four clean sheets kept by Mannschaft custodian Nadine Angerer thus far, added to the six she kept at last year's FIFA Women's World Cup, Brazil striker Cristiane remains confident of putting an end to her long unbeaten run.

"Nadine is a truly great keeper but I'm hoping to help Brazil get the better of her in this vital game, whether I get on the scoresheet myself or create a goal for one of my team-mates," said the Linkopings front-runner, currently the tournament's top scorer with three goals.

And her coach Barcellos also believes his team could well be peaking at just the right time. "Without doubt the match against Norway was our best performance at these Olympics," said the well-respected strategist.

"We're getting better with every game," he added, though he may find himself without the crucial steadying influence of midfielder Formiga for Monday's tie.

Formiga's fitness worries
The vastly experienced holding player, a veteran of four FIFA Women's World Cups, will have scored at every edition of the Women's Olympic Football Tournament should she find the net here at Beijing 2008. However, she has been troubled by a niggling groin injury, a complaint that already saw her rested for the Auriverde's final group match against Nigeria.

"I've been feeling these twinges since our opening game against Germany," said Formiga, who plays her club football in Brazil for Botucatu. "That's why I sat out the game against Nigeria. But I'm going to work hard to be fit for the semi-final. I don't even want to contemplate missing the match," added the 30-year-old, who played through the pain barrier to put in a typically assured display against Norway.

For the gritty midfielder and her team-mates, not only would victory over Silvia Neid's Germany be sweet revenge for defeat in the final of the FIFA Women's World Cup China 2007, but it would take them within touching distance of a first major trophy. And having come away from Athens 2004 clutching a silver medal, could this be the year Marta and Co crown their jogo bonito with Olympic gold?