US floored by brilliant Brazil
© Foto-net

Brazil created football history as only Brazil can, advancing to their first-ever FIFA Women's World Cup final with a majestic, Marta-inspired 4-0 win over pre-tournament favourites USA. The North Americans had gone into this match on the back of a 51-game unbeaten streak but although their cause was hindered considerably by the first-half dismissal of Shannon Boxx, they could have no complaints with the margin of this, the heaviest defeat in their history.

All the pre-match discussion had centred on Greg Ryan's decision to ditch his erstwhile first choice, Hope Solo, but replacement Briana Scurry could do nothing about Brazil's opening goal after 20 minutes. Just as in yesterday's semi-final between Germany and Norway, it was an own goal that broke the deadlock, with Leslie Osbourne the unfortunate perpetrator on this occasion. Stooping in an attempt to cut out Formiga's inswinging corner at the near post, she succeeded only in glancing the ball past her helpless keeper.

Despite the circumstances in which it arrived, the lead was merited and it took Brazil just seven minutes to double it, the peerless Marta cutting in from the right past two US defenders and unleashing a low, left-foot drive that skidded through Scurry's grasp and into the bottom right-hand corner. If Ryan's side already had a mountain to climb, their task became near-impossible as the first half entered stoppage time, when a coming-together between Boxx and Cristiane resulted in a second yellow card for the combative USA midfielder.

Ryan's response was to throw on Carli Lloyd and go to three at the back, but the US continued to find themselves engulfed beneath wave after wave of Canarinha attacks. Indeed, it was only after Daniela had burst in from the left to crash an effort just wide of the far post that Formiga found space on the same flank and, with the American defence exposed, teed up Cristiane who had time and space to side-foot home a low shot. Marta, showcasing her full repertoire of tricks and twirls, then provided the pièce de résistance with 11 minutes remaining, flicking the ball cheekily over Tina Ellerston before drilling it under Scurry's body.

Player of the Match: Marta (BRA)