USA face Brazil in in women's W.Cup quarters
Dresden (Germany): Two-time world champions the USA take on the silky skills of Brazil on Sunday with both sides insisting they must improve ahead of their women's World Cup quarter-final.
Brazil claimed three wins over Australia, Norway and Equatorial Guinea to win Group D, while the USA were shocked 2-1 by Sweden in Wolfsburg last Wednesday to finish as Group C runners-up after two earlier victories.
Having never won a women's World Cup, Brazil can be forgiven for feeling Germany 2011 is their tournament and they have some unfinished business against the USA.
In the women's final at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Brazil star Marta had the goal at her mercy in the 72nd minute, but somehow managed to miss as the USA went on to win 1-0 in extra-time.
"I can't let myself be irritated by the opponent, I just have to concentrate on my own game, because I really want to be a world champion," said the 25-year-old, five-time winner of the world player of the year award.
Marta scored twice in the 2007 World Cup semi-final when the South Americans blasted the USA 4-0 in Hangzhou, China, before losing 2-0 to Germany in the final.
Having scored twice in Brazil's 3-0 win over 1995 champions Norway in last Sunday's Group game, the pint-sized playmaker is on form, but her team have to step up against the USA, says coach Kleiton Lima.
"We have to make a lot of improvements, especially from a technical point of view," he said.
"I know my team and I know we are not using our full capabilities and we also have to improve our skills.
"The players are improving and I think that gradually we?ll get back on track and achieve our targets."
Brazil have yet to concede a goal at Germany 2011 and start as favourites, but the USA are already eyeing a third World Cup after their triumphs in 1991 and 1999.
"We want to become world champions and from now on we are only talking about the final," said coach Pia Sundhage. "We need to get sharper and step up, starting against Brazil."
USA striker Abby Wambach, who opened her World Cup account in the defeat to Sweden, pointed out that facing Brazil means France or England loom in the semi-finals and they will avoid defending champions Germany until the final itself on July 17.
"If we want to reach the final, we have to beat everyone anyway - even Brazil," said the 31-year-old.