After that, the result was obvious. The United States, after a 4-0 victory over Japan on Tuesday, would be heading to Vasteras and a semifinal game there on Thursday. Japan would be heading for the airport and a flight home.
Awarded a free kick in the eighth minute 40 yards from goal, the U.S. team turned to [Kristine] Lilly, who struck a magnificent shot-a knuckleball, she called it-that left Japan goalkeeper Junko Ozava clutching at thin air as the ball swerved past her into the net.
It was the first of two strikes by the former University of North Carolina midfield standout. Lilly added a second goal in the 42nd minute, and Tiffeny Milbrett, in the 45th, and Tisha Venturini, in the 80th, rounded out the defending champions' easiest victory yet in the second FIFA Women's World Championship.