New Zealand scores late to upset Mexico's party

Team USA, Sweden set for Group C match Wednesday

Team Mexico scored the first two goals and New Zealand had an answer for both of them in the second half. As a result, neither team got what it wanted, but neither of them went home empty either.

Stanford women's soccer was a winner either way as current players Alina Garciamendez and Teresa Noyola were able to gain World Cup experience while Cardinal grad Ali Riley continued to add to her national team experience with the Kiwis.

The 2-2 draw before 20,451 fans in Sinsheim, Germany at the Women's World Cup ended the competition for the two countries, both of which are on the upswing.

"This has been the hardest result for us to take because we thought we had our first win in the bag," Mexico's Maribel Dominguez said. "We showed a few weaknesses in the second half though, and with those late goals we conceded it's a draw that feels like a defeat. It was a tragic way for us to end."

New Zealand scored its first goal in the 90th minute and recorded the tying goal four minutes into extra time.

"It was so exciting to come back like that right at the end," New Zealand's Rebecca Smith said. "Doing the Haka at the end was our way of saluting the fans who had traveled so far to see us."

Mexico scored in the second minute and took a 2-0 lead in the 29th minute.

Meanwhile, the U.S. national team is gearing up for Wednesday's match against Sweden. Both countries are 2-0 in Group C and both have secured a spot in the next round. Seeding and pride will be at stake.

"We want to get better with each game and we have a very competitive nature within the group," American Shannon Boxx said. "Sweden is a great team so it will be a great game and an exciting one. Both teams will go really hard."

The two teams have met 29 times, including three FIFA Women's World Cup matches. The Americans have won all three Cup contests, winning 3-2 in 1991, 3-1 in 2003 and 2-0 in 2007.

U.S. coach Pia Sundhage remains a legend in Swedish soccer lore. She scored 71 goals in 146 international appearances, and played for Sweden in the 1991 match against the U.S.

"The bench players made the difference in the last game," Sundhage said. "And they can make a difference against Sweden too. We have experienced players but also younger ones who can make an impact off the bench."

With 164 caps, Therese Sjogran is the veteran Swede. She's been part of three Olympic Games and this is her third World Cup. With team captain Caroline Seger out (suspended for receiving two yellow cards), Sjogran knows the team will be turning to her for inspiration.

"The Americans are a really good team, but they're only human," Sjogran said. "We don't have the fear of them that we had before. We beat them in January in China and I feel we know how they play. Pia has changed their style, they want to go through the midfield more, so we know how we're supposed to play against them. It's going to be a hard game but I think we can get a good result."

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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