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Sports

Gold Medal Eludes German Women's Soccer Team

The German women's soccer team has won before on Chinese soil when they defended their World Cup title against Brazil in Shanghai last year. Can they do it again to clinch their first gold medal at the Beijing Olympics?

A Chinese player blocks a German attacker

China will be hoping to exploit their home advantage

"We want gold," Germany's defender Ariane Hingst told the DPA news agency. "That is our main goal."

Germany has won Olympic bronze twice and are tipped as likely finalists this year as holders of three European trophies and having not conceded a single goal in the last World Cup.

Coach Silvia Neid's squad includes 16 world champions and does not suffer from the Under-23 age restriction put on men's teams.

"We're an insanely experienced team, but we're still hungry for success," Hingst said. "Whoever claims we've had enough is wrong."

Strong opposition

A Brazilian player headers the ball in training

Brazil lost 2-0 to Germany in the last World Cup finals

Germany is, however, far from the only team that looks strong in women's soccer. The Germans faced Brazil in their first Olympic matchup Aug. 6 in Shenyang. The teams played to a 0-0 draw.

The Brazilian side was out for revenge after losing to Germany in the World Cup finals, but, despite a strong opening, German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer did not allow any goals.

The two teams faced off Wednesday, Aug. 6, in Shenyang, two days before the opening ceremony to allow for much needed time between games as the tournament progresses.

Along with Germany, the USA is one of the most experienced teams and both have competed every time in this recent addition to the Olympic schedule. Despite it only being the fourth time women's soccer has appeared in official Olympic competition, the USA team has two gold medal titles and one silver.

China will be drawing on the home pitch advantage to summon the strength that saw their country win silver 12 years ago in Atlanta. Other top contenders are Norway, Sweden, North Korea and Africa champions Nigeria. Before having a chance to play in the Aug. 21 final, Germany will have to face the latter two teams, which are also in "the group of death."

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