WUHAN, China (AFP) - Brazil thrashed China 4-0 on Saturday to dent the home team's hopes of qualifying for the World Cup quarter-finals as Australia snatched a late draw against former champions Norway.
The South Americans were in a different class to the Chinese, whose confidence was sky high after an opening victory over Denmark on Wednesday.
But it all went horribly wrong for them in Wuhan, with a three goal burst in six minutes leaving China reeling.
Masterful Marta began the bombardment in the 42nd minute when she hustled down a loose ball to ankle-tap it past charging goalkeeper Han Wenxia.
Cristiane scored the second and third in the 47th and 48th minutes respectively before Marta made it four with 20 minutes to go, silencing a near-capacity crowd at the 52,000-seat Wuhan Sports Centre Stadium.
"The difference (between the two teams) was we made chances and scored," Brazilian head coach Jorge Barcelos said.
His Chinese counterpart Marika Domanski-Lyfors, a Swede, conceded Brazil was the better team.
"In the first half we could match Brazil, but in the second they showed they are better," she said.
"Brazil is is a very good team, one of the world's best, they showed it today."
Brazil now have six points to top Group C with just Denmark to play on Wednesday. The Danes beat New Zealand 2-0 earlier Saturday and have three points alongside China.
China must now beat New Zealand in Tianjin on Wednesday and hope Denmark get nothing out of the Brazil match.
Norway, who won the World Cup in 1995, looked to have the measure of Australia, confidently defending a fifth minute goal by Ragnhild Gulbrandsen before Lisa De Vanna pulled it level with just seven minutes left.
In the other Group C match, Canada hammered Ghana 4-0, eliminating the Africans from the tournament.
A resurgent Australia, who won their first World Cup match after 12 years of trying in their opener against Ghana, top the group with four points, ahead of Norway on goal difference.
"Considering the 90 minutes, we have to be pleased and we think we are in a very good situation before the last group game," said Norweigan coach Bjarne Berntsen.
Canada's Christine Sinclair scored twice as they ended Ghana's dream.
The first goal came with a superb header from Sinclair in the 16th minute.
After the break Canada tightened control and midfielder Sophie Schmidt widened their lead after 55 minutes.
Sinclair blasted home her second in the 62nd minute to become Canada's top World Cup scorer with five goals while Martina Franko got the fourth.
Even Pellerud, who was Norway's coach when they won the World Cup, said it looked like his team had beaten their big weakness -- running out of steam in the second half.
"It was a good fitness test and I think we did well today," he said, adding that he expected no favours from Australia on Wednesday in Chengdu.
"We have played several games against Australia before. They are always very even," he said.
Denmark beat a determined but outclassed New Zealand 2-0 to keep alive their slim hopes of advancing to the knockout stage.
Captain Katrine Pedersen found the back of the net first on a well struck free kick in the 61st minute and they rammed home their advantage five minutes when Cathrine Paaske Sorensen snapped a header home.
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