HANGZHOU, China (AFP) - Brazil scored a last-gasp goal to book their place in the women's World Cup quarter-finals here Thursday, with their 1-0 victory crushing the dreams of a desperate Denmark.
Substitute Pretinha did the damage, scoring in the 91st minute after both sides came close in regulation time, to keep the South American powerhouse on course for their first title.
Denmark, whose campaign at this World Cup has been dogged by controversy, needed to win to keep their hopes alive, and are now out.
Brazil were virtually guaranteed of advancing before kick-off after securing enough points by earlier thumping minnows New Zealand and hosts China, to finish on top of Group D.
The fleet-footed Canarinha now take on Australia in Tianjin city on Sunday, after the Matildas qualified by drawing with Canada, also Thursday.
"We were so keen to win, but we lost a lot of chances, but we finally scored to win," said player of the match Daniela.
Coach Jorge Barcellos said he had lineup problems because he did not want three players, including Daniela, already on yellow cards to risk getting booked again and miss the quarter-final.
But he finally found the right combination after half-time.
With the 40,000-strong crowd chanting her name, masterful Marta was scorching for Brazil, often sprinting down the left wing leaving Danish defenders in her wake, to cross to teammates lurking nearer the goal.
Cristiane, whose relentless pace also caused problems, latched onto a lightning quick pass from Marta in the 14th minute but the 22-year-old forward miscued her shot which went wide.
Daniela should have scored on 20 minutes, when she found herself with space just inside the area, but fired over the bar.
But Denmark, ranked six in the world, also looked dangerous with several shots on target in the first half, as the Brazilian defence scrambled to clear danger inside the box.
Brazil came out firing in the second period, Marta launching a missile that goalkeeper Heidi Johansen flicked over the bar. She fired another that scraped the top of the woodwork on 55 minutes, bringing roars from the crowd.
But it was Pretinha, who came on after half-time, who ensured victory, latching onto a long ball on the right wing and lobbing her shot over an advancing Johansen.
Denmark assistant coach Per Nielsen praised his charges, saying they had plenty of chances.
"It was a great match and we put in an excellent performance but unfortunately we lost 1-0 but that's how it goes," he said. "I think we had our chances, no doubt."
Denmark's head coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller was sitting in the stands, serving a suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct earlier in the Cup.
The Danes have vowed to pursue an apparent spying incident that has dogged this tournament. Denmark were outraged to find two men, described as Chinese, with cameras hiding behind a two-way mirror ahead of the team's key tactical meeting before their clash with China.
FIFA insist the case is closed.
The South Americans, who have played in every World Cup since the tournament's inception in 1991, stormed to a third place finish in 1999 only to crash out in the first round in 2003.
|Shamrock Rovers 3 Progres Niederkorn 0: Waters at the double|
|Gerrard keen to emulate ´hero´ Beckham at Galaxy|
|UEFA Champions League Review: Red Imps make history, TNS breeze through|
|Ameobi extends Newcastle deal and heads for Cardiff|
|U.S. women celebrate World Cup victory with LA rally|
|Atletico agree Vietto deal|
|Silva appointed Olympiacos head coach|
|Presidential candidates unsure of Turan´s Barca switch|
|Toure keen to bounce back from ´disappointing´ campaign|
|El Salvador v Canada: Floro targets Gold Cup learning curve|
|Juve complete Zaza swoop|
|Costa Rica v Jamaica: Borges confident Wanchope´s men are ready|
|Marseille snare Sarr|
|Italy coach Conte to stand trial in match-fixing case|
|Castan keen to repay Roma´s faith|
|Rami thrilled to reunite with ´best coach´ Emery at Sevilla|
|Lusitans v West Ham: Tomkins seeks to silence minnows|
|Kagawa shines as Dortmund hit six in Japan|
|Alonso tips Gerrard for Galaxy glory|
|Firmino seeks self-improvement with Liverpool|
|Buffon bids farewell to Pirlo|
|Sterling named Europe´s ´most valuable´ young player|
|Casillas´ agent reveals Porto offer|
|Southampton bring in Martina|
|Dundee United accept Celtic´s Ciftci bid|
|McArthur pens new Palace deal|
|Bartomeu rules out Barca move for Pogba this year|
|Spurs have to be better now - Bentaleb|
|Milner expects central role|
|Micronesia thrashed again, this time 46-0|
|Marchisio: I cannot be Pirlo´s heir|
|Inter aiming for Champions League return - Icardi|
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Brondby and Slovan to protect handsome leads|
|Bentaleb pens new long-term deal at Tottenham|
|Barca agree Turan deal|
|FIFA bans Mayne-Nicholls|
|United States v Honduras: Klinsmann demands improvement ahead of Gold Cup opener|
|CONCACAF institutes extensive reforms in wake of FIFA corruption scandal|
|Mauri completes Milan move|
|City sign Turkey striker|
|Women´s World Cup final draws huge US TV ratings|
|My first Chelsea team better than current crop - Drogba|
|Bertrand set for lay-off after knee surgery|
|New five-year Juve deal for Marchisio|
|Allegri extends Juve contract|
|Koeman reiterates Alderweireld interest|
|Valencia bag Bakkali|
|New York City FC complete Pirlo capture|
|Panama v Haiti: Collat ready to challenge the best of CONCACAF|
|UEFA Champions League Preview: Harrison eyes TNS progression|
|FIFA sanctions Yemen for fielding ineligible player|
|Toulouse rubbish Ben Yedder exit reports|
|Mourinho ´knows what he´s doing´ with Falcao signing|
|Watford shell out club-record fee for Capoue|
|Braafheid signs Lazio extension|
|Nani finalises Fenerbahce move|
|Liverpool confirm O´Driscoll appointment|
|Liverpool have to start better - Lucas|
|USA simply too good - Sasaki|
|Portland Timbers 1 San Jose Earthquakes 0: Jewsbury wins it in stoppage time|
|No move yet for Van Persie|
|Lloyd wins Golden Ball, Silver Boot awards|
|Mascherano: I never grabbed Banega|
|Dunga requested Brazil not appeal Neymar´s suspension|
|United States 5 Japan 2: Lloyd stars with hat-trick|
|Fiorentina deny Inter criticism|
|Nani relishing Fenerbahce opportunity|
|Newcastle hold talks over Northampton youngster|
|Cuadrado´s agent plays down Chelsea exit rumours|
|Liverpool´s Alberto set for Deportivo loan|
|Leverkusen suffer surprise defeat, Stuttgart hit six|
|Inter ´dismayed´ at Fiorentina vice-president´s Salah Twitter outburst|
|Blaszczykowski ruled out of Dortmund´s Asia tour|
|Gerrard gets the beers in for LA Galaxy fans|
|De Gea coy over Real links|
|Former Brazil star Carlos handed Delhi reins|
|Ciftci will not push through Celtic switch – agent|
|In-demand Mitrovic considering Roma offer|
|Lehmann calls on Cech to ´get over´ Chelsea|
|Marlos double sinks Monaco|
|Mauritius 0 South Africa 2 (agg 0-5): Bafana set up Angola qualifier|
|Keane relishing Gerrard arrival|
|Palace confirm Cabaye interest|
|Hamburg bring in Spahic after head-butt ban|
|Blatter hits out at France and Germany over World Cup votes|
|Sanchez: World Cup exit spurred Chile to Copa glory|
|Jojic makes Cologne switch, Santana move falls through|
|Carrillo keen to get going at Monaco|
|Micronesia thrashed 38-0 as Fiji triumph in Olympic qualifier|
|Schalke stunned by ´machine´ Caicara|
|MLS Review: Keane shines at Gerrard´s Galaxy unveiling|
|Counter-attacking the key for Japan|
|Jimenez happy at Atletico|
|Gerrard predicts ´successful future´ with Galaxy|
|Iniesta can´t see Real selling Ramos|
|Keshi sacked as Nigeria coach|
|Three finals, three defeats for Messi, Mascherano|
|Nani close to Fenerbahce move|
|Sampaoli revels in ´unbelievable joy´|
|Bravo: Copa victory a dream|
|Martino: Argentina should have won|
|Chile 0 Argentina 0 (4-1 on penalties): Hosts end trophy drought|
|Germany 0 England 1 (after extra time): England make World Cup history|