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U.S. Women Blank Brazil

The United States women's soccer players didn't let Brazil spoil their sendoff to Sydney. As if anything could.

In their last tuneup game before the Olympics and the first test without Michelle Akers, the Americans beat their South American rival 4-0 on Friday.

"I've got no complaints," U.S. coach April Heinrichs said. "It think it's the perfect tuneup game for us. They bring out the best in us. At the same time, they're dangerous. We took a risk playing Brazil 13 days before Sydney."

Mia Hamm scored twice and captain Julie Foudy and Joy Fawcett added goals before 26,853 fans at Spartan Stadium, a sellout crowd and the largest to watch the U.S. team play this season.

The shutout was the 13th in a calendar year for Siri Mullinix, one more than the previous record of 12 by Briana Scurry.

The 1999 World Cup champions are 22-4-7 this year as they prepare to defend their 1996 gold medal.

"This team has worked really hard," Hamm said. "A game like this has to make us feel good."

The United States has beaten Brazil in eight straight matches (7-0-1) dating to 1997, including the semifinal on the way to the 1999 World Cup title.

Brazilian captain Sissi said the U.S. team's longer style of play took her team out of its game and forced little mistakes.

"We like to play more with the ball on the ground," she said.

Shannon McMillan set up Foudy's goal in the 13th minute, her crosskick from the right side finding Foudy in a crowd just outside the box. Foudy headed it past the outstretched hands of a diving Andreia.

Fawcett made it 2-0 in the 59th minute by deflecting a shot on goal by Lorrie Fair from the top of the box.

Hamm capped the scoring with two goals three minutes apart. She knocked her first one in with the left side of her head, soaring into to the air to deflect a pass from Cindy Parlow. Then Hamm faked Andreia to the grass in front of the goal and angled a shot past a sprawling defender for her 125th international goal.

"The effort by everyone tonight and definitely the goal by Julie in the first 15 minutes definitely helped our momentum," Hamm said, icing her left knee before heading to the team bus.

The Americans, who won every tournament they have entered this year, will try to keep the momentum going in Sydney.

It won't be easy. Their first game will be Sept. 14 against Norway, which handed the U.S. team three of its four defeats in 2000. Three days later, the United States will face World Cup runner-up China.

"It's going to be difficult," Hamm said. "But that's the way we want it."

They'll also be challenged by the absence of the 34-year-old Akers, who announced last week that shoulder injuries would keep her from competing in another Olympics. She was replaced on the roster by Michelle French, a 22-year-old All-American from University of Portland. She did not play Friay.

"I think our team understands that you don't replace her with one person," Heinrichs said. "Instead, you ask everyone to step up. That's what we did tonight. Try to pick a player that didn't play well."

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