December 18, 2014

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) Christen Press scored four goals and Carli Lloyd had a hat trick as the United States women's soccer team routed Argentina 7-0 in the Brasilia Tournament on Thursday, securing its place in the final of the four-team competition.

The U.S. needed some help from Brazil in the late match, and the hosts beat China 4-1 despite resting five-time world player of the year Marta and other regular starters. A draw would have eliminated the Americans. The final will be played Sunday at the Mane Garrincha Stadium.

Brazil will have the tiebreaker advantage in the final because it had a better campaign. The hosts finished with nine points from three matches. The U.S. and China ended with four points each, but the Americans were ahead on goal differential.

The U.S. came into Thursday's match knowing it had to score a lot of goals to surpass China, which had beaten Argentina 6-0 after an opening 1-1 draw with the Americans.

The U.S. controlled the action from the start and Argentina barely threatened goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who was making her national team debut in place of regular starter Hope Solo. American substitute Sydney Leroux was red-carded in the 89th after a clash with an Argentine defender.

Brazil, already secured in the final in advance, defeated China 4-0 with goals by Darlene and Andressinha in the first half and by Debinha and Andressa Alves in the second. China scored in second-half stoppage time.

Brazil had opened the tournament with a 4-0 win over Argentina.

The doubleheader in Brasilia was postponed from Wednesday because of heavy rain in the Brazilian capital.

The tournament serves as preparation for the 2015 World Cup in Canada. Brazil, China and the U.S. have qualified for the World Cup.

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