France, Germany win in D.C.

Posted: Sunday, September 28, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) Germany was nearly through an impressive first round of the Women's World Cup when a potentially serious setback occurred: Steffi Jones went down with a knee injury.

The veteran defender left Saturday's 6-1 victory over Argentina in the 62nd minute and was taken to a hospital for X-rays and an MRI on her right knee. The preliminary diagnosis was a torn ACL.

''It seems that she is out of the tournament,'' coach Tina Theune-Meyer said.

Jones' injury will make it tougher for a team that was poised for its best shot at a World Cup title. Germany (3-0) easily won Group C, outscoring its opponents 13-2, and will play the second-place team from Group D in the quarterfinals on Thursday in Portland, Ore.

''If she's out, it's a big loss for our team,'' forward Birgit Prinz said. ''She's a leader of our team. She's an important part of our defense.''

In Saturday's other game at RFK Stadium, Brazil won Group B with a 1-1 draw against France.

Jones, the daughter of an American father and a German mother, had retired from the international game before Theune-Meyer talked her into returning for this World Cup. Jones, 30, helped lead Washington Freedom to the WUSA title this year.

While Germany was expected to roll through the first round, Brazil surprised itself somewhat with a 2-0-1 record. By winning the group, the Brazilians will likely avoid a matchup against defending champion United States in the next round.

Showing the youthful flair so often displayed by their men's team, the Brazilians scored eight goals and allowed just two in three games. They will play the second-place team from Group A in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

''Our expectations may not have been as high as we came into it with a very young team,'' coach Paulo Goncalves said. ''However, now with very three good games behind us, our expectations have risen quite a bit."

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