By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Norwegian midfielder Maren Mjelde curled home a beautiful second half free kick to earn her side a deserved 1-1 draw with front-runners Germany in a women's World Cup Group B game on Thursday.
Germany, ranked number two in the world, started strongly and took the lead in the sixth minute when Anja Mittag knocked home the ball from close range after Norwegian goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth spilled a routine shot.
The goal was Mittag's fourth of the tournament and follows the hat-trick she scored in the 10-0 thrashing of Ivory Coast in the opening game on Sunday. Germany dominated the first half and looked sure to score more goals.
But Mjelde secured the draw in the 61st minute with a free kick from 20 yards out that kissed the underside of the bar as it went in and the Norwegians finished the game strongly.
The result leaves Germany and Norway tied on four points at the top of the group after two games and the teams -- who are both past winners of the World Cup -- are virtually certain to qualify for the second round.
Outsiders Ivory Coast and Thailand -- who Norway beat 4-0 on Sunday -- play each other later in Ottawa on Thursday.
(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)