They opened in Boston. Three days later, they played in Oregon. Three days after that, they headed to New York.

Now, after two cross-country treks that have led to a surprise spot in the quarterfinals of the Women's World Cup, the Russians are coming back to the West Coast.

Russia, a newcomer to women's soccer, faces China in one of two quarterfinals Wednesday at 8 p.m. in San Jose. Scandinavian rivals Sweden and Norway, the defending World Cup champion, meet in the other at 10:30 p.m.

Russia is playing in its first World Cup and was not expected to get this far. But victories over Japan and Canada earned the Russians a spot opposite China, one of the tournament favorites.

"I was worried about how they would hold up, with all the travel and the strain of the competition. Few of them have played at this level," Russian Coach Yurii Bystritzkii said. "But they are doing pretty well."

The Russians lost their opener, 2-1, to Norway in Foxboro, Mass., on June 20. They flew to Portland, Ore., for a 5-0 win over Japan on June 23 and then flew back to East Rutherford, N.J., for a 4-1 victory over Canada on June 26.

"We had a very tough, emotional first game against the defending champions," forward Natalia Barbachina said. "But in the second half of the tournament the team has definitely improved. We have a lot more confidence now, and think we can continue to improve."

The Russians did not have much time to prepare for the tournament. Though eight team members play for the Samara club of Russia's professional women's league, Bystritzkii said the players had only about a week together as a national team before heading to the United States.

"That's the major problem," he said. "But the desire of the women to become the top team in the women's world of soccer makes up for the lack of time they could spend together. I try to pack the most into a short amount of time."

Russia has scored nine of its 10 goals in the second half. Those 10 goals were scored by eight players. One of the team's strengths is conditioning.

"That makes it easy for the coach," said Russian goalkeeper Svetlana Petko, one of the Samara club members. "He doesn't have to worry about getting us into condition and can concentrate on teaching tactics and strategy for that particular opponent."

Norway, despite injuries, has displayed offensive flair and balance. The Swedes usually play Norway close and lose, but this might be the best team Sweden has taken to a World Cup.

The Norwegians are more physical and experienced, which often is the difference between the Scandinavian neighbors.

The winners of Wednesday's quarterfinals meet in a semifinal in Foxboro, Mass., on Sunday.

CAPTION: Forward Natalia Barbachina, center, and her well-traveled Russian teammates face China in a World Cup quarterfinal tonight in San Jose.