USA Defeats Germany 2-0, Advance to Women’s World Cup Final
It was a brutal, vicious, bloody battle, but the United States Women National Team took down Germany 2-0 in the Women's World Cup semifinal.
The match started off like many expected. Germany ranked #1 in FIFA's World Rankings, USA #2, and the Germans seemed to control the game during the first ten minutes, moving the ball down the field and taking advantage of a little shakiness from the Americans. As aggressive as the Germans looked, they could never take advantage of their great play to start the match.
To start the game, the USA started in a 4-5-1 formation, a sudden change from USA head coach Jill Ellis's usual 4-4-2. She wanted to focus on preventing Germany from getting too many shots on goal and controlling the midfield, and the change in tactic worked to absolute perfection.
16 minutes into the match, the Americans led the possession battle 53% to 47%. Winning any category against the top-ranked Germans is a feat, but to lead them in possession was a foreshadowing of the outcome of the match.
29 minutes in, the Germans earned a free kick about 35 yards from the goal. The German kicker swung in a beautiful cross to the back post, but was defended well by USA midfielder Morgan Brian. However, Brian collided with German midfielder Alexandra Popp. The tough play left both players injured, including a giant gash in Popp's head, but both were able to return to the game after being looked at by the team doctors.
The lone American striker Alex Morgan made a great run and play in the 44th minute, and was able to get off a chip shot, but missed wide right. That play from Morgan gave the USA a shot of momentum going into half time, and the USA had Germany where they wanted, 0-0.
Through the first 15 minutes of the second half, Germany came out almost identically as they did to start the game, but the Americans were ready and willing to hold off the surge.
At the 60' mark, Germany earned a penalty kick. It was a slightly controversial call, but the more I watch it, the more I think it was the right call.
But regardless of the call, American keeper Hope Solo picked the wrong way on the penalty kick, but the German kicker, Sasic, pulled the ball wide left and the Americans dodged the biggest bullet of the match.
Just seven minutes later, Morgan made yet another great play for the Americans, and this time came up victorious, drawing a foul inside the German's box, earning the USA a penalty kick.
One of the most veteran players on the US roster, Carli Lloyd stepped up to the challenge to take the big penalty. She was ready, and her confident approach to the ball was all the evidence that was needed to know that she would bury the shot.
USA now up 1-0 on the best team in the world.
Just as expected, the US slowed the game down, but Germany wasn't out of energy just yet. They moved the ball well during the next 15 minutes, but could never get off any troubling looks.
That proved to be detrimental.
With the Germans pushing more players up the pitch, the Americans were able to catch them in a counter attack during the 85th minute, and after an absolutely beautiful pass to the corner of the field from Lauren Holiday, the Americans worked the ball around for a bit more, led by the 79th minute sub Abby Wambach, and eventually was able to cross the ball and find the American's first substitute Kelley O'Hara's right foot, and that contact led to the second and final goal of the day.
When all was said and done, after an exhausting effort from both sides, the Americans came away with the win, and will play the winner of Japan and England in the Women's World Cup Final.
The World Cup Final will be played on July 5th at 6:00 PM CST.