After defeating Germany 2-0 in Tuesday’s semifinal match, the U.S. Women’s National Team is moving on to the championship round of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where it will play Japan in a rematch of the 2011 final, which was ultimately lost after the match went to penalty kicks.
Tuesday's game was tied nil-nil at the end of a first half, freckled with close opportunities and strong goalkeeping; but, the pace picked up in the second half when U.S. center back Julie Johnston received a booking for pulling a German striker down by the shoulder inside the box.
In a remarkable stroke of luck for the U.S squad, German forward Celia Sasic—whose name is pronounced, yes, like the familiar, finger-sized pork delicacy—pulled her shot wide-left of the goalpost. It was a momentum swing that completely altered the landscape of the evening.
Ten minutes later, in the 69th minute, team captain Carly Lloyd, who played a superb overall game, capitalized where Germany couldn’t, netting a penalty shot, one that was awarded amid controversy when Germany’s Annike Graham impeded striker Alex Morgan’s run at the edge of the box.
Super-sub Kelly O’Hara finished off the Germans Karate Kid-style by “hi-ya”-ing the ball into the goal on a beautiful cross from, you guessed it, Carly Lloyd in the 84th.
The semifinals of the Women's World Cup, a pool that consisted of Germany, Japan, England and the United States, was certainly a competitive one; however, that pool has been significantly drained, and an exciting opportunity at redemption is fast approaching for the red, white and blue.
Nielsen ratings are through the roof for games featuring the United States during this World Cup, and prominent media figures such as ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg are beginning to use first person-plural pronouns when referring to the USWNT. More than that of any other country, the U.S. population cares immensely about the success of its women’s team. And rightly so, because coach Jill Ellis’ group is right on the edge of glory.
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