And on to the final...
This is a sort of “in cased you missed it” type of post game review… and if you missed it, I am so sorry because this USWNT performance and win was the most exciting and fun to watch game they’ve played all tournament!!
USWNT head coach Jill Ellis had a lot of thinking to do before tonight’s match. First off she had to decide who to choose to play in her starting eleven, how they will stop the powerhouse German offense, and how they are going to score a goal, and maybe even more than one. At the end of the 90 minutes it is safe to say that all of her decisions were absolutely SPOT ON. Not starting the most experienced player in Abby Wambach and playing with three central midfielders were two decisions that really paid off for the US.
Despite all the great work from Jill, we must credit her players who played tremendously and worked their socks off to keep Germany from getting any real threating chances. Although Hope Solo was not challenged much tonight, we can give her the props in psyching out German Striker Célia Šašić before her penalty. Solo was lucky to stay out of the book after she wondered off away from her goal while Šašić was standing at the spot waiting to take the penalty. It is possible that this little head game from Solo paid off as the striker skewed her shot wide.
Alex Morgan had a few great chances to put her team ahead in the early stages of the game but the German goalkeeper, Nadine Angerer made some impressive saves which kept the game scoreless in the first half. It is easy to get discouraged as a striker missing clear cut chances to put your team ahead, especially in a World Cup semi- final, and only Morgan’s second. She showed some maturity and mental strength and kept plugging, eventually earning her team a penalty of their own in the 67th minute. USWNT veteran and captain, Carli Lloyd stepped up to the spot and coolly placed the ball into the corner giving the US a one goal lead! With 20 minutes still left to play, there was still work to be done for the US. Instead of defending for the remaining minutes of the second half, they instead kept possession in the offensive third and took it to the Germans. It was Lloyd again who shined for the US. She took on a defender one on one in the 18 and played a cheeky ball into the six- yard box where substitute Kelley O’ Hara’s run arrived right on queue and finished to put the Americans two goals ahead in the 87th. Finally a convincing victory for the United States, which puts them into the World Cup final! Here is a chance to redeem themselves in their loss against Japan in the final of 2011.
Will it be a World Cup Final rematch? Hope everyone enjoys the game tonight, at 7:00pm Japan vs. England!
The United States will play in the Final on Sunday, July 5th at 7pm, opponent TBD.
contribution: Justin Lewis