Saturday 21 October 2017

USA overcome Germany to reach Women's World Cup final

United States midfielder Tobin Heath (17) celebrates with United States goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris (18) after defeating Germany in the semifinals of the FIFA 2015 Women's World Cup
United States midfielder Tobin Heath (17) celebrates with United States goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris (18) after defeating Germany in the semifinals of the FIFA 2015 Women's World Cup
United States forward Abby Wambach (20) reacts after defeating Germany in the semifinals of the FIFA 2015 Women's World Cup
United States forward Abby Wambach (20) reacts after defeating Germany in the semifinals of the FIFA 2015 Women's World Cup
United States forward Abby Wambach (20) reacts after defeating Germany in the semifinals of the FIFA 2015 Women's World Cup
United States forward Abby Wambach (20) and midfielder Morgan Brian (14) react after the semifinals of the FIFA 2015 Women's World Cup
United States fans cheer after the semifinals against Germany in the FIFA 2015 Women's World Cup
United States team members wave to the crowd after the semifinals against Germany in the FIFA 2015 Women's World Cup
United States team members wave to the crowd after the semifinals against Germany in the FIFA 2015 Women's World Cup
United States defender Kelley O'Hara (5) celebrates with forward Abby Wambach (20) after scoring against Germany during the second half of the semifinals of the FIFA 2015 Women's World Cup
United States fans cheer after the semifinals game against Germany in the FIFA 2015 Women's World Cup
United States midfielder Megan Rapinoe (15) and forward Amy Rodriguez (8) celebrate during the second half of the semifinals of the FIFA 2015 Women's World Cup

The United States reached the Women's World Cup final with a 2-0 victory over fellow international powerhouse Germany in Montreal.

A penalty in the 68th minute, controversially awarded but confidently converted by Carli Lloyd, broke the deadlock after Germany's Celia Sasic had missed a penalty of her own.

Substitute Kelley O'Hara then stabbed in the second goal to ensure Jill Ellis' side will face England or Japan in Sunday's final.

Melanie Leupolz headed over from an early German corner and Alexandra Popp's mishit cross was pushed over by Hope Solo, while Nadine Angerer saved Julie Johnston's header at the other end.

Angerer denied Alex Morgan one-on-one after the striker was sent clear by Tobin Heath's excellent through-ball.

Popp and Morgan Brian both required lengthy treatment after a clash of heads as the American bravely cleared a free-kick. Germany's Leonie Maier then became the first player booked, after fouling Megan Rapinoe.

Meghan Klingenberg's shot was headed away by defender Saskia Bartusiak, hopelessly wrong-footing Angerer but looping well wide. That led to three successive corners, with Morgan and Heath denied in the six-yard box from the second.

American defender Becky Sauerbrunn was booked for hacking down Anja Mittag before Morgan wasted a good chance, side-footing wide with Heath better placed.

Heath was shaken after colliding with the advertising boards, while Popp somehow escaped a booking after flattening Rapinoe.

Popp re-emerged with her head extravagantly bandaged and her rugged and direct style earned Germany a penalty on the hour - Johnston booked for what would be termed a 'horse-collar' challenge in the NFL parlance of her boyfriend, Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz.

Sasic had scored two spot-kicks in the tournament, including in the shoot-out against France in the quarter-final, but she side-footed this one wide as Solo dived the wrong way.

The USA were given their own opportunity from the spot eight minutes later, though Annike Krahn's foul on Morgan was outside the area. That did not bother Lloyd as she stepped up to find the top corner for her third goal in successive games.

And the States made victory safe with six minutes to go when Lloyd jinked through and fired the ball across goal and O'Hara, on for Heath in the 75th minute, flew in to score her first international goal.

England an Japan meet in Edmonton later today, with the winners facing America in Sunday's Vancouver showpiece.

Outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter will not be at that match to present the trophy. A statement from the governing body read: "Due to their current commitments in Zurich, the FIFA president and the FIFA secretary general (Jerome Valcke) will remain at the FIFA headquarters."

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