In a hard-fought match, the USA triumphed 2-0 over Germany to secure a spot in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final.
The semifinal in Montreal was an incredible match, #1 Germany versus #2 USA duking it out in a high-energy, high-stakes thriller. With a handful controversial moments, there is no shortage of talking points.
Starting out the match, US coach Jill Ellis finally switched to a 4-3-3 formation, a move which was widely called for by analysts and pundits. And it would seem to work out; with Carli Lloyd in a more offensive position, the US attack clicked much better than it had been in previous matches this tournament.
The first 10 minutes of the first half were very fast paced, and this tone would continue throughout the game. Both teams pressed high and put on a lot of pressure, forcing a lot of turnovers. The first half was very much an end to end affair, with both sides attacking and counterattacking at high pace.
The first great chance of the game was in the 15th minute, as Tobin Heath’s masterful through pass saw Alex Morgan one-on-one with Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, but Morgan’s shot was directly at Angerer and was deflected wide. In the 20th minute, off of a German free kick there was a bad head-to-head collision between the USA’s Morgan Brian and Germany’s Alexandra Popp, however both players did continue after being assessed by team doctors. The remainder of the first half played out very back and forth, both the USA and Germany sharing a pretty equal portion of possession, with the US having a slight edge in chances created.
The second half is where events in the match started to really pick up. In the 58th minute, Julie Johnston dragged down a German player in the box (I say “dragged” but I didn’t think there was that much contact) and conceded a penalty and was booked in the process, but only a yellow card was given. Johnston was the last player, so theoretically taking away that goalscoring opportunity should result in a red card. As Celia Sasic stepped up to the spot, Hope Solo walked out of her net and said a few things to Sasic, and perhaps these mind games worked. Solo guessed the wrong way but Sasic shot just wide, which was apparently the first time ever that Germany has missed a penalty in the Women’s World Cup.
Germany fought back after missing the penalty, having several good scoring chances. Despite all these great chances though, Germany only managed one shot on target all match out of fifteen shots. But then, in the 67th minute, there was another controversial penalty at the other end of the field. Alex Morgan was taken down hard and awarded a penalty, but upon review appeared to be outside the box when contact was made. Carli Lloyd converted this penalty coolly to put the US up 1-0. Kelley O’Hara was brought on in the 75th minute, and she’d soon make a breakthrough. In the 85th minute a Carli Lloyd cross found the boot of O’Hara who scored her first ever USWNT goal to put the US up 2-0.
Something that was confusing to me was that Germany coach Silvia Neid did not use her three substitutes after falling behind on the scoreline. The only change that was made by the Germans was bringing on Dzsenifer Marzosan, who is carrying an ankle injury, in the 77th minute.
The US gave a truly solid performance tonight, and are deserving of a chance at that elusive third star. They will play the winner of the England/Japan semifinal match on July 1 in the Women’s World Cup Final. The work is not done yet—it’s just begun, and the US have to give 110% if they want to hoist that trophy.
--Brandon Addeo (@baddeo95 on Twitter)
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