If the United States isn’t the best soccer team in the world, the American women certainly played like it Tuesday. In doing so, they beat the actual No. 1 team on Earth to advance to the Women’s World Cup finals.
— Mike O'Grady (@EL_Heffe418) July 1, 2015
And once again, the Americans have Carli Lloyd to thank for it.
Lloyd blasted a penalty kick past German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer midway through the second half, and the American defense continued its remarkable play to stop top-ranked Germany 2-0 in the semifinal.
The Americans, who played their best game of the entire tournament, now will face the winner of the Japan-England semifinal for World Cup supremacy on Sunday.
While the U.S. dominated the entire first half with nothing to show for it, it caught a break midway through the second when Germany’s Annike Krahn fouled U.S. forward Alex Morgan just inside the penalty box (or maybe, actually, a little outside of it) to give the Americans a penalty kick.
Then, Lloyd—who notched the game-winning goal vs. China and has recorded a score in each of the past three games—buried her kick in the back of the net.
The Americans received another score when Lloyd fed a perfect ball to Kelley O’Hara, who parried the ball into the net for her first international goal.
The U.S., which has not allowed a goal in 516 minutes of World Cup action, nearly gave away the lead a few minutes before Lloyd’s heroics.
The Germans, who led the World Cup with a total of 20 goals entering the contest, had their best chance when, as they were battling in the box, American defender Julie Johnston pulled down Celia Sasic as she was moving toward the goal. Johnston was given a yellow card, and Sasic was given a penalty kick.
Somehow, this happened.
The U.S. dominated the Germans in the first half, and they had—and couldn’t convert—plenty of chances throughout the first 45 minutes of the game. It was especially impressive considering how aggressive Germany was when the ball was in U.S. territory. Unfortunately for Germany, it didn’t spend much time there in the first half.
Angerer was solid early, never more so than when Morgan had a free run after splitting two German defenders. But Morgan’s shot didn’t have much on it, and Angerer played it well and batted the ball away.
While Germany was struggling to keep the Americans contained for most of the first half, the U.S.’s Morgan Brian and Germany’s Alexandra Popp had a nasty collision, banging their skulls together when they both attempted a header. This was what Popp’s scalp looked like almost immediately afterward.
Speaking to what a joke FIFA‘s concussion policy is, both players were back in the game within minutes of the high-head impact.
Nice concussion protocol. :(
— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner) June 30, 2015
Scary hit at the World Cup. The players are magically back because of soccer's rules that don't promote true concussion evaluation.
— Jon Solomon (@JonSolomonAspen) June 30, 2015
— Robert Flores (@RoFlo) June 30, 2015
But Brian and the rest of her teammates survived. Now, they’ll play for the right to see who actually is the best in the world.Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a U.S. fan’s stunning homage to Brandy Chastain.
Photo via Fox Sports