US heads to World Cup final with 2-0 win over Germany
MONTREAL (AP) — Carli Lloyd buried a penalty kick, Hope Solo got another shutout and the United States beat top-ranked Germany 2-0 on Tuesday night to advance to the title match at the Women's World Cup.
Lloyd's penalty kick in the 69th minute went into the right side of the goal less than 10 minutes after Celia Sasic shot wide on a penalty kick for Germany.
"Just slotted it home. I knew what I had to do," Lloyd said.
Solo has posted five straight shutouts for the United States in the tournament. Kelley O'Hara came in off the bench and scored in the 85th minute, delighting the pro-American crowd.
The second-ranked United States will play the winner of Wednesday night's match in Edmonton between defending champion Japan, ranked No. 4, and sixth-ranked England. The final is set for Sunday at Vancouver's BC Place.
"It's a dream come true," Lloyd said. "This is what we trained for."
It was the fourth World Cup meeting between Germany and the U.S. In each of the first three games, the winner went on to win the title.
The marquee matchup led to lines of fans waiting to get in about three hours before the game. The line for the main souvenir stand snaked up a half-dozen ramps to the building's third level at one point.
The stadium built for the 1976 Olympics, where the East German men won the gold medal, was filled nearly to its blue fabric roof, mostly with fans cheering for the United States. The crowd was announced at 51,176.
Previous games in Montreal had the stadium less than half full, with the upper bowl completely empty.
The United States had several good chances from the start. Julie Johnston missed on a header off a corner kick from Megan Rapinoe, and Alex Morgan's breakaway in the 15th minute was stopped by goaltender Nadine Angerer.
There was a scary moment in the first half when Germany's Alexandra Popp and American midfielder Morgan Brian collided in front of the U.S. goal following a free kick from about 25 yards out.
Television cameras caught blood in Popp's hair, and Brian was prone on the field for several minutes. Both players returned to the match.
After a scoreless first half, Lloyd had a header bounce inches wide to open the second.
Sasic's penalty kick came after Johnston fouled Popp in the box. Sasic fooled Solo, who went right, but her kick went wide left, prompting a roar from the crowd.
Sasic went into the match as the tournament's high scorer with six goals.
Shortly thereafter, Annike Krahn got a yellow card for fouling Morgan in the box, but replays showed it occurred just outside. Lloyd's penalty kick was her third goal in three matches.
O'Hara scored on Lloyd's left-footed cross.
The United States tweaked its formation for the match. Morgan started up top, with Lloyd as an attacking midfielder with Rapinoe and Tobin Heath on the wings.
The U.S. had success in its quarterfinal against China when it had Lloyd roaming up top and Brian back as a holding midfielder. Lloyd scored the lone goal in the 1-0 victory.
The United States improved to 3-1 against Germany in World Cup matches and 19-4-7 overall.
The United States has won two World Cup titles, but none since 1999. The Americans have appeared in the semifinals of all seven of the women's tournaments.
Germany has also won the title twice, in consecutive tournaments in 2003 and '07.
This tournament has played out with FIFA embroiled in scandal.
Earlier Tuesday, FIFA confirmed that President Sepp Blatter would skip theWorld Cup final, as U.S. officials pursue a criminal investigation into the game's ruling body.
Blatter's second-in-command, secretary general Jerome Valcke, also will be absent from the biggest event in women's soccer "due to their current commitments in Zurich," FIFA said in a statement Tuesday.