PRE – So here it is, the veritable clash of the titans between the top two ranked nations in the world, for what those are worth. The U.S. have gambled and gone with a 4-3-3, keeping Morgan Brian in the midfield with the returning Lauren Holiday as part of the double pivot behind Carli Lloyd, who should have license to roam forward. Ellis could get skewered though if the tactical change doesn’t work out, especially with the likes of O’Hara and Rodriguez being hauled back to the bench after both impressed against China. Germany get Bartusiak back from suspension but could be on some weary legs after the penalty shootout win. They struggled with some of France’s dynamism in the quarterfinal. Will that be the case again against the U.S.’ explosive attacking personalities?
3′ – First real chance for Germany, as they win a corner after dominating possession for opening minutes. It swings out towards the penalty spot, and Leupolz is wide open for a weak header that goes over.
4′ – Klingenberg clangs a first touch that lets Laudehr intercept and break the other way. The winger passes to Sasic near the top of the box, but her probing ball inside is blocked by Johnston, with the U.S. clearing the danger.
7′ – Real chance for the U.S. off a Rapinoe corner. She delivers near post, and nobody with Germany picks up Johnston’s sharp cut towards the ball, resulting in a free header. It’s a bullet but right at Angerer, and Germany eventually half-clear. Soon after, Brian crosses far post from the far sideline, with Angerer pawing at it and the ball flying wide.
8′ – Kemme darts up the far sideline before driving a hard cross towards the near post. Solo’s not taking any chances and punches it onto the roof of the goal. The corner comes to nothing.
9′ – Long ball to Lloyd, and she holds up before passing square to an open Rapinoe. Rapinoe shakes her way free of the defense before shooting near post at Angerer, but it’s tame and held.
14′ – The U.S. waste a golden chance to go ahead. Heath, just beyond center circle threads a perfect through ball for Morgan, playing on the shoulder of the center-back and whizzing past her. 1v1 with Angerer, she hits it right at the keeper’s legs with the netminder standing on the six. It’s a potentially costly miss.
26′ – It’s been a litany of half-chances and probing since that last golden opportunity. Klingenberg tries to make something happen with a cross towards the six, but Angerer races off her line to catch.
28′ – Holiday kind of, sort of, clips Maier, giving Germany a chance to swing in a dangerous free kick. Goessling floats it in, but the U.S. clears. Popp and Brian collide heads in the box on the way up for it, and Popp is busted wide open, with both going down in pain. Out come the trainers. Both are able to continue after a long delay.
34′ – YELLOW CARD – Germany (Maier) – Rapinoe dispossesses Maier at midfield, and the German responds by dragging her book for an easy booking.
35′ – Another close shave for the German defense. Off a throw by Krieger on the far sideline, Brian backheels to Heath, who dribbles into the box. Germany clear but only to Klingenberg, who shoots and sees it deflected off a German head and mercifully wide for the Europeans with Angerer wrong-footed.
36′ – The Americans have Germany under unyielding pressure. Off a corner, Johnston steps up, dribbles through some pressure, and slots in Morgan, with Germany putting behind again for a corner. Morgan flies in for the corner, but Angerer claws away. The U.S. keep digging, with Heath seeing an effort deflected behind for another corner.
38′ – YELLOW CARD – United States (Sauerbrunn) – The U.S. see the corner cleared, and it ends up on the far flank. For some reason though, someone (?) chooses to play a terrible backpass towards Sauerbrunn, with Mittag pouncing. Sauerbrunn has to scythe her down and take an avoidable booking.
40′ – Kemme shoots wide from distance. It’s the brightest moment offensively for a long time from the Germans. It’s followed a minute later by another optimistic long effort from Mittag that sails over.
43′ – Klingenberg pops it forward for Morgan, who shakes Krahn out of her boots and cuts inside towards the six. She just needs to thread the needle to Heath charging at the six or back to Lloyd at the edge of the area but tries an odd cross that evades everything.
45′ + 2′ – Popp absolutely crushes Rapinoe with a late sweep of the legs. How it’s not a booking is beyond me. John Kreese would be proud.
45′ + 3′ – Germany are playing with fire. Maier, on a yellow, jumps and plants an elbow in the back of Rapinoe’s head. Just a foul.
HT – Unfathomable as it may have seemed before this one, the U.S. are outplaying Germany and unlucky to not be ahead. They’ve created the bulk of the better scoring opportunities and have bossed possession for the most part and looked stout defensively. Germany look short of ideas going forward and have gotten away with some ridiculous fouls. They’ve still got plenty of quality, but they’re also in a hell of a fight at the moment. Big team talks ahead.
47′ – First chance of the second half goes the U.S.’ way. Rapinoe drives a corner towards the penalty spot, with Sasic doing a crap job of marking Lloyd. The midfielder rises and heads just wide. Angerer is not amused.
53′ – Close for Germany. Laudehr cuts inside and crosses to just wide of the penalty spot, where Mittag evades Krieger just long enough to nod a header towards goal. It looks to be going wide, but Solo puts it wide anyway for a corner. U.S. clear the corner halfway, and Maier skies a follow-up shot over.
59′ – MISSED PENALTY – Germany (Sasic) – Controversy and drama all over the place. Leupolz hoofs a ball forward towards Popp, and Johnston lets the ball bounce, giving Popp the opportunity to turn on the jets and get by her. Johnston drags her down by the shoulder. Easy penalty call, with Johnston probably getting off lucky with that being just a yellow since she was the last player. Sasic steps up, and unbelievably, puts it wide of the left post. Amazing scenes.
63′ – Germany still pressing. Laudehr takes a ball on the far flank, beats Klingenberg for pace and crosses towards the top of the box for an open Mittag. The forward hits it first time but just puts it over.
66′ – Klingenberg plays a long ball on the floor to Morgan, who gets into the box and jukes her way through Krahn. She aims for the far post from a tough angle but puts it wide. Would’ve been a great goal.
67′ – PENALTY – United States (Lloyd) – Oh my. Tongues are going to be wagging over this one. Morgan takes it between the lines and dribbles into space. As she’s about to get into the zone, Krahn bodychecks her to the floor. Krahn is booked, and it was definitely a foul, but replay shows it was well outside of the area. Horrendous call. Lloyd steps up and blasts it home, high in the upper-right corner. Advantage Americans.
75′ – SUB – The U.S. brings in O’Hara for Heath, who put in a solid shift. It has to be said, Germany hasn’t made a single sub despite playing a full hundred twenty minutes against France in the quarters.
78′ – SUB – FINALLY, Germany makes a sub, bringing on the hobbled Marozsan for Mittag. A gamble, but likely a necessary one.
79′ – SUB – The U.S. bring in Abby Wambach for Rapinoe. A bit of an odd sub with the Americans ahead and needing energy to press from the front. Will it be a mistake…?
82′ – Maier shoots over. Germany’s attack looks bereft of ideas late on.
84′ – GOAL – United States (O’Hara) – Good night, Gracie. Klingenberg plays it to Lloyd, who’s wide, wide open in the box. She dribbles to the endline and cuts it back to O’Hara who poke volleys it home after stepping in front of Kemme.
90′ + 3′ – SUB – The U.S. make their final sub, and it’s a time wasting one, bringing on Sydney Leroux for Morgan.
FT – The U.S. advances to the World Cup final with a comprehensive win over a dismal Germany side. The formation switch helped the Americans maintain possession, and the energetic pressing helped run a lethargic German team into the ground by match’s end. It has to be said that Germany were a colossal disappointment, having beaten two minnows in the group stage, drawing with Norway in a game they should have won, and then being outplayed against France and the U.S. Silvia Neid coached a horrendous match, using just one of her subs despite her team having gone to penalties a match before. The German attack was wholly uninspired, seemingly unable to create opportunities despite possessing a raft full of alleged top talent. It wasn’t quite the smoothest showing, but the U.S. still were very much worth their win.