The USWNT Unites At The Right TimeBeating Germany was always going to be a tough task, but now the Final beckons for the US
by Katherine Rupp | Wednesday, July 01, 2015
For the Semis in the WWC this year, #1 Germany took on #2 United States while #4 Japan takes on #6 England on July 1. In one of the best matches – in terms of numerical FIFA ranking – the Germany vs. USA matchup was one for the ages, and it wasn’t even a Final. Similar to the Germany vs. France game – two teams who were expected, amongst themselves and many pundits – many who said would win the Germany vs. USA game would win the World Cup.
Now that may not be true, as Japan and England have strong teams ready for a Final – one having won the 2011 edition and look for holding the title again, while the other could be advancing as far as they’ve ever been (of which, this is England’s first time (men’s or women’s team) in nearly a decade of making the semis) to the Finals.
Turning attention to the Germany vs. USA game, it was much more controlled, exciting, and end-to-end than many could have thought (or may that many would have wanted) when this specific game’s participants were known. Although the first little bit of the first half the German women were more dominant, the US women came back and possessed and took the game at the Germans with that US might that many are used to.
Although neither team played at their best – though both, arguably, had their best XI (finally, for the US) on the pitch – they showed that they are deserving of being #1 and #2 ranked in the world of women’s football.
The Germans, although were a bit quieter during the first half, certainly came out ready for the win in the second half with a bit higher pressing and more of an attack-minded show. However, after the missed penalty from Germany’s Celia Sasic, the US women seemed to get a pep in their collective step and go at the Germans again as they had during most of the first half.
And with a Carli Lloyd penalty that was really questionable – with how Lloyd even was able to take the penalty (with a collision ‘near’ the 18-yard box), the US women upped their game. And Kelley O’Hara joined in the fun when she subbed in for midfielder Tobin Heath and ended up on the right end of a Carli Lloyd pass and scored the second goal for the US.
What should be noted, and often isn’t, is the defense – Ali Krieger, Julie Johnston, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Meghan Klingenberg – as well as the defensive midfielder (a la a Kyle Beckerman type if comparing to the US men’s side) who was tremendous, Morgan Brian. The back five (including goalkeeper Hope Solo) and Brian have been fantastic this tournament, not just during this semifinal.
And now the real test commences: seeing who the US will play, as well as the waiting and preparing and scouting for the Final, and finally – the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final. With the US clearly peaking at the right time, it’ll be interesting to see who the women will play in the Final for a tough matchup: Japan – which would be a rematch of the 2011 Women’s World Cup or; England – America’s cousin’s from across the pond (which would make for an interesting Independence Day weekend, that’s for sure) who are trying to grow the women’s game in the country.
Regardless of the opponent, with how the US looks when all players are working together, it’s a dangerous team and Japan or England – along with the US – should be ready for a fantastic Women’s World Cup Final.