MONTREAL: Germany and the US clash in Montreal on Tuesday for the first final berth of the Women’s World Cup with champions Japan and England playing their semi-final in Edmonton on Wednesday.
As the tournament enters the final stages, the world order remains unchanged with the only absence being third-ranked France who came up against top-ranked Germany in the quarter-finals, losing 5-4 on penalties after the tie ended 1-1 after extra time.
Holders Japan are ranked fourth and take on England, two places below them, while Sweden, in fifth, also fell by the wayside to Germany 4-1 in the last-16.
Australia, the lowest ranked team in the quarter-finals at tenth, were beaten 1-0 by Japan.
Germany and the US, ranked second behind the European champions, have split four of the six titles the tournament has had to offer since the inaugural edition in China 1991.
Both will be bidding to stay in the running for a record third title in Vancouver on July 5.
The US won in China and took a second in 1999 at home, with Germany winning back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2007.
Germany will have to show that they have recovered from their tough 120 minutes of football against France.
“The next task won’t be any easier but we are among the best four teams in the world and we’re feeling good so maybe there is some life left in us to go on,” said Germany coach Silvia Neid.
Neid’s side has scored the most goals in the competition with 20 — ten in their opener against the Ivory Coast — but the US, with Hope Solo in goal, have conceded just one in their opening game against Australia.
Germany’s Celia Sasic is the top scorer with six goals, and they also have former world goalkeeper of the year Nadine Angerer, who proved her reliability in the penalty shootout against France.
Coach Jill Ellis’ Americans are riding high after their win over 1999 finalists China.
“This game was huge going into our semi-final match,” said Carli Lloyd. “The confidence was slowly building after this game it really, really helped us. Everybody is feeling so good collectively.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2015.
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