MONTREAL: Carli Lloyd lifted the US to a dramatic 2-0 win over Germany in the Women’s World Cup semi-finals and warned a record third title was within their grasp.
In Frankfurt four years ago, Lloyd was one of three US players who missed in the shoot-out as Japan won the final 3-1 on penalties after the scores were locked at 2-2 at the end of extra-time.
But on Tuesday night, with the passionate cheers of 51,000 largely US fans resounding around Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, Lloyd sank her penalty to open the scoring in a win that sent top-ranked Germany packing.
And Lloyd warned, “We didn’t come here to make the final, we came to win it and we’ve going to go after it in the next game.”
Lloyd followed her 69th-minute penalty by setting up substitute Kelley O’Hara to score six minutes from time. It was Lloyd’s third goal in three games and the first ever international goal for defender O’Hara.
The evening was even more dramatic as Germany’s Celia Sasic — the tournament’s top scorer with six goals — missed a penalty on the hour-mark.
European champions Germany had a golden chance when US defender Julie Johnston pulled down Alexandra Popp in the box and was lucky not to see red.
But Sasic send her low spot-kick just wide of the US goal, to tears of relief from Johnston. “It’s a team sport and today my team saved me. I messed up, and they got me out of it,” said Johnston, 23, who is playing her first World Cup.
The Americans were then awarded a contested penalty when Alex Morgan was brought down by defender Annike Krahn in a tackle that looked outside the box.
And Lloyd made no mistake as Nadine Angerer dived the wrong way in the Germany goal.
Fifteen minutes later, Lloyd pulled clear of her marker to run down the field, crossing to O’Hara, whose close-range winner sealed the fate of two-time champions Germany.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2015.
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