#WorldCupAtHome: USA overpower Germany in electric Montreal

Carli Lloyd of USA celebrates

USA reached the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ with a 2-0 victory over Germany in the last four, as goals from Carli Lloyd and Kelley O’Hara earned them a final berth for the second successive tournament.

The summary

USA 2-0 Germany
30 June 2015 | Olympic Stadium, Montreal

Goals: 1-0 Lloyd (pen. 69’), 2-0 O’Hara (84’)

Line-ups:

  • USA: Hope Solo, Becky Sauerbrunn, Carli Lloyd (c), Ali Krieger, Lauren Holiday, Alex Morgan (Sydney Le Roux, 90+3’), Morgan Brian, Megan Rapinoe (Abby Wambach, 80’), Tobin Heath (Kelley O’Hara, 75’), Julie Johnston, Meghan Klingenberg
  • Germany: Nadine Angerer (c), Saskia Bartusiak, Leonie Maier, Annike Krahn, Simone Laudehr, Anja Mittag (Dzsenifer Marozsan, 77’), Celia Sasic, Melanie Leupolz, Alexandra Popp, Lena Goessling, Tabea Kemme

The stakes

Of the six Women’s World Cups that had been held up to this point, four had been won by either Germany or USA, each having lifted the title twice. Furthermore, at the time the duo had occupied the top two places in the FIFA Women’s World Ranking for several years. It was safe to say, then, that this semi-final was a contest between the two best teams on the planet.

The story

Unlike in their quarter-final assignment against France, Germany began well. The same was true of the Stars and Stripes, however, and they increasingly dominated as the match progressed. Jill Ellis’s side looked more incisive in the final third and were able to get into Germany’s penalty area, creating the more dangerous chances. Johnston (7’) and Morgan (13’) had the best of them only to be denied by an in-form Angerer, while at the other end of the pitch Germany failed to find any gaps in a solid defence in front of Solo.

USA continued to fashion the best openings in the second half and although Germany struggled to find much rhythm in their build-up play, they did manage to battle their way back into the game. They started to create some good chances too, but neither Mittag’s header (53’) nor Sasic’s penalty (60’) were able to break the deadlock. Shortly afterwards, Lloyd held her nerve from the spot to put USA ahead (69’), sparking a period of pressure from Germany as they sought an equaliser. Yet with the majority of the crowd at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium supporting USA, the Americans held firm and scored a decisive second through O’Hara in the 84th minute.

The star

“She’s having the tournament of her life,” said Wambach of Lloyd in an interview with FIFA.com during the competition, and the statistics certainly supported her claim. The USA No10 had a knack of rising to the occasion at decisive moments in key games. She burst out of the blocks in the final and paved the way for her side’s victory with two strikes in the first five minutes. The central midfielder had also scored the vital opening goals in the quarter-final against China PR and the semi-final against Germany.

Lloyd controlled the game in the middle of the pitch and was always available for a pass. She did not miss a single minute of action in Canada and was voted the Live Your Goals Player of the Match four times. At the end of the competition she was awarded the adidas Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player and the adidas Silver Boot as the second-highest scorer, while her third goal in the final against the Nadeshiko was voted as Goal of the Tournament.

What they said

“We will enjoy this tonight, and then our focus will turn to our next opponent. I’m very proud of the players, and they stepped up tonight. This team has embraced the accountability of defending in every line. We have gritty players at the back, and sophisticated players at the back, and our defensive record is a credit to the team. We played with two defensive midfielders so we could release Carli [Lloyd] and it worked.”
USA coach Jill Ellis

“This was a semi-final with two high level teams playing against each other. Unfortunately we were not dangerous enough around the opponents’ goal and I congratulate the United States. I think two very good teams played against each other, and sometimes in that scenario they neutralise each other, but it was still a good game. This team has given its all today, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.”
Germany coach Silvia Neid

“I just told myself I’d done this a million times in training, that it was important but that I needed to be confident if I was going to put the ball in the back of the net. So I just got hold of the ball, put it down on the spot and focused as hard as I could on it and on what I had to do.”
USA midfielder Carli Lloyd on the moment before she scored the penalty that put her side 1-0 up

“We’re very disappointed that we didn’t make it to the final, of course. We were missing that little bit of luck after probably using up a little too much of it against France. We can definitely be proud of what we’ve achieved and can leave the stadium today with our heads held high despite the result.”
Germany forward Alexandra Popp

Alexandra Popp of Germany looks dejected

What happened next?

USA overcame Japan 5-2 in the final in Vancouver to claim their third Women’s World Cup crown after the successes of 1991 and 1999, while Germany lost the Play-off for Third Place against England. The Stars and Stripes defended their title at the 2019 edition, where Germany were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Sweden.

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