- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The U.S. national soccer team advanced to the Women’s World Cup final Tuesday by defeating Germany 2-0 in Montreal, securing a spot in the Sunday final and a chance at a third world championship.

Carli Lloyd scored the go-ahead goal in the 67th minute on a penalty kick, sending German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer the wrong way.

“Just slotted it home. I knew what I had to do,” Lloyd told reporters after the game, played before a packed and largely pro-American crowd of 51,000 in a stadium originally built for the 1976 Summer Olympics.

The Germans had missed a penalty kick themselves just eight minutes earlier, when Celia Sasic, the tournament’s leading scorer with six goals in Germany’s previous four games, shot wide after also sending her rival goalie the wrong way.

“Of course, today, she missed,” German coach Silvia Neid said. “There’s always ups and downs in sport.”

And in the 83rd minute, substitute Kelley O’Hara salted the game away, poking the ball home off a cross from Lloyd.

Thanks to the German penalty miss, American goalkeeper Hope Solo has still not let in a goal in the tournament, with the U.S. now undefeated in five games.

The Americans got most of the best chances to score but came up short for the whole scoreless first half, most disappointingly when Angerer stopped a breakaway by Alex Morgan in the 15th minute. And early in the second half, Lloyd had Angerer beaten on a header but it bounced a couple of inches wide.

In a scary moment, American Morgan Brian was left prone on the field for several minutes and Germany’s Alexandra Popp had her hair bloodied when the two collided in front of the U.S. goal after a German first-half free kick. Both players had to leave the field for treatment but returned to the match.

Sunday’s final in Vancouver, against the winner of the Japan-England semi-final set for Wednesday, will be the fourth final for the U.S., having defeated Norway in 1991 and China in 1999 but losing to Japan in 2011.

The U.S. has never failed to make at least the semi-final of the Women’s World Cup. Tuesday’s game was the fourth between the U.S. and Germany at the Women’s World Cup (the third U.S. victory) and in all three previous games, the winner has gone on to lift the trophy.

The two more-recent finals involving the U.S. were both decided on penalty-kick shootouts after the matches ended regulation and extra time tied.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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