The USA is headed back to the Women's World Cup final.
After splitting semifinal encounters in 1991 and 2003, the U.S. ousted Germany 2-0 in a heated clash of the world's No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams in front of more than 51,000 at Montreal's Olympic Stadium to reach Sunday's final in Vancouver. The Americans will play either defending champion Japan in a 2011 final rematch or England.
Just like she did in the quarterfinals against China, Carli Lloyd scored the decisive goal for the USA, doing so from the penalty spot in the 69th minute. Annike Krahn was whistled for fouling Alex Morgan in the Germany area (although replays showed the foul occurred just outside the box), allowing Lloyd to have a chance from the spot. She converted a penalty for the second time during the World Cup and tallying her third goal overall.
Lloyd then set up Kelley O'Hara to ice the game in the 84th minute, taking a pass from Meghan Klingenberg, juking her defender, getting to the end line and then crossing for O'Hara, who one-timed it home.
Lloyd's penalty happened nine minutes after Germany missed a golden chance to take the lead on a penalty of its own, when Julie Johnston was whistled for fouling Alexandra Popp in the U.S. box. She was only given a yellow despite the potential for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity. Celia Sasic, who made the game-tying penalty vs. France in the quarterfinals and another in the penalty shootout, fired wide of the goal, though, even with Hope Solo diving the wrong way.
The chances from the spot happened after a scoreless first half in which both teams attacked with plenty of intent. Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, who was the hero of the penalty shootout win over France, came up with a pair of clutch saves early in the first half to deny the USA. First, she reacted instinctively to rob Julie Johnston of a close-range header off a cross from Megan Rapinoe. A few minutes later, Alex Morgan was played in 1-v-1 by Tobin Heath, but Angerer stuffed her Portland Thorns teammate with a kick save.
The scariest moment of the first half came when USA's Morgan Brian and Germany's Alexandra Popp collided head-to-head while trying to play a free kick in the USA box. Both stayed down on the field for minutes, with Popp suffering a nasty gash on her head, but both ultimately returned soon after.
In shutting out Germany, the USA kept a clean sheet for the fifth straight game and extended its shutout streak to 513 minutes.
Here's how the match unfolded:
DEFENDERS: Lori Chalupny (Chicago Red Stars), Whitney Engen (Western NY Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS: Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
GOALKEEPERS: 1-Nadine Angerer (Portland Thorns FC), 12-Almuth Schult (Wolfsburg), 21-Laura Benkarth (Freiburg)
DEFENDERS: 2-Bianca Schmidt (1. FFC Frankfurt), 3-Saskia Bartusiak (1. FFC Frankfurt), 4-Leonie Maier (Bayern Munich), 5-Annike Krahn (Paris St-Germain), 14-Babett Peter (Wolfsburg), 15-Jennifer Cramer (1. FFC Turbine Potsdam), 17-Josephine Henning (Paris St-Germain), 22-Tabea Kemme (1. FFC Turbine Potsdam)
MIDFIELDERS: 6-Simone Laudehr (1. FFC Frankfurt), 7-Melanie Behringer (Bayern Munich), 9-Lena Lotzen (Bayern Munich), 10-Dzsenifer Marozsan (1. FFC Frankfurt), 16-Melanie Leupolz (Bayern Munich), 20-Lena Goessling (Wolfsburg), 23-Sara Dabritz (Freiburg)
FORWARDS: 8-Pauline Bremer (1. FFC Turbine Potsdam), 11-Anja Mittag (FC Rosengard), 13-Celia Sasic (1. FFC Frankfurt), 18-Alexandra Popp (Wolfsburg), 19-Lena Petermann (Freiburg).