US defeats China, advances to World Cup semis

OTTAWA-The locomotive that is the US women’s soccer team picked up steam Friday night with a 1-0 win over China in the Women’s World Cup.

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(Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP).

After being criticised for sluggish play earlier in the tournament, the United States looked much sharper and pressured the Chinese from the start, with only some wayward finishing preventing them from getting on the score sheet.

It was the first World Cup win on penalty kicks for the German women.

Johnston turned and drilled a long cross into the box, where Lloyd outjumped her defender and directed a ideal header into the bottom right corner. The United States was playing China in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“I think they did great, trying hard to the very last second”, said China coach Hao Wei after China’s first appearance in the knock-out stage in eight years at the World Cup. “Now having the freedom to attack and do what I do best enabled me to create some chances”.

“We all know what she’s capable of”. China only managed two shots on goal, easily corralled by Solo as the Americans stretched their streak to four clean sheets and 423 minutes without conceding a goal. Solo set a record for a USA goalkeeper with her 134th win, passing Briana Scurry.

Six minutes later, Delran’s Carli Lloyd put a header into the back of the net, sending the US on to the semifinals, where it will meet top-ranked Germany on Tuesday.

Angerer, who plays for US club Portland Thorns, made the only block of the shootout as her team triumphed 5-4.

“The energy and confidence we had when we moved the ball, the players are really excited”, the USA manager said.

Wambach played just four minutes off the bench in the quarterfinal, but she nearly didn’t get that.

Midfielder Kelley O’Hara – 6: She was useful, generally staying wide on the flank and allowing the U.S.to open more of the field while forcing China to spread itself more than it would have liked. Before the team took the field after halftime, Wambach told her teammates, “The first 10 minutes, we get a [expletive] goal!” That left the jam-packed crowd of 24,141 noticeably unsettled. “I want to have a legacy”.

“I don’t think it impacts the players at this level”.

And on they went, wave after wave, until Lloyd went airborne, catapulting her team to the semifinals. Ali Krieger, one of the other anchors of that defense, joined Johnston in marauding mode and almost added her own goal in the second half, drilling an incredible shot from distance that just hit the post.

Wambach was impassioned in her plea for a goal as the United States came out of the break. She penetrated deeper into the offensive end more than previously. “Super proud of Carli and Hope today”.

Champions Japan play 10th-ranked Australia in their quarter-final in Edmonton on Saturday (0600, Sunday AEST), the same day England tackle hosts Canada in Vancouver.

The Americans face a considerable challenge against Germany, which lost to Japan in overtime in the 2011 quarter finals. Germany played a 1-1 draw with France for 120 minutes before prevailing in tiebreaking penalty kicks 5-4.

In truth, the United States has dominated this matchup for more than a decade, going unbeaten against China, the No. 16 team in the world, in the teams’ previous 23 matches dating to 2003.

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“Every stage of this tournament, it’s a new tournament”.

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