Wambach wants World Cup
American doesn’t care whether she starts
With the title match looming, Abby Wambach isn't mincing words.
“All I care about is winning this World Cup,” she said.
The star U.S. forward is playing in her fourth Women's World Cup, and she says it will be her last. A victory Sunday in the final against Japan would be the perfect ending to her World Cup career.
It would also solidify a legacy. Wambach, who has been on the national team for 15 years, has scored 183 goals, more than any other player, male or female, in the world. Of those, 77 have come on headers.
She was the 2012 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year, the game's highest honour. And she has two Olympic gold medals.
What she doesn't have is a World Cup title.
“For this being her last one, I will do whatever it takes to get the job done,” vowed midfielder Carli Lloyd, who leads the Americans with three goals.
The 35-year old Wambach has seen her role change at this World Cup. She isn't starting every match, at times coming in off the bench. She has just one goal so far in the monthlong event, the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Nigeria in the group stage.
The United States, ranked No. 2 in the world, finished atop its group in Canada before victories over Colombia and China set up a thrilling 2-0 semifinal victory over top-ranked Germany on Tuesday night.
The final Sunday against Japan at Vancouver's BC Place is a rematch of the 2011 championship match in Germany, when the United States fell on penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw.
So far it's been an eventful tournament for Wambach. She's started three matches and come off the bench for three. She hadn't played as a substitute in a World Cup match since her first tournament appearance in 2003.
Coming in as a sub in a 0-0 draw with Sweden during the group stage, she gave the Americans one of their best scoring chances, a header that goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl popped up and over the crossbar.
United States’ Abby Wambach celebrates her teams win over Nigeria following the second half FIFA World Cup soccer action in Vancouver, B.C. on June 16.