US faces Ger­many tonight in World Cup

The two premier coun­tries in women’s soc­cer do bat­tle tonight.

Metro USA (Boston) - - FRONT PAGE - RICH SLATE @RichSlate sports@metro.us

In women’s in­ter­na­tional soc­cer, it doesn’t get much big­ger than what will be on tap Tues­day (7 p.m., Fox) at Mon­treal’s Olympic Sta­dium: the U.S. vs. Ger­many in the 2015 World Cup semi­fi­nals. Many soc­cer ex­perts are treat­ing this as the de facto ti­tle game as Ger­many comes in as the No. 1 ranked team by FIFA and the United States is No. 2. The win­ner, no doubt, will be fa­vored to go all the way as Ja­pan and Eng­land sit on the other side of the bracket.

The Amer­i­cans and Ger­mans have only met three times in pre­vi­ous Women’s World Cups with the U.S. hold­ing a 2-1-0 ad­van­tage (all com­ing in knock­out rounds). The U.S. (1991, 1999) and Ger­many (2003, 2007) are also the most dec­o­rated coun­tries in the World Cup: they are the only teams to have won the ul­ti­mate prize more than once.

“We are fac­ing a match be­tween two top teams that will give noth­ing away,” Ger­man de­fender Leonie Maier said. “It’ll be a very tough bat­tle.”

Though both clubs were ex­pected to reach this point as soon as the groups were un­veiled months ago, each squad had to put in some se­ri­ous work in the quar­ter­fi­nals on Fri­day just to get here. Ger­many was down 1-0 to France with only a few min­utes left in reg­u­la­tion when it tied it on a penalty kick score by star for­ward Celia Sa­sic. The Ger­mans then pre­vailed, 5-4, in penalty kicks (fol­low­ing a score­less ex­tra time, go­ing 5 for 5 in the shootout (the Ger­man have, amaz­ingly enough, never missed one at the World Cup). Goal­keeper Na­dine Angerer stopped France’s Claire Lavo­gez’s shot in the fifth round to end it.

The United States’ 1-0 win over China wasn’t quite as dra­matic. Un­der­rated midfielder Carli Lloyd (who wore the cap­tain’s arm­band that night) scored on a header in the 51st minute and the Amer­i­cans recorded their fourth straight shutout (a team-best 423 straight shutout min­utes and count­ing at this World Cup). De­fender Kel­ley O’Hara and for­ward Amy Ro­driguez were sur­prise starters for the U.S. against China and they brought a no­tice­able spark in their first ac­tion of the tour­na­ment. Midfielder Mor­gan Brian (the youngest player on the U.S. team at 22) also started while Abby Wam­bach only came on as a sub­sti­tute in the fi­nal few mo­ments.

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Julie John­ston and the U.S. women’s soc­cer team will take on Ger­many in the World Cup semis tonight.

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