Montreal - Carli Lloyd lifted the United States to a
dramatic 2-0 win over Germany in the Women's World Cup semi-finals and warned a
record third title was within their grasp.
In Frankfurt four years ago, Lloyd was one of three US
players who missed in the shoot-out as Japan won the final 3-1 on penalties
after the scores were locked at 2-2 at the end of extra-time.
But on Tuesday night, with the passionate cheers of 51,000
largely US fans resounding around Montreal's Olympic Stadium, Lloyd sank her
penalty to open the scoring in a win that sent top-ranked Germany packing.
It set up a final showdown in Vancouver on July 5 with
either champions Japan or England, who play their semi-final on Wednesday.
And Lloyd warned: "We didn't come here to make the
final, we came to win it and we've going to go after it in the next game."
Lloyd followed her 67th-minute penalty by setting up
substitute Kelley O'Hara to score six minutes from time. It was Lloyd's third
goal in three games and the first ever international goal for defender O'Hara.
Also read: US striker accuses referee
The evening was even more dramatic as Germany's Celia Sasic
-- the tournament's top scorer with six goals -- missed a penalty on the
"I think I've been taking PKs (penalty kicks) after
training for the last seven to eight months," explained Lloyd.
"Just repetition after repetition. I don't know what
was going on around me. I put the ball down and I knew I had to sink this
- 'Dream come true' -
Lloyd was a teenager when she watched the United States win
their last title at home in 1999. They won their first in 1991 in China.
"I was a young girl at the time. I remember at Giants
Stadium watching the women play, thinking to myself 'this would be a dream come
true to be a part of a team like this'," said the 32-year-old.
"Never did I think it was really possible, let alone
doing it for the last 10 years on this team.
"It's really an honour and winning a World Cup would be
an absolute dream come true."
European champions Germany had a golden chance when US
defender Julie Johnston pulled down Alexandra Popp in the box and was lucky not
to see red.
But Sasic send her low spot-kick just wide of the US goal,
to tears of relief from Johnston.
"It's a team sport and today my team saved me. I messed
up, and they got me out of it," said Johnston, 23, who is playing her
first World Cup.
The Americans were then awarded a contested penalty when
Alex Morgan was brought down by defender Annike Krahn in a tackle that looked
outside the box.
And Lloyd made no mistake as Nadine Angerer dived the wrong
way in the Germany goal.
Fifteen minutes later, Lloyd pulled clear of her marker to
run down the field, crossing to O'Hara, whose close-range winner sealed the fate
of two-time champions Germany.For
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