She did it again. For the second straight match, Abby Wambach came up with a header to score an important goal for the U.S. This time it was in the 79th minute to put the U.S. ahead of France in a semifinal they would go on to win 3-1, putting the Americans in the Women's World Cup final for the first time since they won it in 1999.
The U.S. took an early lead when Lauren Cheney scored in just the ninth minute, but France's undeniable skill and relentless shots from distance proved troublesome after that, and for a long stretch, the U.S. were outplayed. France eventually found an equalizer in the 55th minute when a ball intended to be a cross from Sonia Bompastor found the inside of the far post. But, once again, the U.S. fought back. Wambach pounded in her header off a corner kick and super-subs Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan sealed it three minutes later when the former set up the latter to put a chip over France's woeful keeper and in the net to make it 3-1.
The U.S. team again worked until the final minute, maintained their composure and kept their focus and again it paid off with a win. After the game, several players stated that they knew they were going to win. "Confidence comes from our preparation, because we know we're damn good," Hope Solo said matter of factly when interviewed by ESPN.
No team has ever lost a group stage match in the Women's World Cup and gone on to win the tournament, but the U.S. and Abby Wambach's headers will have a chance to do that Sunday against Japan.
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- Abby Wambach
- Lauren Cheney