The business end of the 2015 Women’s World Cup semi-final, will see USA tussle out against Germany. For a match worthy of a final, the world number two and number one respectively are pitted a round earlier, much to the disappointment of masses; who dreamt of seeing the old foes in the Vancouver showdown.
It will be a game of a tight defence against a prolific attack. The Stars and Stripes boast the tightest defence, having only conceded once, while Die Nationalelf have been scoring for fun, recording as many as 20 goals to date.
Team News –
Defender Christie Rampone sat out yesterday’s training with a mild quad strain, but was only a precautionary measure. Midfielders Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe, who sat out Friday’s triumph over China in Ottawa through suspension, will be eligible for selection again.
Germany’s semi-final preparations were dealt a massive blow, with star midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsán a doubt for the Montreal encounter. The 23-year-old Frankfurt star, who converted her sides’ fourth penalty in the shootout against France, has a hyperextended left ankle, and will be assessed closely.
Key Players –
Hope Solo –
Attacking wins matches, defending wins trophies. USWNT have conceded just one goal, which came in their first game against Australia. And veteran Seattle Reign custodian Hope Solo has been the dominant force behind The Yanks, marshaling the back four. The 33-year-old has made 11 saves in the World Cup, and her nation will ‘Hope’ for another clinical shutout from the two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Had it not been for niggling injuries to first choice centre-halves Christie Rampone and Whitney Engen, Julie Johnston would still be a backup option for Jill Ellis. Grabbing the opportunity that came her way, Johnston has ousted the aforementioned two from the starting eleven, and has arguably been USWNT‘s most standout performer. At just 23, the Chicago Red Stars defender has already tasted grand success, having captained her nation to 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. The adaptable defender has showcased excellent poise and maturity; while her pairing with Becky Sauerbrunn has seen Team USA go on a streak of 423 minutes without conceding. It was notably her hoof-cum-cross that saw captain Carli Lloyd net the winner against China.
The aphorism Captain Leader Legend fits Nadine Angerer perfectly. At the age of 36, Angerer shows no signs of stopping. It’s simple, if USA have Solo, Germany have Angerer. Guarding the sticks for her nation since 1996 and starting 3 World Cup’s, winning the 2015 edition would be a fitting tribute for the Portland Thorns shot stopper. It was a widespread consideration that a female goalkeeper is a team’s vulnerability; but the former Bayern Munich veteran has defied such claims, bagging the FIFA World Player of the Year. Arguably the best female goalkeeper the world will ever see.
A Bundesliga debutant at 14, Golden Boot winner of the U-17 Women’s World Cup, and Golden Ball winner at the U-20 World Cup, all rolled into one is Germany number 10 Dzsenifer Marozsan. Seen as Die Nationalelf’s future captain, Marozsan bossed the midfield despite coming off the bench against Germany’s resounding 4-1 victory over Sweden. The Frankfurt midfielder scored an unbelievable long ranger in the win, and while many claim it to be fluke, it has to be intended since it came of Marozsan’s magic foot. She is a doubt for the semi-final, but there would be no bigger boost if the hugely talented 23-year-old makes it.
– The two giants of women’s football have met in the world finals thrice
– Celia Sasic is the tournament’s top scorer with six goals.
– Germany have scored 20 goals in the competition
– USA have not conceded in 423 minutes.
Rapinoe will return to her left-wing position after serving suspension, meaning one of Heath or O’Hara will drop out. Morgan Brian was phenomenal in Holiday’s absence, and will retain her place. Holiday might get a shot if A-Rod is sacrificed for a 4-2-3-1.
Germany will field the same side that saw-off France. The suspended Saskia Bartusiak is available, but Babett Peter should retain the place.
A tough to predict game. There is absolutely no separating the two sides. I see this game going into extra-time, maybe penalties. USA’s attack has been blunt, while Germany’s free-scoring attack will face the hard to breach American defence.
1-0 to USA.
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