MONTREAL (AFP) - An inspired performance from Carli Lloyd lifted the United States into their second straight Women's World Cup final with a 2-0 win over top-ranked Germany on Tuesday.
In a battle between the world's top two teams, the United States dominated in front of 51,000 largely US supporters at Montreal's Olympic Stadium but could not find the breakthrough as the match remained goalless at the break.
Drama was to unfold in the second half as Germany's Celia Sasic missed a penalty kick on 60 minutes. That miss was to prove costly with Lloyd converting her spot kick nine minutes later for the opening goal.
Defender Kelley O'Hara then sealed victory with her first-ever goal for the Americans six minutes from time.
It was the fourth World Cup meeting between the two superpowers - the Americans won 5-2 in 1991 and 3-2 in 1999, with Germany winning 3-0 in 2003 - and each time the winner went on to take the title.
Said US captain Lloyd, 32: "I came here to win this thing not just be a participant that played in a World Cup. It's a good feeling. I've a really confident feeling in us winning it."
The Americans, winners in 1991 and 1999, were losing finalists four years ago when they lost to Japan in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
Japan and England play their semi-final in Edmonton on Wednesday. The final will be held in Vancouver on July 5.
Said US coach Jill Ellis: "We're in a World Cup final, one opponent stands in our way and for me it doesn't matter who it is. We'll take either (England or Japan)."
Germany had been bidding for a record third title and to match their men's team who won the World Cup in Brazil last year.
The European champions had a golden chance to seize control of the match when US defender Julie Johnston pulled down Alexandra Popp as the midfielder slipped in on the blindside.
But Sasic, the tournament's top scorer with six goals, dragged her low shot wide of the US goal.
The Americans were then awarded a contested penalty when forward Alex Morgan was brought down by defender Annike Krahn in a tackle that looked outside the box.
This time, Lloyd made no mistake, sending opposing keeper Nadine Angerer the wrong way for her third goal in as many games.
As the Germans pushed for the equaliser, the US struck again. Lloyd pulled clear of her marker and crossed for substitute O'Hara, who made no mistake from close range.
The decision to award the penalty was wrong, said Germany coach Silvia Neid.
"It was clearly outside of the area and it can be seen quite clearly on television. I'm very sad about it but I can't change it.
"It was a great semi-final between two very strong teams at high level. Unfortunately we were not dangerous enough when it came to the goal area and congratulations to the United States."
On Sasic's miss, she said: "We're going to have to support Celia. She shot two penalties against France. Today she missed. That type of thing happens in sport. She will have gotten over that by Saturday."
Germany will contest the third-place playoff in Edmonton on Saturday.