Germany put on the spot, stroll for US

The United States dominated the Women's World Cup quarter-final against China, but had only one goal from midfielder Carli Lloyd (above) to show for their efforts in their triumph in Ottawa. Disappointed France midfielder Claire Lavogez bites Jessica
The United States dominated the Women's World Cup quarter-final against China, but had only one goal from midfielder Carli Lloyd (above) to show for their efforts in their triumph in Ottawa. PHOTO: REUTERS
The United States dominated the Women's World Cup quarter-final against China, but had only one goal from midfielder Carli Lloyd (above) to show for their efforts in their triumph in Ottawa. Disappointed France midfielder Claire Lavogez bites Jessica
Disappointed France midfielder Claire Lavogez bites Jessica Houara's shirt after her miss in the penalty shoot-out gives victory to Germany in Montreal.PHOTO: EPA

After seeing off France and China, the two powerhouses set up mouthwatering s-final

Ottawa - Footballing giants Germany and the United States advanced to a much-anticipated semi-final clash in the Women's World Cup on Friday by beating France and China respectively.

But the world's top two teams moved on to the final four in contrasting fashion.

Top-ranked Germany, winners in 2003 and 2007, won a dramatic penalty shoot-out 5-4 to break French hearts after the tie ended 1-1 after 120 minutes in Montreal.

The US, champions in 1991 and 1999, overpowered China 1-0 in front of a largely American crowd of 24,000 fans at Ottawa's Lansdowne Stadium, thanks to a second-half Carli Lloyd goal.

The scoreline was deceptive as the young Chinese "Steel Roses" were no match for the world's No. 2-ranked team.

"It was just great, the more pressure we put China under, the more they coughed the ball up," said Lloyd, who earned her 200th cap in the game.

"We just kept our foot down on the pedal and that was just what we needed. We're going to be flying in the next game."

Although the Germans played 30 minutes more than the Americans, US coach Jill Ellis does not expect that to hamper them in Tuesday's game in Montreal.

"They're Germans, it won't be a disadvantage for them," quipped Ellis. "I don't think it impacts the players at this level.

"Everyone who steps on this pitch will be committed to playing."

China coach Hao Wei blamed himself for their 25th consecutive defeat by the Americans, who beat them in the 1999 final.

"We lost the game because of me," he said. "These girls did their best. I didn't do well in tactics.

"Our goal was to go to the semi-finals. We didn't fulfil that, so it's a pity."

Germany got past France thanks to the solid hands of goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, who cleared the final penalty of 20-year-old substitute Claire Lavogez.

France had strong support among the crowd of just under 25,000 in the largely French-speaking city of Montreal.

Louisa Necib, dubbed the "Female Zidane" of the French women's game, could only rue a missed chance to score after just 49 seconds, before she finally nailed the opener on 64 minutes.

"We were better, we dominated and they're going to play the semi-final," she said.

"It's always the same feeling when you lose - disappointment."

Celia Sasic levelled for Germany with a penalty six minutes from time, and in extra time, substitute Gaetane Thiney wasted a late chance to put France into the last four for the second straight time.

"We're extremely elated, full of adrenaline right now," said Angerer, 36, a former world player of the year who was on Germany's 2003 and 2007 title-winning teams.

"It was hard work. We had to fight really hard and we were rewarded."

Germany, who were shocked in the quarter-finals of their home tournament in 2011, live to fight for a place in their fifth final.

For the US, it will be a seventh consecutive semi-final.

The two teams will be meeting for a fourth time, with the winner going on to win the tournament in each of the three previous times.

AFP

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 28, 2015, with the headline 'Germany put on the spot, stroll for US'. Print Edition | Subscribe