MONTREAL • Coach Silvia Neid had hoped Germany still had some luck left after snatching a semi-final berth at football's Women's World Cup by beating France on penalties.
But, on Tuesday, she admitted it was not to be as two poor decisions by Romanian referee Teodora Albon contributed to a 0-2 loss to the United States.
Instead of the final, Neid's world No. 1 team are now preparing for a third-place play-off to leave the tournament with their "heads held high".
Germany's Celia Sasic, the tournament's top scorer with six goals, missed a penalty kick on 60 minutes. It was awarded when US defender Julie Johnston pulled down Alexandra Popp in the box, an offence for which she should have been sent off.
ALL IN A DAY'S WORK
I think it's just a part of the game in terms of the officials, so whether I'm on the receiving end or the other end, it's not something I usually comment or criticise.
JILL ELLIS, the US coach, on the refereeing
"The rule says yes but she didn't get a red card," said a resigned Neid, who was also unhappy about a penalty awarded against them.
Defender Annike Krahn brought down US forward Alex Morgan in a tackle outside the penalty area.
Carli Lloyd scored the opener for the US on 69 minutes off the penalty and six minutes from time Kelley O'Hara doubled their advantage.
"It was clearly outside the area and it can be seen clearly on television," said Neid. "I'm very sad about it but I can't change it.
"If you miss a penalty and then have a penalty scored against you, it could be hard for you to come back into the game."
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.
US coach Jill Ellis was terse when questioned. "I think it's just a part of the game in terms of the officials, so whether I'm on the receiving end or the other end, it's not something I usually comment or criticise," she said.
In a battle between the world's top two teams, Ellis' side largely dominated in front of 51,000 mainly US supporters at Montreal's Olympic Stadium.
"I thought it was an unbelievable duel between two tremendous teams," said Ellis.
Germany fought hard but their finishing was incredibly poor as only one of their 15 shots was on target. "We were not dangerous enough, the team gave all they could, but unfortunately that was not enough," said Neid.
The US, winners in 1991 and 1999 and ranked second in the world, will play either defending champions Japan or England for the title in Vancouver on Sunday.
Japan beat the Americans in a dramatic penalty shoot-out to take the title four years ago.
"I came here to win this thing, not just be a participant who played in a World Cup," warned the 32-year-old Lloyd, who wore the captain's armband on Tuesday. "It's a good feeling. I've a really confident feeling in us winning it."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA