Before the tournament began, many of us envisioned that the US Women’s National Team would have to, at some point, face Germany in the tournament. And here it is. Number one versus number two. Germany versus the United States in the semifinal of the Women’s World Cup.
The U.S. is looking to make their fourth World Cup final appearance (second in a row) and capture a third star. In their path is the number one team in the world who also wants to make a fourth trip to the Women’s World Cup final.
Having met 29 times in the past, the U.S. holds the edge over the German machine at 18-4-7, but the 30th matchup of these two teams may be the most important one yet for these historic programs.
In this tournament, the U.S. has showcased the best defense while Germany has dominated offensively through five matches, making this an interesting battle in several key areas of the field.
USA v. Germany
7:00 PM ET – FOX
Olympic Stadium – Montreal
The U.S. defense will have their hands full with a team that has scored 20 goals in five games. Germany has showed they can produce goals in just about every conceivable way. Off the counter, the cross or on the spot, this team is deadly in front of net if given any type of opening.
More specifically Julie Johnston, arguably the best player of this World Cup, will be marking the tournament’s top goal scorer, Célia Šašić, who has scored six goals. Johnston has showed experience well beyond her years in the tournament and limiting Šašić’s opportunities will require another physical and mental battle for 90 minutes.
Anja Mittag and Dzsenifer Marozsán will also be dangers that the US will need to isolate. In order to cover the number of dangerous German players, the U.S. will need support from their midfield. And after standout performances in the quarterfinals, Kelley O’Hara and Morgan Brian are certainly top selections to help the backline.
Listen to Caitlin O’Connell and Jacquelyn Brazzale call the Women’s World Cup semifinal between the U.S. Women’s National Team and Germany.
Against China, Brian was able to sit in front of the defense and provide support through the middle while also being an outlet for her defenders to get the ball out. The 22-year-old slightly lacks in physical strength and size but her composure on the ball opens up spaces and allows time for the attack to move forward. It also allows Carli Lloyd to run free in the midfield and fill the number 10 role, her best and more productive position for the team.
O’Hara’s performance in the quarterfinals were also exemplary. She worked well along the flank both defensively and offensively and provided pressure on both sides of the ball with high tempo runs. Against Germany, her defensive prowess mixed with her breakout ability could help the U.S. win critical midfield battles.
But once again the pressure is on the U.S. offense and their ability to produce goals. Amy Rodriguez and Alex Morgan proved to be the best striking partnership Jill Ellis has selected in the tournament. The combined speed of both of these forwards can cause problems for any backline, but Germany can deal with speed.
The German kryptonite on defense is a technical passing game combined with speed, which was displayed against France in their quarterfinal game. Les Bleus were consistently able to breakdown the German defense with precise passing that changed the point of attack and charged at Germany’s backline with pace.
The U.S. is not know for this style of offense, but the chip and chase game may not be enough in this one.
Putting aside all the technical and tactical components of this game, the winner will simply come down to one simple question: who wants it more?
Germany is fighting to retain their number one spot, but the U.S. wants nothing more then to reclaim what had so long been theirs; and both of these teams want nothing more then to lift the World Cup for a third time.
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