The amazing ride of former Penn State women's soccer player Ali Krieger and her United States teammates continued Wednesday afternoon when they defeated France 3-1 in the semifinals of the World Cup in Moenchengladbach, Germany.to advance to the finals on Sunday.
The contest lacked the epic quality of Sunday's win against Brazil in Dresden, but in a single-elimination tournament, your next win is always your most important, and the Americans avoided a let-down by scoring key goals at key times.
Lauren Cheney got the U.S. on the board early with a goal in the ninth minute. After that, though, the French dominated play at times, holding the ball on the U.S. side of the pitch for sustained periods and getting a number of good opportunities.
This forced the U.S. defense, led by Krieger, to hold strong. Early in the second half, Krieger single-handedly thwarted a French breakaway to keep the U.S. ahead. The French knotted things up in the 55th minute on a goal by Sonia Bompastor, but that was the only goal the Americans would surrender all day. After missing time in the second half with an injury, Krieger came back onto the pitch to hold the French down until a quick spurt of late goals by Abby Wambach (79') and Alex Morgan (82') sealed the U.S. victory.
Krieger and Co. will face either Japan or Sweden in the final on Sunday in Frankfurt.