The time has finally come for the United States to face off against the toughest team in the competition. Tuesday night, Jill Ellis’ squad will line up against the number one ranked team in the world, Germany, for the opportunity to play in Sunday’s final. When you compare the two team’s paths leading up to this semifinal, both have had a similar level of difficulty with the Germans coming closest to crashing out when they had to use penalty kicks to move past the French last round. Out of the first five games, however, this will be the biggest test of the tournament for both teams, and whoever wins will be the favorite to take home the cup.
Despite just beating the Chinese by a score of 1-0, US fans took encouragement from the confidence and creativity their team showed in the victory. Even without Megan Rapinoe on the wings, the Americans still managed to create several solid goal scoring chances throughout the match, and were unlucky not to score twice in the first half. The only thing needed now is that deadly finishing touch to put the ball in the net. Now that Rapinoe can be restored back into the lineup, it looks like it may finally be time for the potent US attack to explode and they couldn’t have picked a better time to do it.
Add another clean sheet to the USWNT’s defensive résumé. The victory over China marked the fourth straight clean sheet for the Americans and continued a 423-minute streak without conceding. Granted, the German attack will provide a higher level of attack than what the US have faced so far in this tournament. Expect Hope Solo and company to have a very busy night, but if they can continue the fantastic form they’ve shown so far the Americans have a great chance of advancing.
There’s a reason that the Germans are the number one team in the world. Through their first five games, Germany have scored…wait for it….20 goals. Even without the 10-goal destruction of the Ivory Coast in the opening match, Silvia Neid’s team has averaged 2.5 goals a game. Where the Americans have dominated on defense, the Germans have dominated the attack. No team, so far, has been able to keep the European giants from finding the back of the net, and they have all the tools necessary to end the US clean sheet streak.
Going more in-depth into the fierce German attack, the two top scorers in the tournament will both be lining up against the Americans Tuesday. Celia Sasic and Anja Mittag have scored a combined 11 goals. It was Sasic who slotted away Germany’s late penalty kick to send their quarterfinal match into extra time, and she will be leaned on again to provide the offense against the stout US defense. Her ability to show her class against arguably the best backline in the tournament will determine whether or not the Germans will move on.
I can’t not pick the Americans at this point in the tournament. My nation hasn’t let me down yet and I don’t think Tuesday will be the end of that trend. It won’t be an easy victory but the US will move on to their second straight final in a gritty 2-1 extra time victory. Go! Go! USA!