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Women's Football World Cup News
United States 3 (Cheney 8, Wambach 78, Morgan 82)
France 1 (Bompastor 54)
att: 25,676; at Moenchengladbach
United States showed that football is about taking your chances as they reached the World Cup Final for the first time since 1999.
Pia Sundhage's side were under the cosh for long periods of the match but once more, as they looked to be on their way out, they ground out a win with taliswoman Abby Wambach again to the fore whilst substitutes Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, who made a huge difference, might have played their way into the starting line up.
In wet conditions at Moenchengladbach, both teams had to adapt quickly to the surface and the game burst into life in the eighth minute. The initial chance had gone to France after a quickly taken corner, Louisa Necib firing a shot which Hope Solo turned over the bar. USA went straight on the attack and Carli Lloyd played a neat reverse pass which released Heather O'Reilly down the left and her low cross was turned in at the near post by Lauren Cheney for the opening goal.
Lloyd headed wide from an O'Reilly corner but France seized control of the midfield area at this point and began to threaten with their passing game. A long range effort from Elise Bussaglia was gathered low down by Solo who then pulled off a fine one handed save to deny Gaetane Thiney after she had been found by Necib.
France then went even closer as Necib found Sonia Bompastor on the edge of the area and her well struck shot hit the underside of the bar with Solo beaten. Necib was at the heart of most French moves and she quickly created another opportunity for Camille Abily whose effort was just over.
USA hit back through a strong run down the right from Christie Rampone where her far post cross picked out Wambach whose header went across the face of goal. Wambach again went close when she got to a Shannon Boxx cross first but could not get her effort on target.
France continued to attack from the start of the second half and a speculative 30-yard strike from Thiney was palmed away by Solo. However they finally got their reward by levelling the scores albeit in slightly fortuitous circumstances, Bompastor finding space on the left before her cross sneaked in off the far post after just eluding the head of Thiney, whose presence had distracted Solo.
At this stage of the game, France were well on top against a tired looking USA and they passed up a number of opportunities to go in front. Abily shot just over and Thiney was penalised for heading the ball out of Solo's hand, then a dreadful clearance from Solo was intercepted by Eugenie Le Sommer who bore down on goal but should have done better as she shot wastefully wide when Thiney was better placed.
Sundhage made a tactical change and brought on Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan as substitutes and this gave the USA a foothold in the game. Both were quickly involved as a fiercely struck free kick from Rapinoe was parried by Berangere Sapowicz who did well to deny Morgan from the rebound.
The pattern of the game was changing and USA capitalised fully by going back in front with twelve minutes remaining. Cheney floated a corner from the right to the far post where Wambach rose highest for a towering header which gave Sapowicz no chance.
France tried to reply with Le Sommer volleying a difficult chance over but the initiative was with the Americans now and they took a stranglehold on the game just minutes later. Rapinoe was again involved as she slipped a good through ball into the path of Morgan whose finish was clinical, clipping the ball over Sapowicz and into the far corner of the net.
Morgan could have had a second as she was put through again but this time was denied by a good save from Sapowicz. The game was up for France and the USA can look forward to the chance of becoming World Champions for the third time on Sunday.
United States: Hope Solo, Alex Krieger, Christie Rampone, Becky Sauerbrunn, Amy LePeilbet, Lauren Cheney, Shannon Boxx, Amy Rodriguez (sub Alex Morgan 55mins), Heather O'Reilly (sub Tobin Heath 86mins), Carli Lloyd (sub Megan Rapinoe 64mins), Abby Wambach.
France: Berangere Sapowicz, Laure Lepailleur, Elise Bussaglia, Laura Georges, Ophelie Meilleroux, Sandrine Soubeyrand (sub Elodie Thomis 78mins), Louisa Necib, Sonia Bompastor, Marie-Laure Delie (sub Eugenie Le Sommer 45mins), Camille Abily, Gaetane Thiney.
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