Women’s World Cup: Miracle finish for the US

Abby Wambach celebrates after her 122nd-minute header in today's Women's World Cup quarterfinal against Brazil.

After a miracle finish, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team is on to the World Cup semifinals.

Playing a man down for nearly an hour, the Americans fell behind Brazil minutes into extra time. But Abby Wambach’s 122nd-minute header — the latest goal in Women’s World Cup history — sent the quarterfinal to penalty kicks. The U.S. was perfect there, sealing the 2-2 (5-3) victory — and a spot in Wednesday’s semis against France.

“Somebody’s writing a book about this,” coach Pia Sundhage said. “… Right now, I’m the happiest person on Earth.”

The Americans, who took a 1-0 lead on a second-minute own goal by Brazil’s Daiane, were the victims of controversial officiating decisions throughout. After Rachel Buehler was sent off for a 65th-minute foul in the box, U.S. keeper Hope Solo saved the ensuing penalty kick — but the Brazilians were given a re-do after it was ruled Solo left her line early. Marta, the world’s top player, converted the second time around, tying the game at 1.

The Americans survived the rest of regulation with 10 players, but Marta struck again early in extra time, flipping a bouncing ball over her head and past Solo. Brazil appeared to be offside earlier on the play, but the goal stood.

The Brazilians stalled through the rest of extra time and appeared clear — until Wambach potted a brilliant header in the waning seconds, sending the game to penalty kicks.

The Americans scored on all five of their attempts. Solo’s save on a Daiane shot proved to be the difference.


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