Of course it wasn’t going to be that easy.
After Laura Cheney opened the scoring in the US women’s semifinal match against France in the Women’s World Cup with a ninth-minute goal, and Hope Solo kept a clean slate for the entire first half, fans may have been excused for hoping the Americans would cruise to an easy defensive victory.
But despite being down a goal, France was able to control the middle of the field for much of the game, easily outpacing the Americans in shots, and ceding the initiative eventually caught up to the Americans; Sonia Bompaster scored the equalizer 55 minutes in.
The Yanks, though, held on for the rest of the half — and the persistence paid off. Abby Wambach got behind the French defense to put the US up again with a header in the 79th minute, and three minutes later Alex Morgan did the same with a breakway floater. In the blink of an eye, the US went to playing for penalty kicks to playing for the Cup. Down 3-1, the French emotionally collapsed, and the Americans went on to next Sunday’s final.
CORRECTION: This article originally misidentified American player Abby Wambach as ‘Alli Wambach.’