Welcome to your open thread for semifinal freedom.
The second-ranked United States Women's National Team looks to upset No. 1 Germany and advance to the final in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. The Americans will welcome back midfielders Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday from yellow card suspensions but maybe Jill Ellis shouldn't tinker much with the lineup since the U.S. finally looked like a dangerous attacking force on Friday against China.
Both midfielders will likely slot back into the starting lineup, likely replacing Kelley O'Hara and Morgan Brian. I'm projecting Amy Rodriguez to start alongside Alex Morgan, as the Germans had trouble at times with France's movement and speed in the quarterfinals, but Christen Press, Sydney Leroux or Abby Wambach are just as likely if the U.S. stays in a 4-4-2 look. I mean, who knows what Jill Ellis is thinking?
How did we get here?
The U.S. won Group D with a 3-1 victory over Australia, a 0-0 draw vs. Sweden and a 1-0 win over Nigeria. The Yanks then produced knockout-round wins against Colombia (2-0) and China (1-0). Germany narrowly won Group B on goal differential over Norway, with both teams beating Thailand and Ivory Coast and drawing their head-to-head match-up, 1-1. The Germans scored 15 goals (10 against the Ivory Coast) and allowed only one in the group stage. Germany then defeated Sweden 4-1 in the Round of 16, and bested France on PKs, 5-4, after drawing 1-1 through 120 minutes.
Don't look for a lot of goals tonight. The U.S. has conceded just once in the tournament and Germany has allowed three.
The Germans have nothing to lose, as they really should have lost to France, which failed to put away multiple golden chances, including a sitter in the 117th minute that could have avoided penalties.
There's a bit of history between these two powerhouses. These countries have four World Cup championships between them, with two apiece. The U.S. defeated Germany 5-2 in the 1991 semifinals and 3-2 in the 1999 quarterfinals on the way to winning World Cup titles in China and on home soil. Germany beat the Americans 3-0 in the semifinals in Portland en route to the 2003 World Cup on American soil.
Can the U.S. score on the stingy German defense and outstanding goalkeeper Nadine Angerer? Will Hope Solo and her back line keep another clean sheet? Who will win and advance against the winner of England and Japan on Sunday?
We'll find out tonight.
And don't forget to vote in our poll below.
U.S. Women's National Team (4-4-2):
Goalkeeper: Hope Solo
Defenders: Ali Krieger, Julie Johnston, Becky Sauerbrunn, Meghan Klingenberg
Midfielders: Megan Rapinoe, Lauren Holiday, Morgan Brian, Tobin Heath
Forwards: Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd
How to Watch:
Match time: 7 p.m. (ET)
Venue: Stade Olympique -- Montreal, Quebec, Canada
TV: FOX, NBC Universo
Live Stream: FOX Soccer 2GO USA
Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along with @StarsAndStripesFC or via @ussoccer.
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