Can you say zwei zu null? The USWNT can. Driven by a strong performance from Carli Lloyd—and a significant amount of luck—the USA knocked off top ranked Germany 2-0 in Montreal. They will face either Japan or England in Sunday's Women's World Cup final.
After a back and forth first half, it looked like the USA was headed for a big setback in the second. Defender Julie Johnston blatantly pulled down Germany's Alexandra Popp inside the box, and as the last defender, probably should’ve been sent off. But referee Teodora Albon showed Johnston a yellow card.
The USA's luck continued when Celia Sasic—who was leading the tournament in goals—sent Hope Solo diving the wrong way but put her penalty wide left. Germany had never missed a penalty in the history of the WWC until that moment.
Ten minutes later, that incredible luck (or bad refereeing, if you’re German) continued, as Alex Morgan was fouled on her way into the box. While replays indicate the contact occurred outside the box, Albon pointed to the spot. New Jersey's own Carli Lloyd would not follow Sasic's example, and easily converted from the spot to give the US a 1-0 advantage.
It's certainly better to be lucky than good, but the USWNT was both lucky and good on the night. In the 84th minute, the USA put the game to bed, with Lloyd freeing herself in the box and finding Kelley O’Hara, who acrobatically smashed it into the net. It was O'Hara's first international goal.
With their fifth straight shutout of the tournament (a streak running 513 minutes of play), the USA are undoubtedly the favorites headed into their fourth World Cup Final. Even if they haven’t been tested very much throughout the tournament - Hope Solo is facing an average of just over two shots a game - they’ve shaken off some offensive rust and are getting into form at the perfect moment. Their opponent for the final will be determined tonight as Japan and England play the other semi-final in Edmonton (7:00 PM ET, Fox Sports 1). While a match-up against Japan would give the US a chance at revenge for the 2011 shootout loss, we cannot resist the ignore the attractive narrative of battling England for a world championship on Independence Day weekend.
Sunday's final, which will take place at Vancouver’s BC Place, airs at 4 p.m. ET on Fox.