The US women’s national team is headed back to the world’s biggest stage.
Striker Abby Wambach thundered home a header off a corner kick in the 79th minute and youngster Alex Morgan added a gorgeous breakaway chip in the 82nd as the Americans pulled away from France in a 3-1 win in the semifinals of the Women’s World Cup on Wednesday in Moenchengladbach, Germany.
The US will play the winner of Japan-Sweden in the final on Sunday (2:45 pm ET, ESPN), marking their first appearance in the World Cup final since they won in 1999.
Wambach’s emphatic backpost header – which came off a Lauren Cheney corner kick – gave the imposing US striker 12 career goals all-time in the World Cup, tying her with Michelle Akers as the US’ all-time leading scorers in the World Cup.
Morgan then added a breakaway finish that ended any hopes for the upset-minded French, who rallied from an early US goal from Cheney and seemed poised to upset the Americans by controlling much of the tempo early in the second half.
France got their goal in the 55th minute off the left foot of defender Sonia Bompastor, when US goalkeeper Hope Solo seemed to misplay the ball and it skipped into the back of the net for the equalizer.
The US got on the board in the ninth minute when Heather O'Reilly streaked down the left flank and skipped a cross to Cheney, who redirected the ball into the back of the net.