The Keeper’s Notes On … USAvGER 2015 (WWC semifinal)

Today FIFA.tv will broadcast the 2015 Women’s World Cup semifinal between USA and Germany. So here are a few of the Keeper’s Notes on the game that saw Kelley O’Hara net her first international goal and Carli Lloyd score in her third straight WWC game.

Game broadcast begins at 1 pm CT. A special “pregame” broadcast featuring then-USWNT head coach Jill Ellis and legendary soccer broadcaster JP Dellacamera starts at 12:30 pm CT on US Soccer’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

BACKGROUND
This match was the 32nd all-time meeting between USA and Germany, and the fourth at a Women’s World Cup (all knockout games). The two soccer powerhouses — the only two countries to hold the #1 spot in FIFA rankings since their inception in 2003 — had also met once in the Olympic semifinals (2004). They’ve never met in a world championship final at the senior level but every knockout game they’ve played feels like a final.

In World Cup matches, the USWNT had previously defeated Germany in the 1991 semifinal in China and the 1999 quarterfinal in the USA. But “Die Nationalelf” had won the most recent meeting, the 2003 semifinal. In 2015, the USWNT had not played well in the round of 16 game versus Colombia but managed to eke out a victory. Both Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe earned yellow cards in that match and had to sit out the quarterfinal versus China, forcing Jill Ellis to make tactical changes. The 1-0 win against China (thanks to a Carli Lloyd penalty-kick goal) showed a much smoother, more dominant American side.

Germany had trounced Sweden 4-1 in the round of 16 after comfortably winning Group B with a +14 goal differential. They tied France 1-1 in the quarterfinal, and edged Les Bleues 5-4 on penalties after a scoreless extra time period.

USA NOTES
• With Abby Wambach and Christie Rampone on the bench, Carli Lloyd wore the captain’s armband for the second time in a Women’s World Cup match.
Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe returned to the starting lineup after sitting out the quarterfinal game.
Kelley O’Hara‘s first appearance in this tournament was in the quarterfinal, as a starter. She was a second-half substitute in this match. A forward in college (and winner of the MAC Hermann Trophy), she was converted to outside back for the national team. She was an alternate for the 2011 Women’s World Cup, but ultimately earned a spot on the team after Lindsay Tarpley was injured before the tournament began.
• Look for Hope Solo‘s savvy stalling tactics as Germany’s Celia Sasic prepares to take the penalty kick.
• Barely six minutes later, Carli Lloyd steps up to take a penalty for the USWNT. This was the 12th PK attempt by the USWNT in World Cup play, and would become the 10th converted.
• The same back four played every minute of the tournament for the USWNT — Becky Sauerbrunn, Julie Johnston (now Ertz), Meghan Klingenberg and Ali Krieger.

 

GERMANY NOTES
• Germany head coach Silvia Neid had been a member of Germany’s national team from 1982 to 1996, and played for Germany in the 1995 World Cup final. She led Germany to Olympic gold in 2016 (as well as winning the 2007 Women’s World Cup).
Celia Sasic was the goal leader at this point in the tournament, with 6 goals and 1 assist. Although Carli Lloyd would eventually match her totals, Sasic won the Golden Ball by virtue of having played fewer minutes.
• Teammate Anja Mittag earned the Bronze Boot, with 5 goals and 2 assists.

 

NERD NOTES
• The 2015 semifinals were the first and so far only in World Cup history where each of the four semifinalists earned a penalty-kick attempt. Three of the four were converted — USA converted and Germany missed in this game; England and Japan both converted penalties in the next day’s semifinal.

 

NWSL NOTES
• Germany captain Nadine Angerer was the only member of her squad to be playing in the NWSL in 2015. She returned to the Portland Thorns after the tournament to complete her final season of pro soccer.
• Every member of the USWNT except Abby Wambach were on NWSL squads in 2015.

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