U.S. rallies to beat Germany 3-2 in quarterfinal thriller
Posted: Sunday August 08, 1999 06:19 PM
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- After scoring on themselves moments into the game, the United States had to dig for something extra for their quarterfinal victory.
Down by a goal at halftime, the United States came back with a pair of corner-kick goals. Defenders Brandi Chastain and Joy Fawcett scored to lead the U.S. over Germany 3-2.
Both teams earned berths in the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney.
The U.S. team moved on to a Fourth of July semifinal against Brazil at Stanford, Calif. The Brazilians advanced with a 4-3 overtime win over Nigeria. The Women's World Cup semifinal comes five years to the date after the U.S. men's team lost 1-0 to Brazil at the same stadium in the second round of the World Cup.
The Germans provided the United States with its most difficult opponent so far in the tournament, scoring a goal late in the first half before succumbing to a sparkling second half by the home team.
"I'm very proud of how we played for each other and dug deep and reached into our heart," Fawcett said. "It's good to know we have it in ourselves, and I think we know it. But as long as we give it everything on the field, and do it for each other, we're fine."
The U.S. team wore down the Germans in front of 54,642 boisterous fans that included a tardy President Clinton and First Family.
The U.S. failed to convert numerous opportunities, but again prevailed through its strength on corner kicks.
"We've been pretty good on set plays," Fawcett said. "It comes from knowing each other so well."
The Americans' had another in a series of slow starts. Chastain, who later suffered a mild ankle sprain, rolled a loose ball in the penalty area past the reach of goalkeeper Briana Scurry.
"Brandi and Bri have been together a number of years," DiCicco said. "It was just the tension of the game."
That goal awakened the American women, who then had numerous solid chances down the wings. The U.S. picked up the tying goal down the center of the field in the 16th minute after Michelle Akers' pass deflected off defender Steffi Jones -- who has was born in Germany to an American father. Tiffeny Milbrett picked up the ball and shot a low right-footed ball into the goal.
The U.S. then controlled play until nearly halftime, when Bettina Wiegmann -- the most impressive performer in the first half -- moved around Cindy Parlow and blasted a 22-yard shot from the right side into the top left corner of the net. The strike quieted the crowd, aside from a celebrating German band.
The band had little to celebrate in the second half."Carla [Overbeck, the U.S. captain] said that everything we've done in this lifetime comes down to these 45 minutes," co-captain Julie Foudy said. "We had 45 minutes to make a difference. That's It, and we had to leave everything on the field."
Redeeming herself after her own goal, Chastain volleyed home a corner kick to tie the score in the 49th minute. The corner kick came from star forward Mia Hamm, who was battered throughout the game by the German defense.
"I have seen very big-time performers make mistakes like that and that takes them out of the game," coach Tony DiCicco said. "Brandi not only played, she got the tying goal."
In the 66th minute, Fawcett -- who rarely joins the attack -- was well positioned to head another corner kick past goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg.
Shannon MacMillan, who entered the game seconds prior, sent the corner kick "just where I wanted it," said Fawcett, who had 18 goals in 140 internationals heading into the World Cup.
"I know Shannon likes to go near post if there is no one in front of me," Fawcett said. And when she struck the ball, Fawcett "knew it was in. I was in shock."
The Americans then concentrated on stopping the perseverant Germans, who lacked precision on their shots.
"We took too many shots at the keeper rather than playing the ball back to let the trailing player shoot," coach Tina Theune-Meyer said.
Theune-Meyer said the difference came on set pieces.
"They have great timing and position," she said of the Americans. "We just needed to wake up."
The U.S. team took its customary victory lap around Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, looking relieved as they cheered the crowd.
The American women then met Clinton in the locker room and invited him to the final on July 10 at the Rose Bowl, where the team hopes to win the title.
Germany, second-place finisher behind Norway in the 1995 tournament, also ran around the pitch after the game and was treated to applause.
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