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USA battle through
 Women's Football News 11 Jul 2011
 
USA battle through - 11 Jul 2011 - Women's Football NewsBrazil 2 (Marta pen 68,92)
United States 2 (Daiane og 2, Wambach 120)
United States won 5-3 on penalties
att: 25,598; at Dresden

United States went through to the semi finals after snatching victory from the jaws of defeat to eliminate Brazil on penalties in a match which had just about everything. 
 
A dramatic and thrilling quarter final, often tinged with controversy, got off to a flying start as the USA took a second minute lead. Shannon Boxx found space to send in a cross which Daiane sliced into her own net.
 
Abby Wambach went close to a second as she headed narrowly wide from a Christie Rampone free kick. The Americans continued to boss the game for most of the first half but Brazil came into the game more as the half wore on.
 
Firstly Aline headed into the side netting from a corner by Marta and shortly before half time Fabiana hit the bar from a narrow angle.
 
The second half continued with the USA keeping matters tight at the back an Brazil not making too much impression as their frustrations grew. Carli Lloyd then went close to a second goal as her free kick struck the bar.
 
However at the midway point, a great piece of skill by Marta saw her flick the ball over two defenders in the area before tumbling under a challenge from Rachel Buehler. A penalty was awarded and Buehler was red carded but the resulting spot kick, taken by Cristiane, was saved by Hope Solo.
 
USA joy turned to disbelief moments later as a retake was ordered, presumably for encroachment, and this time Marta stepped up to send Solo the wrong way and level the scores.
 
The controversial decision angered the majority of the crowd who vented their anger on the Brazilians and Marta in particular. Boxx moved back into defence to replace the dismissed Buehler and the USA kept possession well and continued to attack despite being one player light, winning a series of corners taken by Megan Rapinoe which were well defended by Brazil, Aline in particular.
 
Brazil were content to hit on the counter attack through the pace of Marta and Cristiane but, for all their undoubted skill and ability, their antics did not help the mood and Daiane was booked for diving to try and win a penalty.
 
Neither side could find a way through but extra time saw an early strike of the highest class. Fabiana broke down the left and crossed for Marta to clip a neat shot over a scrambling Solo and in off the far post.
 
Brazil decided to sit on their lead instead of trying to press home their player advantage and put the match beyond doubt. This allowed the USA to keep attacking and threatening but their chance seemed to have gone as Lloyd sent a free kick over the bar.
 
There was a bizarre sight in the second period when Erika, who had been carried off after heading away a free kick, suddenly sprinted off the stretcher to get back on the pitch, for which she was yellow carded.
 
Solo made a good save as the game went into injury time, allowing the Americans one more chance to attack. This time Rapinoe found space on the left to flight in a superb left foot cross for Wambach to head in at the far post and send the match into penalties.
 
Boxx stepped up for the first kick which was saved by Andreia. However the Brazilian keeper had moved several yards off her line and a retake was ordered, this time Boxx slotting home. The first five penalties all found the net, before Solo dived to her right to keep out Daiane's kick. Rapinoe put the USA two ahead with Francielle replying, meaning that Alex Krieger had the chance to clinch the game. The full back coolly sidefooted into the corner of the net to give the United States an unlikely win and a semi final date with France. 
 
Brazil: Andreia, Maurine, Daiane, Aline, Erika, Rosana (sub Francielle 85mins), Ester, Formiga (sub Renata Costa 113mins), Fabiana, Marta, Cristiane.

United States: Hope Solo, Alex Krieger, Christie Rampone, Lauren Cheney (sub Megan Rapinoe 55mins), Rachel Buehler, Amy LePeilbet, Shannon Boxx, Amy Rodriguez (sub Alex Morgan 72mins), Heather O'Reilly (sub Tobin Heath 108mins), Carli Lloyd, Abby Wambach.


 
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