Fifty matches have come and gone, and we finally know the two teams that will battle for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Trophy. In a rematch of the 2011 Final, Japan and the United States will play each other for the most prestigious crown in women's football.
A penalty miss from Germany's Celia Sasic deflated the Germans, and the penalty conversion by the USA's Carli Lloyd completely swung any and all momentum remaining in the match toward the States. With the German's running on fumes in the dying minutes, second half substitute Kelly O'Hara finished off the match with a nice finish from a Lloyd pass.
Leonie Maier, Melanie Behringer, Lena Lotzen, Melanie Leupolz, and Sara Däbritz will have to settle for the third place match which takes place on Saturday, July 4. The FC Bayern contingent have performed well when called upon by manager Silvia Neid, but it wasn't enough to win another World Cup for Germany.
The other semifinal match was a bit of a surprise. Defending world champions Japan took on a surprising English team in Edmonton. Aya Miyama and Fara Williams exchanged first half penalties to send the two sides into halftime level at one apiece.
Bayern's Mana Iwabuchi was once again a second half spark for the Japanese, a role for which she's become accustomed to in this tournament. Then, in the final seconds of the match, the unthinkable happened. Nahomi Kawasumi's searching cross was blocked by England's Laura Bassett. Unfortunately for her, that block deflected off of the underside of the crossbar and over the goal line for an own goal.
Iwabuchi will be the only FC Bayern player represented in the Women's World Cup Final on Sunday July 5. The match between the United States and Japan should be sensational. Don't be surprised if Iwabuchi has a major impact on the match.
United States 2 - 0 Germany
United States: Carli Lloyd (69 penalty), Kelly O'Hara (84)
United Staates: Hope Solo; Ali Krieger, Julie Johnston, Becky Sauerbrunn, Meghan Klingenberg; Morgan Brian, Lauren Holiday; Tobin Heath (Kelly O'Hara 75), Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe (Abby Wambach 80); Alex Morgan (Sydney Leroux 90+3)
Germany: Nadine Angerer; Leonie Maier, Annike Krahn, Saskia Bartusiak, Tabea Kemme; Lena Goeßling; Simone Laudehr, Anja Mittag (Dzenifer Marozsan 77), Alexandra Popp; Celia Sasic
England 1 - 2 Japan
England: Fara Williams (40 penalty)
Japan: Aya Miyama (33 penalty), Laura Bassett (90+2 own goal)
England: Karen Bardsley; Lucy Bronze (Alex Scott 86), Steph Houghton, Laura Bassett, Claire Rafferty; Jade Moore, Fara Williams (Karen Carney 86), Katie Chapman; Jill Scott, Jodie Taylor (Ellen White 60), Toni Duggan
Japan: Ayumi Kaihori; Saori Ariyoshi, Azusa Iwashimizu, Saki Kumagai, Aya Sameshima; Mizuho Sakaguchi, Rumi Utsugi; Nahomi Kawasumi, Aya Miyama; Yuki Ogimi, Shinobu Ohno (Mana Iwabuchi 70)