Sept. 22, 2007
By Michael Lewis
3 goals in 12 minutes lift U.S. women over England, 3-0, in WWC quarterfinals
Tianjin, China -- Scoring drought? What scoring drought?
|Abby Wambach in a mid air clash with Faye White of England during a 3-0 USA victory in the quarter final of the FIFA Women's World Cup.
Tony Quinn/Icon SMI
After enduring a scoreless streak of some 137 minutes over two matches, the United States broke loose for three second-half goals within a 12-minute span en route to a 3-0 Women’s World Cup quarterfinal victory over England Saturday night.
The Americans, who entered the match with only five goals in their first three matches, will play the winner of Sunday’s match between Brazil and Australia in Thursday’s semifinals.
The U.S. has reached at least the semifinals of every WWC -- five -- since the tournament began in 1991.
Abby Wambach, Shannon Boxx and Kristine Lilly found the back of the net before an announced crowd of 29,586 at Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium.
Wambach got things started with her fourth goal of the competition, knocking home a Stephanie Lopez corner kick in the 48th minute. The U.S. had not scored in the equivalent of three halves of playing, since Lori Chalupny’s first-minute goal goal in the 1-0 win over Nigeria Tuesday.
Then the flood gates opened.
Boxx, a midfielder who has endured a rather mediocre competition after a sterling performance at USA ‘03, gave the Americans some breathing room in the 57th minute when she rifled a 22-yard shot from the right side to the lower right of the net in the 57th minute.
After the England defense loosened up a bit, Lilly then got into the act. Defender Cat Whitehill sent in a long ball from the left side that goalkeeper Rachel Brown, who had been having problems all game, mishandled. Lilly found herself alone in front of the net and tapped it in for a three-goal advantage in the 60th minute.
The Americans made yet another unimpressive start to a game as their play was tentative and their passes out of sync -- some ill-timed, others poorly taken -- in the first half.
The English must have had the U.S. sweating in a scoreless tie at halftime because the longer the score remained that way, the better chance England had to win.
The first real action came in the 11th minute when a looping ball for forward Heather O'Reilly was gathered in by Brown in the penalty box. The play brought cheers from the crowd in what was a rather undistinguished match until that minute.
O'Reilly tried to put one on goal four minutes later, but her attempt went wide left.
But it was England that forced the issue and had the more accurate passes.
There was a close call in the 22nd minute when an air ball from the left side went into the box. Goalkeeper Hope Solo came out of the net to catch it while U.S. defender Stephanie Lopez and England's Jill Scott collided.
Holding a towel to her head, Lopez walked off the field with the U.S. trainer only to return three minutes later.
The U.S. still had trouble placing shots toward the goal, although Brown almost gifted one to the Americans when she dropped Lilly's left-flank cross. Fortunately for Brown and the British, no U.S. player was around and she was able to recover and gather in the ball without any problem.
If you didn't know any better, you would have thought the Americans were playing in the red shirts and the English in white. Karen Carney gave the small contingent of English fans a reasons to cheer in the 27th minute when her long-range shot found the net, only to have Solo positioned perfectly to catch her try.
England defender and captain Faye White did such a strong job on Wambach that the American striker was forced to take long-distance shots, which she attempted from 30 yards in the 37th minute. It didn't go anywhere near the goal because it was blocked.
Lilly came alive in the 43rd minute when she fired a shot from the top left of the box, but Brown managed to make a one-handed save.
Abby Wambach (48)
Shannon Boxx (57)
Kristine Lilly (60)
USA: 18 Hope Solo, 14 Stephanie Lopez, 15 Kate Markgraf, 3 Christie Rampone, 4 Cat Whitehill, 7 Shannon Boxx (11 Carli Lloyd 82), 17 Lori Chalupny, 12 Leslie Osborne, 13 Kristine Lilly, 9 Heather O'Reilly, 20 Abby Wambach (6 Natasha Kai 86)
ENGLAND: 1 Rachel Brown 12, Anita Asante, 6 Mary Phillip (18 Lianne Sanderson 80) , 2 Alex Scott 3 Casey Stone, 4 Katie Chapman, 16 Jill Scott, 10 Kelly Smith, 5 Faye White, 9 Eniola Aluko (11 Rachel Yankey 46), 7 Karen Carney