This encounter could have been the final, but it was rather a quarterfinal match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 as Brazil took on the USA at the Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion in Dresden. The United States won a dramatic quarterfinal match in a penalty shoot-out.
The US girls had an excellent start into the match as they took an early lead in the 2nd minute. A pass to the left flank found Shannon Boxx, who delivered a good cross into the danger area. Brazilian defender Daiane failed to clear the situation and her attempt sailed into the own goal to give the United States a 1-0 lead.
Nonetheless the USA seemed to be very shaky and nervous, despite having the lead on their side. The Brazilians too had their difficulties in their build-up play in the early minutes of the game.
The Brazilians had their first half-chance in the 16th minute, when Maurine sent in a free kick to the American box. But on-alert keeper Hope Solo was quick to snatch the ball ahead of the Brazil’s Cristiane.
Cristiane was in the centre of attention a minute later, when she gave away the ball to Amy Le Peilbet in the Brazilian half. Le Peilbet fired a shot from a long range position, but her attempt went wide.
The Americans produced several blunders and it seemed like keeper Hope Solo got tainted by the nervousness of her defenders in the 21st minute. Solo misjudged a cross from the right flank and was lucky that Aline’s header missed the goal by a whisker.
Brazilian superstar Marta had her first impressive scene two minutes later, when she received the ball in the own half to start a counter-attack. Marta charged across the whole field, before attempting a shot on Solo’s goal. But the ball went over the crossbar and the scored remained 1-0 in favour of the US girls.
Brazil had another promising attempt in the 35th minute, when Cristiane intercepted a pass in midfield and ran down the right side, before cutting in to the center and firing a shot on-target. But Hope Solo had no difficulties to save the ball.
The USA almost conceded a goal just three minutes later, when Amy Rodriguez produced a mistake on the right flank to give the ball away to the Seleção. Fabiana reacted quickly and her shot from the flank hit the crossbar, before it went out for a goal kick.
Shannon Boxx created a scoring opportunity for the USA against the run of play in the 43rd minute. Boxx managed to shoot on target, despite being tracked by three defenders. But Boxx’s shot lacked the power and Brazil’s keeper Andreia easily saved the attempt on her goal.
The United States went into the half-time with the 1-0 lead, but was lucky not to be punished for their defensive problems.
Pia Sundhage’s team let the Brazilians continue to control the proceedings in the second half and Amy Rodriguez remained the weakness in the American backline.
Abby Wambach received a rare through ball to the Brazilian half in the 56th minute and was all set to launch a run on goal. But referee Australian referee Jacqui Melksham blew the whistle as she noticed an offside position by the lanky American striker.
The Brazilian offence created another dangerous challenge on the US goal in the 60th minute, when Cristiane fired a long range shot on target from a centre half position. Solo had her difficulties to control the shot and got her gloves on the ball with a second attempt.
The USA received a free kick in the 63rd minute and the ball was immediately sent into the box and Carli Llyod almost scored a second goal for the Americans. But Llyod’s header hit the bar and went out.
The match turned into a dramatic encounter two minutes later. Marta received a ball in the American box and chipped the ball over Rachel Buehler and was ready to slot it in to the goal past Hope Solo. But Buehler committed a foul on the striker and the referee didn’t hesitate to award Brazil a penalty. Buehler was sent off with a red card and had to witness a questionable decision by the referee from the sidelines.
Cristiane took the resulting penalty and Hope Solo pulled off a superb save to the delight of the American fans. But for any reason referee Melksham decided to repeat the penalty and Solo received a yellow card for complaining against the decision.
Marta took the second penalty in the 68th minute and equalised the score.
The South Americans kept on pressing hard on the US defence, while the spectators accompanied each and every Brazilian attack with catcalls after the dubious penalty decision.
The USA managed to keep the Brazilians away from their goal despite being one player down and took the match into extra-time.
The USA was punished for desolate positional play in the 92nd minute. The US let the Brazilians play on the left flank and conceded a goal. A cross from the left flank found Marta in the box and the Brazilian forward showed her class, when she blindly turned the ball to the goal. The ball hit the right post and went in against a chanceless Hope Solo.
But the USA didn’t mope and almost pulled one back in the 98th minute. Abby Wambach fired a wonderful left footed shot on target, just to see it saved by Andreia.
The USA needed to increase the pressure on the Brazilians and they did so in the second half of the exra-time. But Sundhage’s team lacked the final touch in most of their attempts, while the Brazilians messed up with the fans as they bothered a lot of time wasting and foul play.
It looked like the US girls would bow out of the competition, but the Americans managed to score the equaliser in the 122nd minute. A cross from Megan Rapinoe was met by Abby Wambach in the box and her header went into the Brazilian goal to make it 2-2.
The match went on to a deciding penalty shoot-out. Hope Solo saved Daiane’s penalty, while Alex Krieger fired her spot-kick past Brazil’s keeper Andreia to take her team to the semifinals.
The USA will now face France on Wednesday.
Brazil 2-2 USA
0-1 DAIANE (2′)
1-1 MARTA (68′)
2-1 MARTA (92′)
2-2 Abby WAMBACH (120’+2′)
0-1 Shannon BOXX (USA) -> scores
1-1 Cristiane (Brazil) -> scores
1-2 Carli Llyod -> scores
2-2 Marta -> scores
2-3 Abby WAMBACH -> scores
2-3 DAIANE -> saved
2-4 Megan RAPINOE -> scores
3-4 FRANCIELLE -> scores
3-5 Alex KRIEGER -> scores
1-ANDREIA; 2-MAURINE, 3-DAIANE, 4-ALINE [C], 6-ROSANA (85′ 15-FRANCIELLE); 7-ESTER, 8-FORMIGA (113′ 5-RENATA COSTA), 13-ERIKA, 14-FABIANA; 10-MARTA, 11-CRISTIANE
9-BEATRIZ, 12-BARBARA, 16-ELAINE, 17-DANIELE, 18-THAIS, 19-GRAZIELLE, 20-ROSEANE, 21-THAIS
1-Hope SOLO; 3-Christie RAMPONE [C], 6-Amy LE PEILBET, 11-Alex KRIEGER, 19-Rachel BUEHLER; 9-Heather O’REILLY (108′ 17-Tobin HEATH), 7-Shannon BOXX, 10-Carli LLOYD; 8-Amy RODRIGUEZ (72′ 13-Alex MORGAN), 12-Lauren CHENEY (54′ 15-Megan RAPINOE), 20-Abby WAMBACH
2-Heather MITTS, 4-Becky SAUERBRUNN, 5-Kelley O’HARA, 14-Stephanie COX, 16-Lori LINDSEY, 18-Nicole BARNHART, 21-Jill LOYDEN
Jacqui MELKSHAM (AUS)
Allyson FLYNN (AUS), Sarah HO (AUS)
29′ Carli LLOYD (USA)
44′ ALINE (Brazil)
45′ MARTA (Brazil)
66′ Hope SOLO (USA)
90′ Megan RAPINOE (USA)
112′ MAURINE (Brazil)
113′ Shannon BOXX (USA)
117′ ERIKA (Brazil)
65′ Rachel BUEHLER (USA)