Minutes away from elimination on Sunday, former Florida Gators soccer star Abby Wambach saved the day by tying the 2011 U.S. Women’s National Team’s match against Brazil and forcing a penalty kick finish. With her team looking for another boost Wednesday during 2011 Women’s World Cup semifinal action against France, Wambach came through again with a deft header from the far post to give her team a 2-1 lead and propel the United States to a 3-1 victory that will place them in the finals of the world’s biggest soccer event for the first time since 1999.
Leading 1-0 after Lauren Chaney deflected a goal into the net in the ninth minute, the U.S. coughed up the lead just minutes into the second half. USA goalkeeper Hope Solo, keeping an eye on Gaetane Thiney in the box, was fooled as a beautiful floater from Sonia Bompastor got past her and into the net at 55’.
The Americans made a number of runs trying to get their lead back but were unsuccessful until the 79th minute when Wambach converted Cheney’s corner kick into a dagger header that became the game-winning goal.
Alex Morgan would tack on some insurance just three minutes later, lofting a goal into the net from the left side 82 minutes into the match.
With 12 World Cup goals in her career, Wambach is now tied for the United States record with Michelle Akers. The duo are knotted at third on the all-time World Cup scoring list, and Wambach has at least one more game to play on Sunday before hanging up her international cleats.
The U.S. will face the victor of Japan-Sweden in the World Cup finals on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. The match will air live on ESPN.
Photo Credit: Martin Meissner/Associated Press