This is the matchup the world has waited for. After a striking 1-0 victory over China, the United States has advanced to the World Cup semifinal against the No. 1 ranked German side that many consider their biggest challenge.
While the scoreline was close against the Chinese, the quarterfinal match was as dominant a performance as we have seen from the United States in the 2015 World Cup, with their pace, physicality and athleticism shining through against a smaller Chinese squad. The Germans beat No. 3 ranked France in their quarterfinal matchup, finishing the game 1-1, but ultimately winning on penalties.
Many consider this to be the true matchup of the best teams in this tournament, with the winner of this game favored heading into the final. Jill Ellis will certainly have her hands full trying to match up with a German side that has looked extremely dangerous throughout the tournament.
Player to Watch for USA: Julie Johnston
The play of the USWNT’s back line has been well documented throughout the 2015 World Cup, and most of that is due to the breakout play of Julie Johnston. It’s been over 400 minutes since the United States allowed a goal, and Johnston has been a major factor in that shutout streak, frustrating defenders with her aggressive play and unbelievable comfort on the ball.
Expect the Germans to go right at Johnston, testing her ability to perform under pressure, and forcing the other members of the vaunted American back line to step up and cover for their star center back.
Johnston will be key to holding possession for the United States, as they attempt to control the pace of the game against a very technical German side. Undoubtedly, this is the biggest game of her career, so USWNT fans across the country will look on to see how she performs.
Player to Watch for Germany: Celia Sasic
At the heart of the German attack that will attempt to disrupt the United States’ shutout streak is striker Celia Sasic. As the 2015 World Cup’s top scorer, Sasic has made mincemeat of opposing defenses, constantly finding herself in goal-scoring positions for her national team.
Sasic plays her club soccer for FFC Frankfurt in Germany, and is a former teammate of USWNT defender Ali Krieger. She will look to make a statement with Germany this World Cup, after her national team went out to Japan in the quarterfinals, when the tournament was on their home soil in 2011. The Germans will look to prove they are the best soccer nation in the world, and if there’s one player capable of breaking down the tough United States defense, it’s Celia Sasic.
Prediction: 1-1 USA wins on penalties
This is going to be the best game of the 2015 World Cup. No. 1 vs. No. 2 for a spot in the final. A matchup for the ages.
Germany has the best offense and the United States has the best defense. As is typically the case in soccer, defense will ultimately win out and dictate the pace of the game, so expect a very tight contest between the best teams in the world.
With both of these teams brought to the brink of exhaustion, expect a pro-American crowd to rally their team to victory. However, both teams are amongst the best in the world and should produce an amazing game on Tuesday night.
USA-Germany has all the makings of one of the greatest women’s soccer games ever, and is a must-watch for fans of soccer, Germany, the United States, high drama, and sports of any kind.