My personal blog on Scottish Women's Football
Carli Lloyd 51
China made just one change from their narrow win over Cameroon, as Lou Jiahui replaced Tang Jiali.
The USA were forced to make two changes, with Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday suspended and they were replaced by Kelley O’Hara and Morgan Brian. But they made one more change with their captain Abby Wambach missing out for Amy Rodriguez. This meant Carli Lloyd took the captain’s armband.
America could have taken the lead in the opening minute. Carli Lloyd’s through-ball picked out Amy Rodriguez who had arced her run to perfection, but she then scuffed her shot well wide. Minutes later, Alex Morgan tried her luck with a curled effort, but Wang Fei made the save. Then on the edge of the box, Kelley O’Hara tried to chip Wang Fei, but her effort just went over.
China finally created a half-chance when they won a corner. Wang Lisi’s ball in was cleared to Tan Ruyin whose shot was closed down.
But it was the USA who were on top. Determination allowed Tobin Heath to get a cross in and at the far post, O’Hara’s diving head just bounced wide. There was the first sign of weakness from Wang Fei when she failed to claim Julie Johnston’s cross, but China survived.
Her goalkeeping error nearly cost them minutes later. A quick free-kick allowed Ali Krieger to launch a high ball to the far post, Wang Fei came and missed the ball which allowed Johnston to get a shot off, but Li Dongna cleared the ball off the line. Johnston came close again when she made a superb run to head over Heath’s corner.
Another half-chance for China came when Wang Lisi made a brilliant run, but she just cut the ball behind Wang Shanshan. And then good patient passing saw China control the possession for a couple of minutes, but it ended with Wang Lisi shooting just over.
The last kick of the first half came when Lloyd headed the ball down to Morgan, but her shot was blocked by three Chinese defenders.
America’s winner came just six minutes into the second half, and it came from the free-kick, 40-yards from goal, won when Wu Haiyan caught Heath with a late challenge. Klingenberg switched play to Johnston, who launched a high ball into the box where Lloyd rose the highest the head the ball past Wang Fei.
America came close to a second. Christen Press passed to Rodriguez whose shot was brilliantly headed clear by Li Dongna.
Wang Lisi’s corner was punched clear by Hope Solo towards Liu Shanshan, whose long-range shot was blocked.
Then America were centimetres from a second. China failed to clear an American attack properly, and Morgan Brian set herself up just outside the box, but her shot smashed off the crossbar. Lloyd shot over the rebound, but if she had scored, it would have been ruled out for offside.
China had a free-kick 25 yards from goal, but Wang Lisi’s effort was simple for Solo, nothing more than catching practice.
Both countries had final chances in the close moments. Press made a surging run into the box, but she shot wide of the left post. And then Pang Fengyue tried her luck with a half-volley, but it was directed straight at Solo.
Carli Lloyd – USA
China: (4-2-3-1) Wang Fei,Wu Haiyan, Zhao Rong, Li Dongna, Liu Shanshan, Tan Ruyin (Pang Fengyue 58), Ren Guixin, Wang Lisi, Lou Jiahui (Wang Shuang 35), Han Peng (Tang Jiali 74), Wang Shanshan.
Booked: Wu Haiyan 50.
USA: (4-4-2) Hope Solo, Ali Krieger, Julie Johnston, Becky Sauerbrunn, Meghan Klingenberg, Kelley O’Hara (Christen Press 61), Morgan Brian, Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath, Amy Rodriguez (Abby Wambach 86), Alex Morgan (Heather O’Reilly 81).
Goal: Carli Lloyd 51.
The Editor of Tartan Kicks, the magazine dedicated to Scottish Women's Football