The U.S. started off strong against the three-time defending European champions, creating a number of early scoring opportunities out of a 3-4-3 line-up, including two shots by Julie Foudy in the 10th and 15th minutes that were blocked by scrambling defenders. The U.S finally solved the German defense in the 19th minute when Parlow sent a bullet header into the left side of the net off a patented, driven corner kick from Shannon MacMillan.
Germany answered back just four minutes later as Lorrie Fair turned the ball over in the midfield to German captain Renate Lingor, who ran at the U.S. defense and then played Martina Muller through on a breakaway. Muller drove the ball past goalkeeper Lakeysia Beene, who earned her fourth career cap for the U.S., and into the left corner from 15 yards out for her first international goal.
The USA lost a bit of offensive spark in the latter part of the first half, the exception being a 29th minute half-volley from MacMillan that screamed over the crossbar. Germany took advantage of the lull and had several chances to take the lead, the best of which came in the 36th minute when the USA once again coughed the ball up in midfield, allowing Lingor and Muller on a 2-on-1 against the U.S. defense, but Muller slapped her shot wide right as Beene held her ground well.
At halftime, U.S. head coach April Heinrichs inserted 21-year-old Jena Kluegel and 19-year-old Aleisha Cramer and went to a 4-3-3 lineup, immediately putting pressure on Germany. The Americans took the lead just six minutes into the half as Hamm lifted a beautiful ball over the German defense to Tiffeny Milbrett, who beat Silke Rottenberg to bouncing ball and popped it high over the German goalkeeper with a perfect touch. As the ball was dropping into the net, German defender Nia Kunzer tried a desperation bicycle kick to clear, but instead hit the ball into the top of the net and it settled into the goal. It was Milbrett's 86th international goal, just one behind Kristine Lilly, who is in fifth place on the world's all-time scoring list.
"We've got some tough soccer competition in this tournament against soccer playing countries with a lot of pride, so we knew we had to play our best," said Hamm. "When you play a team like Germany or China you can't have lapses. We knew we had to play for the full 90 minutes. Germany likes to play through the back, so we tried to put a lot of pressure on them throughout the game. On the goal it was just a bad back pass and I was able to step in and then had to find a corner of the goal to put the shot in. The second goal was all Julie, playing the header one-time behind their defense. I'll take the goals anyway I can get them."
The USA's young players stepped up and play solid matches as Cramer looked confident in the midfield and Kluegel was effective on the right flank. The other two players college players on the roster, Cat Reddick and Abby Wambach, also got runs in the second half. Kluegel got the worst of a nasty collision with Kerstin Stegemann early in the second half, but got up off the turf to finish the game.
"I'm very pleased with our younger players," said Heinrichs. "They are knocking on the door and earning respect. You saw Aleisha Cramer step in and have a tremendous impact in the second half. The hit that Jena Kluegel took today, I thought she was done. But she wanted to come back in."
With the two goals, Hamm upped her career total to an amazing 129, including 24 all-time in the Nike U.S. Women's Cup.
"The last thing I said to Mia before the game was 'Take risks. Take risks,'" added Heinrichs. "You have my permission. Don't be afraid. Go after it. Take every risk you want to take. Not only did she take some risks but she played freely. She played inspired. If Mia wants it, she's primed to play her best soccer ever. And I think we're starting to see a little glimpse of that, and we'll build on it."
2001 U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Women's National Team vs. Germany|
|Competition:||2001 Nike U.S. Women's Cup|
|Venue:||Soldier Field (Chicago, Ill.)|
|Date:||September 9, 2001 - Kickoff Noon CT|
|Weather:||68 degrees (Overcast, Humid)|
USA - Cindy Parlow (Shannon MacMillan), 19.
GER - Martina Muller (Renate Lingor), 23.
USA - Tiffeny Milbrett (Mia Hamm), 51.
USA - Mia Hamm (unassisted), 72.
USA - Mia Hamm (Julie Foudy), 73.
USA - 1-Lakeysia Beene, 15-Kate Sobrero, 14-Joy Fawcett (4-Cat Reddick, 78), 6-Brandi Chastain, 13-Kristine Lilly, 7-Lorrie Fair (17-Aleisha Cramer, 46), 11-Julie Foudy, 8-Shannon MacMillan (2-Jena Kluegel, 46), 12-Cindy Parlow (21-Heather Mitts, 82), 9-Mia Hamm, 16-Tiffeny Milbrett (Abby Wambach, 76).
GER - 1-Silke Rottenberg, 2-Kerstin Stegemann, 3-Stephanie Becker, 5-Nia Kunzer, 17-Ariane Hingst, 6-Antonio Schmale (15-Verenda Hagedorn, 70), 7-Navina Omilade, 8-Sandra Smisek, 10-Renate Lingor, 11-Martina Muller, 18-Petra Wimbersky.
USA - Cindy Parlow (caution), 53.
GER - Stephanie Becker (caution), 67.
Referee: Kari Seitz (USA)
Assistant Referee #1: Francisco Sanchez (USA)
Assistant Referee #2: Steve Davidson (USA)
Chevrolet Woman of the Match: Mia Hamm.