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U.S. Defeats Germany, 3-2, to Become First Host to Make Semifinals of WWC

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Thursday, July 1, 1999) - The United States overcame a 2-1 halftime deficit to become the first host nation to advance beyond the quarterfinals of the FIFA Women's World Cup with a 3-2 victory over Germany in Washington, D.C. After allowing just one goal during group play, the United States surrendered two - one an own-goal - in the first half against Germany. They advance to play the winner of the Brazil vs. Nigeria quarterfinal on Sunday, July 4, at Stanford Stadium. As semifinalists they are guaranteed two more matches - the semifinal and then either the championship or third place in Los Angeles on July 10.

As in a previous match against Nigeria, the hosts took some time to find their rhythm and fell behind in the opening minutes. Facing moderate pressure from Germany in her defensive third of the field, Brandi Chastain played the ball back to goalkeeper Briana Scurry in the fifth minute. She passed the ball towards the middle of the field and Surry, charging to meet the pass, was expecting a pass toward the sideline. Chastain's pass went past Scurry and into the goal, giving Germany a 1-0 lead.

The United States settled down and fought their way back into the game and tied the match in the 16th minute. Michelle Akers controlled the ball at the top of the arc and blasted a powerful shot towards goal, the ball deflected off of the German defender marking her and rolled right to Tiffeny Milbrett, standing onside around the penalty spot. Milbrett finished past German 'keeper Silke Rottenberg to tie the match.

It appeared as though the match would be tied at halftime, however Germany scored in the opening seconds of injury time to pull ahead just before intermission. Bettina Wiegmann took the ball at the top right corner of the penalty area, turned to face the goal and unloaded a well-placed shot with her left foot, which found the side netting inside the far post to put her team up 2-1 at halftime.

In the 49th minute, Chastain avenged her earlier mistake, scoring a goal to offset the own-goal credited to her in the opening minutes. Mia Hamm played a corner to Cindy Parlow at the far side of the goal, Parlow sent the ball back in front of the goal where Chastain took a sliding shot to beat Rottenberg and knot the score. The goal gave the United States momentum and they established their offense in the following minutes.

U.S. Coach Tony DiCicco made a key substitution in the 65th minute and it immediately paid off. Shannon MacMillan, the star of the United States match against Korea DPR on Sunday, came into the match for Julie Foudy and took a corner kick as soon as she entered the match. Her cross in front of the goal went to Joy Fawcett, who headed it in to give the United States their first lead of the match, 3-2. The rest of the match saw both teams attacking, though the United States played a more conservative style to avoid vulnerability on counterattacks. DiCicco substituted in Lorrie Fair and Tiffeny Roberts to strengthen the defense and the hosts were able to fend off Germany's desperate struggle to draw the match even and send the game into golden goal overtime.

The United States move on to face the winner of the Brazil vs. Nigeria match in the semifinals at Stanford Stadium on Sunday, July 4th. Both teams qualify for next year's Sydney Olympics as they rank among the top seven teams at WWC '99.