Scurry Keeps Clean Sheet in 2-0 Win Over Brazil, Sending U.S. Women to World Cup Final
"I definitely think today was my best effort in my five years playing on the team," said Scurry, the Bud Light Most Spectacular Player of the match. "Any game where I can do my part and get my team in the final of the Women's World Cup is my best game."
The United States scored its lone goal of the first half in the fifth minute. Julie Foudy sent the ball in front of the goal from the left wing. Brazilian goalkeeper Maravilha got her hands on the ball, but fumbled it. Cindy Parlow was making a run to the near post and the ball dropped right into her path, where she headed it into the goal.
"We've been coming out slow, so I said (to the team), 'Whatever you've been doing at the beginning of games, do something different.' We came out and got the goal early on and set the tone."
The game continued to be close well into the second half, as the United States was unable to dominate the pace of the match, as the speedy, skilled Samba Queens pressured the U.S. defense, only to have Scurry repeatedly turn them back. The United States finally broke through for a second opportunity in the 79th minute as Mia Hamm was isolated one-on-one with Elane as Hamm led a counter-attack for the U.S. Hamm broke past the defender and continued alone towards the goal, but was fouled in the penalty area, drawing a penalty kick. Michelle Akers lined up to take the kick against Maravilha, who had saved a penalty kick by Italian Antonella Carta during group play. After Finnish official Katriina Elovirta whistled for Akers to proceed with her kick, Akers paused for a moment before blasting the kick into the netting in the right side of the goal, giving the United States a 2-0 lead.
The 73,123 fans in attendance were the second most of the tournament, following only the 78,972 who attended the opening ceremonies and doubleheader on June 19, at Giants Stadium. It is the third largest crowd ever for a U.S. Women's match, behind only the opener and the Olympic Gold Medal Match in Athens, Ga. in 1996.
The match-up came on the fifth anniversary of a match in the second round of the 1994 (men's) World Cup in which the United States faced Brazil at Stanford Stadium on July 4, 1994. The tournament champion emerged from that match and won the title game, played at the Rose Bowl. The U.S. hopes that is again the case; Brazil's men won the match in 1994, 1-0, and went on to take the tournament championship.
The United States goes on to face China, the other semifinal winner, in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 10, in the third Women's World Cup championship match (3:50 p.m. ET / ABC). The United States has either won or lost to the eventual champion of every Women's World Cup to date. The championship match of the 1999 Women's World Cup will be a rematch of the 1996 Olympic gold medal match (U.S. vs. China). The United States and China have faced one another three times already this year, with China winning twice, and the United States winning once. All three matches have had a 2-1 final score.
Brazil also goes to the Rose Bowl and will play in the third place match (Sat., July 10, 1:15 p.m. ET / ESPN) against defending champion Norway. The two faced one another in the third place match of the 1996 Olympics, with Norway winning the bronze medal with a 2-0 victory.