Morgan's late strike sees United States in London 2012 football final against World Cup foes Japan
Monday, 06 August 2012
August 6 - With a penalty shoot out looming in their Olympic women's football semi-final with Canada, Alex Morgan (pictured top, centre) struck the winner as the United States set up a rematch with Japan, a year after losing to the same team in the World Cup final.
The US, the reigning Olympic champions, had to dig deep throughout a game in which John Herdman's Canada team gave an impressive account of themselves.
The last time these teams met, in Canada in the North American qualifiers, the US won easily, 4-0.
At Old Trafford tonight, Christine Sinclair scored a superb hat-trick as she gave Canada the lead on each occasion.
Sinclair opened the scoring when she took Melissa Tancredi's pass in her stride, sidestepped two defenders and fired past Hope Solo.
The first equaliser came from a Lauren Sesselmann own goal following a corner taken by Megan Rapinoe just after half time.
Sinclair restored the Canadian's lead with a header, but the US' second equaliser came shortly after from Rapinoe, who fired in a superb shot from the edge of the area which went in off the post.
Another Sinclair header gave Canada the advantage again just minutes later, but Abby Wambach, whose record of 142 goals had been equalled and then overtaken by Sinclair earlier in the match, levelled both that personal battle and the match with a penalty late on.
Wambach almost won the game in extra time when she headed against the bar with two minutes remaining.
Just as it seemed the US would have to go to penalties, the method by which they lost the World Cup final to Japan, Morgan stepped up to head home Christie Rampone's cross with 120 minutes already on the clock.
Japan made their way to the final at Wembley on Thursday (August 9) as they defeated France 2-1 at the same venue.
Yuko Ogimi gave Japan the lead in the first half as she scrambled the ball home following a free kick.
Mizuho Sakaguchi doubled the lead after half time with a header from another free kick, but France refused to be beaten easily.
They attacked relentlessly and eventually scored when Eugenie Le Sommer volleyed home in style with 15 minutes left.
They were unable to find an equaliser though, and so Japan progress to their first ever Olympic women's football final.
It also means Japan are in contention to reach both Olympic football finals, if the men can defeat Mexico, also at Wembley, tomorrow.
But the US have won three of the four Olympic women's football tournaments to date, and will be determined to make up for the heartbreak of last year's World Cup final defeat.
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