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Krieger, Naeher, America Advance To World Cup Final For Rematch With Japan

Team USA is so close, yet so far from its goal.

For the second-straight Women’s World Cup, the final will be the Americans and the Japanese. Four years ago, Team USA was bested in penalty kicks despite the best efforts of, among others, Ali Krieger. This time, Krieger and her team have been playing lights-out en route to the final and are sure to have the last Cup’s defeat on the forefront of their minds.

The World Cup started off with five Nittany Lions competing for the championship, and now two remain. Raquel Rodriguez and Costa Rica didn’t escape the group stage, Erin McLeod, Carmelina Moscato, and Team Canada fell to England in the quarterfinals, and now Penn State’s hopes for a World Cup champion comes in the forms of U.S. defender Ali Krieger and backup goaltender Alyssa Naeher. All that stands in the way is a Japanese team that has met Team USA in the past two major tournament finals — with Japan having won the 2011 World Cup but the U.S. winning gold at the 2012 Olympics.

The two teams have taken very different paths to reach the final. Japan swept its way through its group, then won one-goal games against decent Netherlands, Australia, and England squads. Team USA won two out of three games in its group before three very impressive wins — two coming by two-goal margins, and one dominant 1-0 win over China. Most recently, the U.S. steamrolled the world’s top-ranked team in Germany to reach the final. Japan has scored nine goals in the tournament while allowing three, while Team USA has scored a middling nine goals and has conceded one.

It’s not hard to see where the U.S.’s wins are coming from. After allowing a goal in the first half of the first game against Australia, the Americans haven’t been beaten on defense once. Also worth noting is that Ali Krieger has played in every game, and has been rock solid not only on defense, but generating offense as well. Alyssa Naeher hasn’t played yet (being Hope Solo’s backup doesn’t allow you to see much action), but hey, she hasn’t allowed any goals.

Be sure to tune into Fox on Sunday night at 7 p.m. to cheer on Krieger, Naeher, and Team USA try to get revenge for the 2011 World Cup and bring the Cup to Happy Valley.

About the Author

Doug Leeson

Doug is a sophomore and Onward State's Assistant Managing Editor. Dislikes: popcorn, Rutgers, and a low #TimberCount. Likes: "Frozen," Rec Hall, and you. Contact him via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @DougLeeson.

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