As predicted, the game lived up to pre-match expectations and was a competitive, close and exciting encounter between two fantastic sides.
The USA, who are beginning to hit form at just the right moment took an early lead against a somewhat shell-shocked Brazilian side who struggled to find their samba rhythm. Five-time World Player of the Year, Marta led the line superbly for Brazil in her PUMA V1.11 boot, but both defences did an outstanding job of marshalling the creative flair of either side.
It was not until the 68 minute that Brazil got back on level terms. After a series of great passing moves, Brazil were handed a lifeline from the penalty spot, which also saw the USA reduced to 10 players. Marta kept calm and opened her account with a twice taken penalty to square the game.
The match finished 1-1 in normal time before Marta struck again with a moment of absolute magic; her sublime flick into the bottom corner putting A Seleção in the lead. The goal was Marta’s 14th World Cup strike, making her the joint top goal scorer ever! With the Brazilians on course for a famous victory, the US grabbed an unlikely equaliser with the last kick of the game; ensuring the match would be decided by the dreaded penalty shoot-out.
Although, Marta tucked away her second penalty of the afternoon, luck was not on her team’s side and they crashed out 5-3 on penalties. Marta may be disappointed to be leaving Germany, but she can take pride in the fact she currently leaves as the World Cup as its top goal scorer, whilst the USA are now one of the tournament’s favourites.
Elsewhere, there was more penalty shoot-out heartache as France defeated England 4-3 on penalties. PUMA Football star Jill Scott opened the scoring for the English, somewhat against the run of play with a smart finish in an action packed encounter. Alex Scott, Rachel Unitt, Fara Williams and Karen Carney all put in a stellar performance for England, who were just three minutes away from progressing to the semi-finals. But, Les Bleus with Marie-Laure Delie a constant danger with her mazy runs, drew level, forcing the game into extra-time and then penalties.
Hosts and defending World Cup champions Germany were knocked out by Japan thanks to a single counter-attacking goal in extra-time. Linda Bresonik, Simone Laudehr, Inka Grings enjoyed outstanding games for the Germans, but they could not find a way past a resolute Japanese side who were happy to protect their one goal advantage. Despite putting Japan under huge pressure and the introduction of Alexandra Popp, Japan held on for a great victory.
World Cup heavyweights Sweden progressed to the semi-finals courtesy of a 3-1 victory over Australia with Therese Sjögran opening the scoring after ten minutes. The Swedes used all their big game experience with Charlotte Rohlin, Sara Larsson and Josefine Öqvist pulling strings as they remained in control for the full 90 minutes against an exciting Australia side.
As things begin to get exciting, who’s your tip for Women’s World Cup glory?