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In the final on November 6, USA beat a tough England squad 3-0 to retain their World Cup title from 2007 and become the first USA national soccer team to win consecutive World Championships.
The journey for Team USA to the World Cup title featured 2 years of preparations with 7 team training camps and a rigorous individual weekly training schedule. In addition to their training or staff duties each person on Team USA was responsible for raising the money to support their participation. USA’s first match was against Japan. An end-to-end duel was won by USA 2-0 after a brilliant cross by Cup MVP Michael Archer who tucked into the goal by Kendra Scalia-Carrow and another laser strike goal from Archer on a kick-in.
Team USA followed up with an easy 13-0 victory over Portugal in their second and last game of Day One with contributions from the entire line-up. In the meantime Japan played England to a 1-1 tie which meant that the results of the USA-England game at 9:00 AM on Day Two would determine which of the top 3 of Pool A (USA, England, Japan) would move into the semis. (While Portugal and Switzerland played valiantly, their sides were not competing at a level which threatened the top teams.)
The USA- England match was a 40 minute grind as an inspired English team thwarted multiple scoring chances of our team and kept a raucous crowd on the edge of their seats.
England managed a 1-0 lead on a brilliant individual effort from their top player but with lots of time left and the USA’s ability to generate offense, the outcome was in doubt until the clock ran out. The 1-0 English victory not only knocked Japan out of semifinal contention but meant that USA would finish second in pool play (after beating the the Swiss 21-0)
and have to face France (#1 in Pool B) in the semis at 8:00 that evening.
In the first semifinal neither England or Belgium (3rd in 2007) could score throughout regulation. Seemingly headed for a shoot-out, The English scored late in the second overtime period and secured their spot in the championship final.
The French team came in to the semifinals with a 4-0 pool play record and the almost total support of a full house home crowd. (Almost total because a smaller but very vocal and colorfully dressed USA cheering section matched the French fans cheer for cheer.)
The USA fans had a lot to cheer about as USA engineered another brilliant defensive effort to stymie every French offensive foray and scored on a penalty (Archer) and a combination play (assist Scalia-Carrow).
The day ended with these match-ups set for the finals:
9th Place: Ireland v Switzerland
7th Place: Australia v Portugal
5th Place: Canada v Japan
3rd Place: Belgium v France
1st Place: England v USA
A one-day break between pool play and finals allowed the tension to build around the final. When the championship match finally started at 3:00 PM the atmosphere was electric and once again the crowd support favored USA.
Team USA took the air out of the fans about 10 minutes in as Archer scored on a penalty to go up 1-0. England kept the pressure on but couldn’t crack the USA wall and Team USA kept their attacking mindset to score 2 more goals for a 3-0 victory and the Cup!