'Hands' Solo tips US into semi-finals

US goalkeeper Hope Solo makes difference in penalty shootout after Abby Wambach gets last-gasp equaliser against Brazil.

    Solo effort: US goalkeeper Hope Solo palms away Daiane's kick as the Americans scored all five [GALLO/GETTY]

    The United States beat Brazil 5-3 on penalties after a dramatic women's World Cup quarter-final to advance to the semi-finals, after equalising in the final seconds of extra time.

    US defender Alex Krieger hit the winning penalty after her goalkeeper Hope Solo had earlier saved from Brazil's Daiane to give her side the advantage in the shootout.

    On the final whistle, American striker Abby Wambach had kept her side in the quarter-final with a dramatic header in the 122nd minute to level the scores after Brazil play-maker Marta had put Brazil 2-1 up in the 92nd minute.

    The game went into extra-time with the scores 1-1 as an own-goal by Brazil defender Daiane after just two minutes was cancelled out by Marta's penalty on 68 minutes, which she converted at the second attempt after the referee ordered a retake from Solo's save.

    The US had been reduced to 10 players when defender Rachel Buehler was sent off just moments before.

    They will now face France in Moenchengladbach in Wednesday's semi-final for a place in next Sunday's final in Frankfurt.

    Swept

    While the Americans came to Dresden having lost 2-1 to Sweden in their final Group C game, Brazil did not concede a goal in the group stages as they swept past Australia, Norway and Equatorial Guinea as Group D winners.

    But Brazil conceded their first goal here after just two minutes in front of a sell-out crowd of 25,598.

    US midfielder Shannon Boxx whipped in the first cross of the game and Daiane could only watch in horror as her clearance kick sliced into her own net.

    Marta also served a reminder to the US defence of her status as five-time world player of the year when she dribbled from the halfway line at full speed only to fire her shot over the bar on 20 minutes.

    The game turned against the Americans in the 65th minute when Buehler brought down Marta in the area as they both went for the ball, but was shown a straight red card by Australian referee Jacqui Melksham.

    Justice seemed to have been done when Cristiane's first penalty attempt was saved by Solo.

    Melksham insisted the penalty be re-taken – with furious protests from the Americans – and Marta slammed home the second attempt on 68 minutes.

    Solo was booked for her angry response.

    Neither side could break the deadlock in normal time, but Marta popped up with what looked like the winner in the 92nd minute when she pivoted on a cross from left wing Maurine.

    With time almost up, Wambach's header at the death gave her side the precious lifeline.

    Earlier, Sweden set up a semi-final with Japan as they outclassed Australia 3-1.

    Therese Sjogran and Lisa Dahlkvist had given the Swedes an early lead in their quarter-final tie before Ellyse Perry got one back five minutes before the break with the goal of the game.

    Lotta Schelin finished off the contest after 52 minutes.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    From Cameroon to US-Mexico border: 'We saw corpses along the way'

    'We saw corpses along the way'

    Kombo Yannick is one of the many African asylum seekers braving the longer Latin America route to the US.