Women’s Soccer: Hope Solo, Abby Wambach Beat Brazil in Thrilling Quarterfinal Win

The United States Women’s Soccer team has two heroes today – Hope Solo and Abby Wambach. Each player received widespread attention on Sunday after a thrilling win over Brazil in the quarterfinal round.

Trailing by a goal and with time running out in extra time, Abby Wambach with just seconds to spare saved the Americans, and Hope Solo the new hero in the penalty shootout, stopped an attempt by Brazil as the USA came back to win.

Fifa.com reports:

Within seconds of converting the winning penalty in her side’s dramatic 5-3 shoot-out victory (2-2 aet) over Brazil in Sunday’s FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011™ quarter-final, USA defender Ali Krieger was bundled to the ground by her ecstatic team-mates.

“I actually didn’t think about it that much when I walked up to take the kick,” said the 26-year-old once she got a moment to draw breath.”I just did what we’d practiced in training. I was confident and I shut out everything around me. Everyone struck the ball perfectly. I told myself I had to do the same and it worked. It’s a dream come true for me. I’m not the best penalty-taker – I guess that’s why I play at the back.”

Were it not for a last-gasp equalizer from Abby Wambach in the dying seconds of extra time, the Stars and Stripes would have been heading out of the tournament. As it transpired, the 31-year-old striker headed in Megan Rapinoe’s inch-perfect cross to level the scores at 2-2 and force the tie into a nerve-wracking spot-kick lottery.

In an interview with Dave “Softy” Mahler on KJR, Solo said,

“The pass from Rapinoe must have been the best of the entire tournament,” said Wambach. “I’m delighted with the goal because it kept us in the game. By the end we were just doing anything to get the ball into the box. The pass was top-class and thankfully I didn’t miss it. I literally can’t believe what happened. It’s probably the most emotional moment of my life.”

Seattlepi.com reports:

The bigger challenge for the Americans might be putting the emotional victory behind them.

The win was big news back home, and the players were flooded with congratulatory text messages and emails. The team even got shoutouts on Twitter from celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Seth Meyers, Lil Wayne and Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers.

“I hope that we ride on this momentum. We can’t let it get away from us,” Boxx said. “We can’t get so excited that we don’t prepare for this next game because we’re not done yet. France is a good team, and we have to prepare. It was fun to celebrate the win last night, but now we wake up today and the focus now is not on that, but on France.”

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