U.S. Women Beat Germany In U-20 World Cup Final.

American Fans Wave The Flag To Celebrate The USA MNT's Win Over Jamaica On Sept. 11, 2012 In Columbus, Ohio

Without a doubt the two best teams played in the 2012 FIFA Under-20 World Cup championship game.

A close game was expected by most, and a close game is what the 31,114 fans got on Sept. 8 in Tokyo National Stadium; Tokyo, Japan.

Germany gave up only one goal the entire tournament, and that came in the 44th minute in the final when Kealia Ohai slammed home the game-winner right before halftime. It was the third World Cup championship for the United States in this tournament’s history.

The U.S. won the first-ever U-19 World Cup Final against Canada in 2002 and captured the 2008 U-20 World Cup against Korea DPR.

“Obviously, we are thrilled,” said U.S. Coach Steve Swanson. “What a great performance by the team.”

Ohai’s game-winning goal was created by U.S. right back Crystal Dunn, Ohai’s University of North Carolina teammate, who maneuvered down the right flank before getting past Germany’s Annabel Jaeger and providing a low searching pass into the middle of the box.

The ball initially looked like it could fall to Wake Forest junior Katie Stengel, but it got past her and Ohai converged to calmly convert with her strike into the upper left corner of the goal.

The goal put an end to Germany’s record shutout streak at 610 minutes.

The U.S., which had lost 3-0 to Germany during the group stage of this year’s tournament, put together a strong defensive effort during Saturday’s rematch. Led by captain Julie Johnston (Santa Clara) and goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin (UNC), the stout USA defense confidently shut out a strong German squad.

Heaberlin had a game-high five saves, most of which came in the closing minutes when Germany cranked up pressure on the USA’s third of the field.

Among some of Germany’s last-minute chances, Heaberlin had a lunging save to her right against Lina Magull in the 89th minute and stopped Leonie Maier’s deep strike that was bending toward the upper right corner.

U.S. U-20 coach Swanson made one change to the starting lineup from the 11 that started the quarterfinal and semifinal, inserting forward Stengel at center forward in place of Duke’s Kelly Cobb.

In addition to the Tar Heel trio, Stengel and Cobb, the ACC was well represented on the championship team by Duke’s Mollie Pathman, Virginia’s Morgan Brian, and Florida State’s Kassey Kallman. Swanson is also the women’s head coach at the University of Virginia.

The U.S. opened the tournament in Japan with a 4-0 win over Ghana behind three goals from Penn State’s Maya Hayes. The Americans got another goal from Hayes in the second game, a 1-1 draw with China PR.

The Americans then eliminated Korea DPR (2-1) in the quarterfinals. They reached the final with a hard-fought 2-0 semifinal shutout over Nigeria.

During FIFA’s post-game ceremony on Saturday, Johnston, the team captain, was awarded the Bronze Ball for being voted the third most outstanding player in the tournament. Germany’s Dzsenifer Marozsan was the Golden Ball winner.

U.S. U-20 WNT Roster

Goalkeepers (3): Bryane Heaberlin (North Carolina; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Jami Kranich (Villanova; Hamden, Conn.), Abby Smith (Dallas Texans; Dallas, Texas). Defenders (6): Stephanie Amack (Mustang Blast; Pleasanton, Calif.), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina; Rockville Centre, N.Y.), Julie Johnston (Santa Clara; Mesa, Ariz.), Kassey Kallman (Florida State; Woodbury, Minn.), Mollie Pathman (Duke; Durham, N.C.), Cari Roccaro (Albertson Fury; East Islip, N.Y.), Claire Wagner (Chelsea Ladies; Panther Creek HS) . Midfielders (6): Morgan Brian (Virginia; St. Simons Island, Ga.), Vanessa DiBernardo (Illinois; Naperville, Ill.), Sarah Killion (UCLA; Fort Wayne, Ind.), Mandy Laddish (Notre Dame; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Samantha Mewis (UCLA; Hanson, Mass.), Taylor Schram (Penn State; Canonsburg, Pa.). Forwards (6): Kelly Cobb (Duke; Chugiak, Alaska), Maya Hayes (Penn State; West Orange, N.J.), Kealia Ohai (North Carolina; Draper, Utah), Katie Stengel (Wake Forest; Melbourne, Fla.), Chioma Ubogagu (Stanford; Coppell, Texas), Becca Wann (Richmond; Chesterfield, Va.)

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