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Wambach lifts US to final with 3-1 win over France

Jul 13, 2011 2:28:00 PM - thestate.com
The United States is in the World Cup final for the first time since it last won the title in 1999, and once again, it was Abby Wambach coming up big in a 3-1 victory over France.

Wambach broke a tense tie in the 79th minute Wednesday with a monstrous header - what else? - off of a Lauren Cheney corner kick. Cheney delivered the ball perfectly to the far post, and the 5-foot-11 forward soared over the scrum and pushed the ball past French goalkeeper Berangere Sapowicz. Wambach let out a scream and did a sliding sprint into the corner, where she was mobbed by her teammates.

It was Wambach's third goal of the tournament and 12th of her career, tying fellow American Michelle Akers for third on the all-time World Cup scoring list.

Alex Morgan added an insurance goal in the 82nd, the first for the World Cup rookie. When the final whistle sounded, the Americans rushed onto the field. Wambach found U.S. coach Pia Sundhage and gave her a bearhug as the pro-American crowd of 25,676 serenaded the team with chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!"

"Abby, she's just the best," Sundhage said. "I'm very happy to have her in our team. Great."

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