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Women's team confident as Germany looms
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U.S. goalie Hope Solo and teammates Julie Johnston (19) and Becky Sauerbrunn (4) celebrate the team's win over China in their World Cup quarterfinal match Friday in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. - photo by Associated Press

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Megan Rapinoe is so done with her exile to the spectators' seats at the Women's World Cup.

Bring on Germany, said the U.S. midfielder, who had to sit out the 1-0 victory over China in the quarterfinals of soccer's biggest tournament. The confidence-boosting win sent the second-ranked Americans on to a semifinal match against the top-ranked Germans on Tuesday in Montreal.

"Huge match," Rapinoe said. "No. 1 against No. 2 in the world. They've had a great tournament so far, but hopefully they're a little tired."

Rapinoe was referring to Germany's quarterfinal, an extra time penalty-kick victory over France on Friday.

Rapinoe watched the U.S. quarterfinal from the stands at Ottawa's Lansdowne Stadium with teammate Lauren Holiday. They were suspended for the match because of yellow card accumulation — both had received their second yellows in the knockout-round opener against Colombia. Both will be back for Germany.

The Germans trailed third-ranked France 1-0 until Celia Sasic's equalizing penalty kick in the 84th minute, then goalkeeper Nadine Angerer stopped Claire Lavogez in the final attempt of a shootout as Germany prevailed 5-4 on penalty kicks.

"It was a very intense game, I was extremely elated along with the team," Angerer said afterward. "Honestly, I felt completely empty because the match was finally over and it ended well for us. It will take a day to process all the impressions and then we can prepare for the next match."

The 21-year-old Lavogez, France's third-youngest player, ran up to the spot and kicked the ball to Angerer's left. The 2013 FIFA Women's Player of the Year — the first goalkeeper male or female to win the honor — dove and blocked the ball with her left knee.

German coach Silvia Neid sighed heavily after the match: "Such a game as this, which was so tough, when you win it that makes you very confident. But we had to play for 120 minutes, we have some injured players we have to rest."

Like the Americans, Germany has two World Cup titles, in 2003 and '07. The United States is seeking its first championship since 1999.

The two teams have met three times in the World Cup, with the United States winning twice. But Germany claimed the last meeting, a 3-0 victory in 2003. Overall the Americans are 18-4-7 against the Germans.

The United States has made it to the semifinals in every World Cup since the first in 1991.

The Americans made it this year because of Carli Lloyd, who scored the lone goal against China. The 32-year-old midfielder was able to roam more freely, because of tweaks to the lineup, for another big moment.

Lloyd scored the winning goal in overtime to beat Brazil for the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and scored both U.S. goals in the 2012 Olympics London final win against Japan.

The U.S. team was also boosted by its defense — which has been the team's biggest asset throughout the tournament while the offense has sputtered at times.

The United States has not conceded a goal in 423 minutes, with the lone goal against the Americans coming in the tournament opener against Australia. Goalkeeper Hope Solo, who set a record for a U.S. goalkeeper with her 134th win against No. 16 China, has put up four straight shutouts.

Kelley O'Hara and Morgan Brian were called upon to replace Rapinoe and Holiday, who had been among the most effective players for the United States to that point in the tournament. Brian, the youngest U.S. player at 22, sat back in the pocket, allowing Lloyd to be more creative.

The Americans had a 17-6 advantage in shots and 56 percent possession, creating more chances than in the 2-0 round-of-16 win over Colombia. The team looked more organized and pressed China.

"This game was huge for our confidence going into that semifinal match," Lloyd said. "Even players who were pressuring and taking risks, if it didn't work out, we tried again. And I think that's what we need to do to be successful."