US women in World Cup
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — The United States is on its way to the Women’s World Cup after beating Italy, 1-0, yesterday on a first-half goal by Amy Rodriguez.
The Americans won the home-and-home playoff with a 2-0 aggregate to earn the last spot in the 16-nation World Cup, which will be played June 26-July 17 in Germany. The draw is tomorrow in Frankfurt.
“Obviously, this was a little different road than we had expected,’’ forward Abby Wambach told the crowd. “But this team has resilience. We never gave up.’’
The top-ranked Americans were in danger of missing the tournament they’ve won twice after a stunning upset loss to Mexico in the semifinals of regional qualifying.
“I think the country always thinks, ‘Oh, the US always goes, they’re so good,’ ’’ said Julie Foudy, part of the pioneering squad that won the 1991 and 1999 World Cups. “When we stumble, they don’t realize the rest of the world is getting much better.’’
The US was forced to beat Costa Rica in the regional third-place game and given a second chance with a playoff against Italy, Europe’s fifth-place team.
Rodriguez and Megan Rapinoe combined for the score in the 40th minute. Rapinoe worked around two defenders before taking a left-footed angled shot. Italian keeper Maria Picarelli blocked the shot, but the ball bounced right to Rodriguez, who poked it in from 6 yards.