After Germany thrashed the United States 3-0 in the group stage of this year's Women's Under-20 World Cup, it appeared that the U.S. women could be headed for another disappointing finish in the tournament, while Germany could be well on their way to their second consecutive title. Both teams reached the final, and on Saturday, Kealia Ohai turned the tables on the Germans.
For the third time, the United States women are Under-20 World Cup champions thanks to a stellar defensive performance and Ohai's goal. Their 1-0 victory was closed out in dramatic fashion, with American goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin making a save on Germany's Lena Magull with the final kick of the ball.
Ohai's goal came just before the stroke of halftime and gave the United States women a stunning momentum boost heading into the locker room. Crystal Dunn set up the goal with a run down the flank and a cut-back ball towards the penalty spot. Katie Stengel attempted to reach the ball and came up short, but Ohai was in position to finish.
Germany had a few decent half-chances in the second half, but never truly tested Heaberlin. She was caught a bit off-guard in the 72nd minute and was forced to push a ball from Leonie Maier that came into the box onto the bar. Germany's best shots came late, and Haeberlin came up with two big saves in stoppage time.
United States coach Steve Swanson, who has coached for 11 seasons at the University of Virginia and who started working with U.S. youth national teams in 2000, might have just pushed himself into the conversation to succeed Pia Sundhage as the manager of the U.S. women's senior side.