Down a goal and a player well into extra time, the U.S. women's national team looked ready to see their 2011 World Cup end earlier than expected.
That was before Abby Wambach stepped up and delivered a historic equalizer, and Hope Solo made a vital penalty shootout save to set the stage for an amazing comeback. U.S. penalty takers converted all five attempts, including Ali Krieger's conversion to clinch the shootout victory in the World Cup quarterfinals in Dresden, Germany on Sunday.
Having gone a man down after a questionable red card issued to Rachel Buehler in the 66th minute, the United States kept pressing for a winner. After the match went into extra time, Marta scored what looked to be the winner for Brazil, but Wambach headed home a Megan Rapinoe cross in the 122nd minute to send the match into penalties.
Solo made a clutch diving save on Brazil's third attempt, by Diane, and that was enough for the United States to pull out the shootout victory in the 12th anniversary of the USA's World Cup Final penalty shootout victory over China.
"That is a perfect example of what this country is about," Wambach said after the match. "What the history of this team has always been. We never give up. We literally went to the last secend it seems."
The victory was a deserved one for the United States after some questionable calls went against the Americans. Buehler was sent off for a challenge on Marta, and after Solo saved Brazil's initial penalty attempt, the match referee ordered the kick to be retaken. Marta converted the re-taken penalty to tie the score at 1-1.
The United States will take on France in the semifinals.