It was an interesting first half of play in the 2011 Women's World Cup semifinal match between the USA and France, with the American side walking away from the first 45 minutes with 1-0 lead. France, however, held the run of play for much of the half, pinning the US back in its own end and creating quite a few dangerous chances. Hope Solo, playing with a hamstring injury of some sort, was superb over the first 45 minutes, saving more than a few dangerous chances, as well as getting some help from the crossbar.
Thanks to a shaky French back-line and keeper, the Americans have had their chances in the first half, and capitalized on one. Heather O'Reilly came flying down the left flank in the ninth minute, placing a perfect cross right on the foot of Lauren Cheney inside the six-yard-box. Cheney finished the chance and the USA had the early lead, 1-0.
Sonia Bompastor had the most dangerous chance for the French side, drilling a shot from the left flank in a perfect spot, only to see it hit the crossbar. Solo had no shot at making a save, but thanks to a bit of luck, the ball stayed out of the net. Bompastor has been the most dangerous player for France thus far, causing fits on the left side for the American defense.
Abby Wambach had two chances in quick succession late in the first half, testing the French back-line and keeper, but just missing goals each time. A header went just wide in the 39th minute and a right-footed shot from inside the six-yard-box was also just off target, preventing the USA from extending its lead. Wambach has looked dangerous, however, and has been terrorizing the French defense.
At the half, the USA leads France, 1-0 in the Women's World Cup semifinals.
For more on the tournament, be sure to visit SB Nation Soccer's 2011 Women's World Cup StoryStream. Stay with this StoryStream for more on Hope Solo and the United States Womens National Team.