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U.S. women beat France 3-1, make World Cup final

By Craig Johnson, For CNN
U.S. striker Abby Wambach heads home the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute.
U.S. striker Abby Wambach heads home the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute.
  • The team now advances to the title match Sunday
  • "The confidence comes from our preparation," Team USA goalie Solo says

(CNN) -- The U.S. women's soccer team advanced to the World Cup final by beating France 3-1 Wednesday on a rain-soaked field in Moenchengladbach, Germany.

After the game, Team USA ran onto the field celebrating their hard-won victory over a determined French team that outplayed them everywhere but on the scoreboard.

"I'm exhausted. I need a rest," U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said in postgame comments after the match amid pandemonium from her players.

Forgive the women's soccer team if they seem to be partying like it's 1999.

That was the last time they won the World Cup, led by Mia Hamm.

On Wednesday, the heroics belonged to star U.S. forward Abby Wambach, who came through in the clutch for the second straight match.

Soccer fan: 'I feel great'

Against Brazil on Sunday, the United States came from behind to win a thriller after Wambach headed in a cross from teammate Megan Rapinoe to tie the match late in extra time. 3 keys to the match

This time Wambach scored off a corner kick by Lauren Cheney to break a 1-1 tie -- and seemed to break the French team's spirits.

After the game, Team USA goalie Hope Solo said she has confidence her team can win it all this Sunday. "The confidence comes from our preparation and because we know we're damn good," she said.

The second semifinal Wednesday pits Sweden against Japan. The winners will meet for the title on Sunday.

The reigning Olympic champion Americans are bidding for a record third World Cup title after winning in 1991 and 1999; World Cup host Germany claimed the crown in 2003 and 2007.