VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – The United States stuck with the lineup it used to defeat Germany in the semifinals for the title match on Sunday against Japan at the Women’s World Cup.
The U.S. women started Alex Morgan up top at forward, with Carli Lloyd as an attacking midfielder. Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath were on the wings, with midfielders Lauren Holiday and Morgan Brian sitting back.
The United States has pushed Lloyd forward for the past two matches, which re-energized an offense that had been stagnant at times earlier in the tournament.
The U.S. backline, which has been solid throughout the monthlong tournament, also remained unchanged with Meghan Klingenberg, Becky Sauerbrunn, Julie Johnston and Ali Krieger. Hope Solo, who has five straight shutouts going into the final, started in goal.
It was the identical lineup that coach Jill Ellis used in the 2-0 semifinal victory over top-ranked Germany on Tuesday.
The game against Japan is a rematch of the World Cup final in Germany four years ago, which Japan won following a penalty shootout.
Solo also started in goal in 2011 for the match against Japan, as did Lloyd, Krieger, Holiday and Rapinoe.
Japan’s lineup included Ayumi Kaihori in goal behind defenders Aya Sameshima, Saki Kumagai, Azusa Iwashimizu and Saori Ariyoshi; Aya Miyama, Rumi Utsugi, Mizuho Sakaguchi, Nahomi Kawasumi in the midfield; and Shinobu Ohno and Yuki Ogimi on top.
Kaihori, Sameshima, Kumagai, Iwashimizu, Miyama, Sakagushi, Kawasumi and Ohno also started for Japan four years ago.
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