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U.S. beats France and will play Japan in Women's World Cup final

The U.S. women celebrate Alex Morgan's goal in the 3-1 win over France.
The U.S. women celebrate Alex Morgan's goal in the 3-1 win over France.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • United States into final of Women's World Cup in Germany
  • U.S. beat France 3-1 in semifinal in Moenchengladbach
  • Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan score goals to break out of 1-1 tie
  • NEW: U.S. will play Japan who beat Sweden 3-1 in second semifinal in Frankfurt

(CNN) -- Two goals in three minutes from Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan put the United States into the final of the Women's World Cup with a 3-1 victory over France Wednesday.

The teams were tied at 1-1 until Wambach powered home a 79th minute header before young substitute Morgan sealed the victory with a cool finish.

The United States will play Japan, who beat Sweden 3-1 in the second semifinal in Frankfurt to continue their superb run in the competition.

Lauren Cheney had put the U.S. ahead in the Borussia-Park stadium in Moenchengladbach as early as the ninth minute.

But France, who had beaten England on penalties in a dramatic quarterfinal, responded by dominating possession.

Soccer fan: 'I feel great'
I think France played very well. We lost our legs in the second half but then we picked it up
--Pia Sundhage
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Their deserved equalizer came in the 55th minute when Sonia Bompastor's dangerous ball into the penalty area eluded U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo without getting a further touch.

At this point, France looked the more likely winners, but United States coach Pia Sundhage quickly introduced Morgan and Megan Rapinoe from the bench to change the course of the game.

SI.com: 3 keys to the match

Prolific striker Wambach put them ahead with a thumping header from a Cheney corner which left French goalkeeper Berangere Sapowicz with no chance.

The excellent Rapinoe then played in Morgan with a neat pass and she chipped Sapowicz to wrap up the victory.

But Sundhage ackowledged they had been thoroughly tested by a French side who played with considerable flair.

"I think France played very well. We lost our legs in the second half but then we picked it up," she told Eurosport.

The reigning Olympic champions are bidding for a record third World Cup title after winning in 1991 and 1999 before hosts Germany claimed the crown in 2003 and 2007.

Japan caused the upset of the tournament by stunning the Germans 1-0 in the quarterfinals and they showed their qualities again with a later impressive win over Sweden to make a World Cup final for the first time in their history.

Sweden made a fast start as striker Josefine Oqvist thumped the opener past Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori on 10 minutes.

But Japan striker Nahomi Kawasumi equalized with a fine individual goal nine minutes later and put them ahead after the break.

Captain Homare Sawa wrapped up the Japan win with her fourth goal in five games as her side beat top European opposition for the second straight game.

They will return to Frankfurt for Sunday's final against the United States.