This is it, people. For country, for glory, for gold.
The U.S. versus Brazil.
Anthems. All the U.S. players are singing along.
Solo, Mitts, Rampone, Markgraf, Chalupny, Tarpley, Boxx, O'Reilly, Lloyd, Hucles, Rodriguez.
Barbara, Simone, Tania, Renata Costa, Erika, Maycon, Daniela, Formiga, Ester, Cristiane, Marta,
1- THe ball slips off ARod's foot as she tries to cross. It's raining.
6 - Marta gets the ball forward, but Rampone puts it out for a throw.
7 - The U.S. is hustling well in midfield, breaking up Brazil's linking play. Brazil is slowly, but steadily working the ball into U.S. territory, though.
8 - Marta is offside.
9 - Solo gets to a cross before Cristiane can. Then she cuts off a pass over the top to Marta.
12 - Brazil gets a corner. There's a foul on the play even before it's taken and the U.S. gets the ball.
13 - Chastain opines that trust issues still linger for the U.S. team after the Solo incident. Oh, get over it, players. It's the gold medal match.
15 - The U.S. has a corner. All tournament long, they haven't really taken advantage of these. Hucles hits it close to goal, actually lands it on top of the net. Somehow, Chastain thinks this is the right thing. Ok, she means right idea, but it has to be said that was poor execution. It give the corner kick no chance.
18 - Rampone knocks a ball too far.
19 - ARod with a shot from distance. It's wide.
20 - Daniella tries to do the same, but her shot is blocked. Lloys backpass nearly gets picked off, but Chalupny's quick feet saves the ball for the U.S.
22 - Chalupny just beats Marta to a ball, the foul means the U.S. get the ball back.
23 - Chastain rightly points out the U.S. is playing perhaps the best soccer they have yet. I think that's the problem. If this this the U.S. at their best, and they're not generating chances, the U.S. is doomed. They're not playing badly, but they have to kick it up a notch and score.
24 - Right there, ARod's quickness gets a pass off in close, but it's just a bit too far for Tarpley.
27 - Cristiane runs onto a pass, but the U.S. defense gets back in time.
28 - Lloyd goes down near the box. She doesn't get the call and I wish she would have just tried to shoot it. I don't think the U.S. has a shot on goal, yet.
30 - The long-ball style could work for Brazil if they use it to advance to a close, quick play. Right now they have a corner. But the U.S. clear it - good header by Lloyd.
31 - Cristiane gets the ball in the box, rides a bump from Chalupny and continues, but somehow doesn't shoot and Solo gets to the ball in time. Cristiane goes down.
32 - Chastain goes on a little tirade against gamesmanship as Cristiane stays down, probably furious at herself for not shooting.
34 - Marta with an acrobatic dribble beats two defenders and then gets squirrely with her shot, putting it way wide. Awesome talent and nerves both on display there.
37 - Mitts cuts down Formiga on the break, gets a yellow. The tackle took a toll on Mitts as well, she's limping a bit. Brazil attacks that side, but Solo catches the cross.
39 - FK for Brazil, and their players flood the box. Solo is out for the catch. She falls, but hangs on.
40 - Marta with another amazing play beats two defender and gets a cross off, Solo is stuck on her line, but Chalupny puts the ball out for a corner.
41 - Solo punches out the corner kick. The ball works it's way to Hucles near the arc and she shoots - high.
42 - Maybe it's contagious - Cristiane shoots high.
44 - Chastain calls O'Reilly's pass "optimistic". It was actually a bad pass right to the Brazil defense.
45 - Solo scoops up a pass in the box.
The U.S. then stops another Brazilian attack. They've been putting out fires fairly well, but can't seem to start any of their own.
Well, the U.S. has been feisty in their defense, not so much on the attack. Still, the strategy by Sundhage might be perfect, because it does seem to be frustrating Brazil. They're an emotional team, and if they get flustered about not scoring, it could provoke a mistake that the U.S. can exploit.
The cheerleaders at the stadium have the crowd going to HSM's "We're all in this together." It's cute. Very innocent compared to the U.S. halftime routines I've seen. Not that I was really expecting China to get raunchy.
47 - Coach is right, this is s a very tactical match. Both teams are almost too careful with the ball. Someon will have to take a chance.
48 - Brazil is pushing the pace early on.
49 - ARod faces and attacks the Brazil defense. She earns a corner. Hucles knocks it to the far side of the box - too far for anyone to reach.
51 - Mitts foul on Cristiane and Chastain, a former defender, questions the intelligence of that move, because Cristiane wasn't in a threatening spot and Mitts already has a yellow.
52 - ARod trying to break through two defenders. Who does she think she is - Marta?
53 - Mitts loses the ball in a deep defensive position versus Cristiane. It leads to a Brazil corner. It's taken short, then Marta runs behind, picks up the ball and runs the endline with a quick dribble and gets a cross off that Solo cuts off quickly.
55 - Tackle on Hucles leads to U.S. FK. Lloyd practices a bit of gamesmanship as well - when Cristiane won't back up far enough, Lloyd keeps moving the ball forward, as in, "If you don't back up, I'm placing this ten feet forward, then."
57 - Mitts tackles Marta. She gets ball, but another yellow would see her gone.
59 - ARod is bleeding, apparently, so the U.S. is a man down at this point. I'm getting my blondes mixed up - Rodriguez is the one bleeding.
60 - Brazil attacks in force now. Chalupny puts the ball out for a throw with a desperate lunge.
61 - Renata Costa nutmegs the U.S. defense, earns a corner. Who does she think she is - Marta?
62 - Corner leads to another corner. On this one, ARod tries to break, so the U.S. is even on numbers.
63 - Marta shoots high.
64 - Mitts is playing with fire, fouling on a header and Brazil wants that second yellow. They don't get it, but a very dangerous FK, just outside the box.
65 - Or not. Daniella hits the wall.
68 - Play has settled down in the midfield a bit. The U.S. is outclassed a bit there, but they are breaking up Brazil's play, at least.
70 - I promised myself I wouldn't start talking about a scoreless draw until the 70th. I don't think it favors the U.S. They're already tired. They've already played extra time.
71 - Tarp goes out, Lauren Cheney comes in.
72 - SAVE! In yo face, Greg Ryan! Solo can make the reaction saves. She keeps her team in this by stoning Marta point-blank.
73 - Foul by Mitts again sets up another deep FK for Brazil. It's cleared.
75 - Tired passes from both sides leading to a lot of giveaways.
76 - Lloyd from distance. No. Wide.
78 - Daniela is out for Brazil. Fabiana comes in. Who? That's what I thought, too. If she scores, though, we'll never forget the name.
79 - Fabiana with a nice attack knocks the ball to Simone. The U.S. puts the ball out for a corner. Solo is struggling to reach the ball - she gets a punch off and the U.S. finally clear.
81 - Even though I picked Brazil to win, I think this match clearly puts the lie to all those who said last year that "It didn't matter who was in goal, or the red card on Boxx - Brazil was so clearly superior that they would have won no matter what." No, no, no.
82 - Marta from distance. She wants a foul call on the shot, which Solo catches.
83 - Fabiana caught offside.
84 - Tired defending from the U.S. leads to an extended run of Brazil possession.
86 - Tanya dribbles too long, and the U.S. takes the ball away, ARod in the box and Barbara is out scrambling. She kicks the ball out for a corner.
87 - The corner is cleared. Hucles gets another chance when the ball comes to her on the play after a throw and she puts the ball on frame. Barbara saves it, but finally the U.S. put a ball on frame.
88 - Fabiana tries to reach a long ball, but Mitts cuts it off. I really don't like how Mitts plays up the sideline so often. It gives Brazil too much of a chance to cut the ball off.
89 - Marta draws a foul from Boxx, just at the corner of the box. Dangerous. Cristiane heads the ball - up and out.
90 - ARod on the break! Why, oh why the chip? Barbara gets her hands up to it and makes the save.
90 + Fabiana earns Brazil a corner. The U.S. clear it and regulation time is done.
Chastain takes ARod to task over the chip. It's true - a golden opportunity wasted.
The U.S. look like their spirits are high. They're smiling and nodding as Sundhage talks to them. It's helps a lot to have a coach who instills confidence and believes in the youth of the team. That's going to go a long way to helping ARod shake off her chipped shot.
2 - Brazil trying to be more cagey, build up their opportunities. It's not a bad move, but it's not taking advantage of the weariness of the U.S.
4 - Cheney and ARod hook up on a play. Pass, pass to Lauren - but ARod shoots instead and Barbara has it.
5 - Both sides are so wary right now they're downright tentative.
7 - GOAL! Cheney helps build the play up, getting a tricky little pass in to ARod, who holds the ball up for a bit, then pops it out to Lloyd, who unleashes with venom. Barbara dives, but it's too late. 1-0. U.S.
8 - Marta into the box - a touch too far.
10 - Brazil came back from a goal down versus Germany, and there's still lots of time left. Corner for Brazil. It's cleared.
11 - Natasha Kai is hippetty-hopping on the sideline. She's in for O'Reilly.
12 - Boxx goes down on a foul. She's been a rock for the U.S. Ooh, and
Ooh, Brail in in the box! Marta's shot gets blocked again, and again as the U.S. defenders scramble. Wow. So close.
14 - Speaking of close, Fabiana is called offside in the box. It looked even.
15 - Rosana comes in for Simone.
Brazil has a corner. It bounces around in the box a bit, but Brazil finally clear.
First period of extra time ends.
Well, Solo kept the team in it, ARod shook off her miss to make the right pass, and Lloyd didn't miss.
17 - Yello card for Rosana, taking down ARod.
18 - Kai tackled by Erika. FK for the U.S. in a dangerous spot.
ARod can't quite get a cross off, though.
19 - Solo slips. But the defense holds.
20 - For a while at least. Brazil corner. It's cleared for another corner. on the other side.
21 - This corner crosses the face of the goal as Solo misses, but Cheney holds off her player and puts the ball out for yet another corner.
This one lands on top of the goal.
21 - Marta beats three defenders and lets loose with a shot! High by a few feet.
23 - Brazil in the box, attacking furiously, while the U.S. clear like mad. Marta gets another shot off, but it's blocked.
24 - Brazil FK - close in. Marta takes it, and the ball bends toward the far post - it nearly goes in! Solo was pegged to her line, trying to cover the deflection. Very close.
26 - Kai gets fouled on the outlet. The U.S. just hoofs the ball far.
27 - But now the U.S. actually builds up a play. ARod to Kai, to Cheney, to Lloyd, who breaks into the box and shoots, off the post! Game ender was on her foot. Still good to see.
29 - The U.S. is actually stretching the field a bit, playing in Brazil's half. But Brazil get the ball back and earn a corner through Fabiana.
30 - The U.S. burns a bit of time with a sub. ARod comes off for Stephanie Cox. Chastain questions the move.
Solo punches the corner, but not far and the follow shot - is into the outside side netting!
31 - Marta with a daring run crosses in front of goal, Solo misses on the dive, but the u.S. just barely clear.
Last chance for Brazil. Corner whips in to the box, Cristiane heads the ball - just wide.
GOLD, GOLD for the USA! They did it. They lost versus Norway, they were behind versus Japan, they went to extra time twice. They didn't have Wambach. They hung tough and they did it.
To me, the best part is that Sundhage keeps her job and she can continue to make this team even better. Make it happen, Sunil.
The stadium is playing techno to celebrate the win. It might not be Kai's style, but she's dancing around anyway. Of course. Brazil's players are weeping. Again they're the bridesmaids.
The U.S. may have been outplayed by Brazil at times, but they were never outworked and they finally outfought the South Americans.
Now the stadium is blaring the Queen classic. You know the one.
I've paid my dues -
Time after time -
I've done my sentence
But committed no crime -
And bad mistakes
I've made a few
I've had my share of sand kicked in my face -
But I've come through
We are the champions - my friends
And we'll keep on fighting - till the end -
We are the champions -
We are the champions
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions - of the world
Now some plaintive Chinese song is playing. I'm sure it's about persevering, never giving up. The female singer is hitting some astounding high notes.
Chastian 'fesses up to criticizing Lloyd sometimes for her outside shot, but gives her props for composure on the goal.
JP points out how no U.S. vets were there. If I were Rampone or Markgraf, I'd be offended.
JP also points out how much the win means for U.S. Soccer and the new women's pro league. That gets to start off with a golden sheen.
Out comes Germany, skipping and jumping, looking cheery as bronze medals winners. THe U.S. team is holding hands - nice show of solidarity. Brazil marches out, looking glum. A lot of people have stayed in the stadium for the ceremony, which is a bit unusual.
Solo is standing next to Lloyd. Why does that not surprise me? The two friends stuck together through everything, and now they have gold to show for it.
Germany gets their medals. They're gracious and pleased. Wonder how many of them will join the WPS. Prinz - this is likely her last Olympics. It's Germany's third consecutive bronze medal. Can't say they're not consistent.
JP lauds Brazil's play, calls them "most entertaining". I think they could have won, though, if they hadn't tightened up in crucial moments. The players still are somber and teary-eyed, especially Barbara, who looks heartbroken. Marta is crying as well. The silver medal is no consolation.
The U.S. team is holding hands still, ready to step up to the podium. Chastain reminisces about how special the moment is.
It's a smiling contest for the U.S. team as they receive their medals. They're grinning like crazy. Kai adds a fist pump. Chastain points out that Pia taught the players to enjoy the game again. The players have to untangle their arms from each other's shoulders to receive their bouquets.
The U.S. anthem plays. Like they did hours ago, all the U.S. players sing along.
Hee - the camera catches Solo taking time to smell the roses on her Olympic bouquet. As well she should. Enjoy it, Hope.
The U.S. team shakes hands with Germany, and then with Brazil. They pose for the winning team shot. We'll see that on U.S. Soccer's website soon, I'm sure. Rylie Rampone runs out to her mom. Keegan gets to Markgraf as well.
The camera fades out on the happy scene.