Jill Ellis praised her side’s defensive resilience after leading USA to the Women’s World Cup final.
The 48-year-old, who was raised in Waterlooville before moving Stateside at the age of 15, oversaw an impressive 2-0 win over tournament favourites Germany in Montreal.
The Germans were left to rue a second-half penalty miss from striker Celia Sasic with the scoreline goalless, before USA’s Carli Lloyd converted a penalty of her own and then set up Kelley O’Hara for a late game-sealing goal.
It was a victory made all the more impressive by the fact that free-scoring Germany, the world’s No 1 ranked side, entered the semi-final having scored a remarkable 20 goals in the tournament.
But, once again, the USA’s strength in defence won the day as they extended their run without conceding a goal to 513 minutes, 28 minutes off the all-time World Cup record.
A jubilant Ellis, whose side will face her home nation England or Japan in Sunday night’s final (midnight), said: ‘We will enjoy this, and then our focus will turn to our next opponent.
‘I’m very proud of the players, they stepped up.
‘This team has embraced the accountability of defending in every line.
‘We have gritty players at the back, and sophisticated players at the back and our defensive record is a credit to the team.
‘We played with two number sixes so we could release Carli (Lloyd) and it worked.’