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Exactly 12 years (to the DAY) after Team USA won the World Cup Final in a nail-biting shootout, the Lady Nats brought us to the edge of our seats again. They fell to Brazil in the semifinals four years ago, so tension was already high. Throughout the messy match, in spite of questionable calls from the officials, and even after losing a player to a straight red, the amazing U.S. Women’s National Team never lost heart.

I can’t imagine the frustration or fatigue that must have hung over them in such an intense game. A little loss of heart and drive might have been understood or even expected. Commentator Ian Darke seemed a little skeptical of their chances, even while his co-commentator Julie Foudy continued proclaiming that the U.S. still had life left.

I kept trying not to get my hopes up too high, but couldn’t let go of a spark of belief that a win was possible. It just had that feel… that feel that something special was going to happen. That Team USA magic was bubbling under the surface.

Abby Wambach‘s stoppage time goal had me off the coffee table (I had long since moved off the couch to perch on the edge of the coffee table) screaming. Then it was down to PKs, and it felt like deja vu from 1999. Heart pounding, hands shaking… intense. And like 1999, I ended up bouncing around the room.

Hard to believe this is just the quarterfinals. I don’t know if I can take the stress of two more rounds (but I have no doubt that the U.S. will be playing in that final)…

See the replay on espn3.com

Summaries, videos, photos, articles about the game: