By Anne M. Peterson
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — That the United States capped Friday with a victory over China to advance to the semifinals at the Women’s World Cup had special meaning for forward Abby Wambach.
Earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples across the nation have the right to marry. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion: “No longer may this liberty be denied.”
U.S. Soccer posted to Twitter: “More than ever, today we are #OneNationOneTeam #LoveWins.”
Wambach has been married to her partner, Sarah Huffman, since 2013.
“Obviously it impacts my life personally, but everybody on our team was super happy and excited about it. And to cap it off with a win, moving on to the semis at the World Cup, for me it doesn’t get any better,” Wambach said.
The United States defeated China 1-0 on Carli Lloyd’s goal in the 51st minute. The win sends the second-ranked Americans to a semifinal on Tuesday in Montreal against top-ranked Germany.
The Supreme Court ruling will put an end to same-sex marriage bans in the 14 states that still maintain them.
UNCERTAIN PAYDAY: Australian midfielder Katrina Gorry is far more concerned about facing Japan in the Women’s World Cup quarterfinal than she is about a pay dispute happening back home.
“We’ve come to the World Cup to compete with the best teams in the world and show the world what we’re capable of,” Gorry said, Friday. “So all those other things will take care of themselves, and it’s something we’re really not focused on.”
Gorry was responding to a question over how much the Matildas should get paid from Australia’s governing body, Football Federation Australia. The players’ union, Professional Football Australia, has put off discussions on the national women’s team pay to instead deal with the more pressing issue of negotiating a collective bargaining agreement for the country’s pro men’s league.
Gorry said the women’s team has tuned out much of the chatter about the talks.
“We are just kind of in our own little clam,” she said.
MAYBE HE’LL WEAR A COAT: Australian coach Alen Stajcic scoffs at questions about how hot it might get on the field in Edmonton for his team’s quarterfinal match against Japan on Saturday.
The forecast calls for temperatures approaching 90, and the game to be played at 2 p.m. local time, when the sun will be near its peak.
“To be honest, if it’s 30 or 31 degrees (Celsius), that’s in the comfort zone for our players,” Stajcic said. “When we play back home in our summer leagues, we often play in temperatures 35 to 40 (95 to 104 Fahrenheit), even 41. So 30 degrees is mild for us.”
With games being played on artificial turf, the on-field conditions will feel like it’s 100.
Stajcic also noted that Australia and Japan played in even hotter and more humid conditions at the Asian Cup last year in Viet Nam.
IT’S ROUGH OUT THERE: France midfielder Kheira Hamraoui entered the quarterfinal match against Germany in the 11th minute of extra time, and she almost left it five minutes later after taking an elbow to the face.
Hamraoui’s face was drenched in blood, sending her to the sideline. After the team’s medical staff stopped the bleeding, she had to change her jersey before returning to the field. But just as she was ready to re-enter, the fourth official pointed out some blood on her shorts, further delaying her return.
This left France playing with 10 for several minutes of extra time in a game that went to penalty kicks tied 1-1.
According to FIFA’s Laws of the Game: “Any player bleeding from a wound must leave the field of play. He may not return until the referee is satisfied that the bleeding has stopped. A player is not permitted to wear clothing with blood on it.”
Germany won the shootout 5-4 to reach the semifinals, where it will play the United States.
RECAPPING: The United States defeated China 1-0 on Friday night, after France and Germany played in an epic quarterfinal that was won by Germany on penalty kicks after a 1-all tie. Those two teams will meet in the semifinals in Montreal on Tuesday.
UP NEXT: Hosts Canada plays England at BC Place on Saturday, while Australia faces defending champion Japan at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.
AP Sports Writers John Wawrow in Edmonton and Jimmy Golen in Montreal contributed to this report.
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