In a terrific match that would itself have made a worthy decider, Kazbek Tambi's side produced their best performance of the tournament to edge out Ralf Peter's European champions in front of a crowd of 8,040 in New Zealand's Garden City. Yet this thrilling semi-final began badly for the Americans, with Alexandra Popp rewarding Germany's greater early enterprise with a fine headed goal, bulleted home in seven minutes from Dzsenifer Marozsan's drilled corner.
USA looked to be on the ropes at this stage, but they bounced back to dominate a first half that witnessed both Mewis sisters hit the woodwork; Kristie cracking the post with a left-foot shot and Sam's looping header being denied by the crossbar.
The reward for their pressure finally came with 63 minutes played, when Germany goalkeeper Anna Sarholz flapped at a deep cross from substitute Erika Tymrak, allowing Vicki Di Martino to preserve her record of scoring in every game in New Zealand by poking home from close range.
Tambi's side had the bit between their teeth now and, with ten minutes remaining, Courtney Verloo scored a thoroughly merited winner, sweeping the ball into the net from close range after Amber Brooks had hit the bar and Julia Roberts scuffed her attempt to convert the rebound.