Abby Wambach’s fourth goal in as many games at London 2012 helped USA to a 2-0 win over New Zealand in Newcastle in a match where the favourites were kept at bay for long stages during the 90 minutes.
But in this hard-fought encounter, New Zealand had their chances too – and set the tone in the ninth minute when Katie Hoyle’s powerful drive from distance went wide.
Morgan should have put USA in front 60 seconds later when she rounded the goalkeeper, but screwed her shot across the face of goal with the net gaping. Wambach was also guilty of similar profligacy when she missed the target from three yards.
The strike duo made amends shortly after when they combined well to create USA’s opener in the 27th minute. Morgan twisted and turned Rebecca Smith on the left side of the box before supplying Wambach with a chance which she simply could not miss.
Morgan again went close in the first ten minutes of the second half but failed to trouble Jenny Bindon. Ria Percival had two long-range efforts, with Hope Solo claiming one comfortably, the other whistling just past the post.
There was a scare for both sides when a battle for the ball between Morgan and Bindon left both prostrate on the turf, but fortunately both were fine to continue after treatment.
Pia Sundhage’s side made sure of their progression to the semis when Sydney Leroux powered down the left hand side before cutting inside and unleashing a shot which Bindon had no chance of saving.