TOKYO – The United States beat Nigeria 2-0 on Tuesday and will play defending champion Germany for the women's under-20 World Cup title.
Morgan Brian scored in the first half and Kealia Ohai added another goal in the second to send the Americans to the final for the third time. The U.S. won in 2002 and 2008.
"It was a difficult match physically," U.S. coach Steve Swanson said. "Nigeria gave us all we could handle and a little more. Getting that first goal was key for us."
Germany, looking to become the first team to win consecutive titles, beat host Japan 3-0. Japan will face Nigeria for third place Saturday before the U.S. meets Germany. The Germans also won the title in 2004.
Brian opened the scoring with a header in the 22nd minute. In the 70th minute, Ohai took a through ball from Samantha Mewis and sent a 12-yard, right-footed shot past goalkeeper Ibubeleye Whyte.
Nigeria pressed forward after the second goal but the Americans denied them a chance to get back in the game.
"I thought our back four did a very good job of keeping possession and allowing us to get out of our end," Swanson said.
Germany struck for three goals in the opening 20 minutes against Japan.
Melanie Leupolz scored in the first minute when she took a pass from Dzsenifer Marozsan and beat goalkeeper Sakiko Ikeda with an angled shot. Marozsan doubled the lead in the 13th with a lob over Ikeda. Lena Lotzen made it 3-0 with a header in the 19th for her sixth goal of the tournament.