The U.S. women are one game away from reaching their first World Cup final since 1999 -- the last time they won soccer's biggest prize -- and the only thing on their minds now is beating France.
"Losing is not an option," Abby Wambach said Tuesday. "We want to win this thing, and France is standing in our way right now."
The Americans are the top-ranked team in the world and defending Olympic gold medalists, yet they were almost afterthoughts when the tournament began two weeks ago.
Two-time defending champion Germany was considered the heavy favorite, sure to get a boost playing on home soil. Then there was Brazil, runner-up at the past three major tournaments and led by Marta, FIFA's player of the year five years running.
And the U.S.? It had to win a playoff with Italy just to get here, and it had been uncharacteristically inconsistent with three losses in a five-month span.
But the Germans are now spectators, stunned by Japan in the quarterfinals. Brazil is gone, too, losing to the Americans in a thrilling penalty shootout.
Unlike the Americans, who have reached the semifinals at each of the six World Cups, this is the first trip for France. And the French have never beaten the Americans, going 0-11-1 in their previous meetings.