fifa women's world cup
US team celebrates. Twitter

The US women's team beat China 1-0 with a dramatic goal to make it to the semifinals of the World Cup. They're now just two games away from a possible victory that they haven't enjoyed since 1999 — when they also bested China in a 1-0 penalty shootout.

The teams were tied up at halftime when star forward Amy Wambach told her huddle that the US would win the game if they could score in the next ten minutes, reports USA Today. So six minutes later, Carli Lloyd headed the ball with a leap into the back of the net off a long cross from Julie Johnston. It was Lloyd's second goal of this World Cup.

The US, unbeaten in five games at the Cup, outshot China 17-7 and put more shots on goal, 5-2.

The game, expected to be a major challenge for the American team, turned out to be the players' strongest performance at the World Cup. Before the showdown Lloyd had criticised her own and her teammates' play, saying they needed to energise their stagnant offense, and that she also needed to do much more.

She had a different assessment afterward.

"From top to bottom, we put China on their heels," Lloyd said after the game. "We went after it, and we got the job done."

The American women have reached the semifinals of every World Cup since the tournament began in 1991. The team next faces Germany — which has scored a tournament high 20 goals at the games — in Montreal 30 June.