The USA took an early lead through Lauren Cheney but France were not to be denied an equaliser and levelled after the break when Sonia Bompastor’s cross somehow found its way into the back of the American’s net.
With extra time seeming a distinct possibility the USA struck twice in the final 11 minutes to secure a first berth in the final since last winning the competition in 1999.
Abby Wambach broke the deadlock with a towering header from a Lauren Cheney corner to the far post.
Alex Morgan sealed the victory in the 82nd minute to provoke scenes of joy at the final whistle from the American bench.
“Abby, she's just the best,” USA coach Pia Sundhage said of the goalscorer. “I'm very happy to have her in our team. Great.”