The most anticipated match of this Women’s World Cup did not disappoint. In a colossal contest on a summer night in Paris, the US prevailed over host France to move a step closer to successfully defending its title. Every blockbuster needs a fine storyline and the script for this quarterfinal is one that will stand the test of time because it was Megan Rapinoe — the USWNT co-captain who had irked US President Donald Trump earlier in the week — who was the match winner, scoring in each half to secure a hard-fought 2-1 win.
Rapinoe’s free-kick five minutes into this quarter-final evaded a sea of bodies in the box on its way into the net to stun the home crowd at the Parc des Princes. The USA then soaked up pressure before delivering the knockout blow midway through the second half when Rapinoe turned in Tobin Heath’s centre, although Wendie Renard pulled a goal back for France to set up a tense finish.
Jill Ellis’s team held on and go through to a semi-final against England in Lyon next Tuesday as they seek to retain their crown and win a fourth World Cup in eight editions. “We didn’t have the best night on the ball but the focus defensively, and the willingness and the discipline to do what we did tonight is tremendous,” said the 33-year-old Rapinoe. “We were ruthless with our chances, so moving on to the next round, that’s really all that matters. It’s a game that we’ll never forget here in Paris.”
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20 September, 2019