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USWNT aims to knock off hosts France in World Cup quarterfinals

After a narrow victory over Spain, the U.S. Women’s National Team faces its biggest test yet, as they face France in a quarterfinal showdown this Friday. Megan Rapinoe’s two penalty-kick goals were enough to beat Spain and seal a blockbuster clash against the Women’s World Cup hosts.

Heading into the tournament, the USWNT and France were considered the favorites to become champions in July. This game represents what many had believed could have been the final.

France topped Group A without conceding a single goal and defeated Brazil to reach the quarterfinals. Their match against Brazil was tough though, eventually being decided in extra-time thanks to a goal from captain Amandine Henry.

“She’s fantastic, I consider her one of the best players in the world,” Tobin Heath said when asked about her former Portland Thorns teammate Henry.

“She’s a natural leader and I think it’s shown a lot in this World Cup and I think they’re lucky to have her as their captain and their leader because she’s a great player and I think she knows what it takes to win.”

Although the USWNT is largely considered the nation with the best squad, France have some of the best players in the world.

Seven of their players won the most recent UEFA Women’s Champions League with Olympique Lyon, a testament to the quality in the team.

“France is obviously a great team, we’re really excited for the challenge,” Samantha Mewis said.

“I think offensively they’re pretty explosive and unpredictable,” Heath said. “I think they have a lot of firepower. And defensively I think they’re pretty sound, I think they have good vets [veterans] in the back that are organizing the team and then I think they’re also a great set-piece team.”

Speaking of set-pieces, the clear target for many of these free kicks and corners is certainly going to be Wendie Renard, the tallest player at the World Cup.

“We all have so much respect for her and I think that our set up on set-pieces will remain the same and we just have to make sure we’re doing our jobs in executing and watching out for her because she’s definitely dangerous,” Mewis said regarding the aerial threat of Renard.

On the other hand, France will have to be weary of Alex Morgan, who will hope to claim sole possession of top spot in the race for the golden boot. She is currently tied with Australia’s Sam Kerr, who is already eliminated from the World Cup, at five goals.

She is also tied for most assists along with teammate Mewis and France’s Amel Majri.

Both of Majri’s assists have come off of set-pieces, a danger the USWNT will be well aware of.

A matchup to keep an eye on will be Majri and Heath. Heath has terrorized fullbacks throughout the World Cup, but has yet to score or provide an assist so far. Her end product has to improve if the USWNT are to move on to the semifinals.

Left-back Majri will be tasked with handling Heath, a job that could prove to be essential to France’s defensive solidity in the game. Considered one of the best fullbacks in the world, Majri will have to use every ounce of her abilities to contain Heath, while also providing width in the final third.

Both nations have a clean bill of health and don’t have any suspensions to worry about. There will be no excuses for the loser of Friday’s mouthwatering quarterfinal.

The winner will face the winner of the quarterfinal match between Norway and England to be played Thursday.


  1. this has the feel of the Germany vs. Brazil match in 2014. one side is going to be in tears at the end of the match, and i think once again it will be the hosts.

    Dunn vs. Diani looks like the only weakness for us. Position by position I think we will match up very well against them. Lets go USWNT!

  2. On paper, this will be the toughest match the USA would have. HOWEVER, their chances of winning the W/C are made that much more difficult by the toughest schedule ever encountered by a team. You may remember in 2015, Germany was favored to win, but had a grueling match with France in the Quarter-Finals. On the other hand, the US had it relatively EZ with Columbia and China in the first 2 rounds. So, the US was able to get up for Germany. But that almost wasn’t enough. The match was at 0-0 in the 2nd half and Germany had a PK with a forward taking it who had never missed in International competition. However thanks to a 90 second psych. job by GK Hope Solo, she missed to the left, and U. S. went on to beat the fatigued German Team 2-0. After England lost the other Semi by providing Japan with a self-generated O. G. in the last minute of play, The U. S. got Japan as a Finals Opponent.

    However, things are different this year. The U. S. has the killer schedule Spain-France-England Germany, and it will be impossible for them to be “UP” for all 4 matches the way they were for Germany in 2015. Besides, France has beaten the U. S. the last 2 times they have played including the SBC in 2018 and a “Friendly” this Spring. Added to that, the fact they will have the euphoria of playing before the home crowd, makes an FR win likely.
    My Prediction will be 2-1 France. And even if they do get by France, they will have England and Germany who will have played a significantly easier schedule. This was known some time back, which caused Megan R. to say that France is the team to beat for the W/C, to which I solidly concur. The U. S. will have to have their “A” game on display to have any chance, along with a break or 2 along the way.

  3. Heath actually has a low soccer I.Q. judging from her play.All she has is straight ahead speed. Her dribbling skills are non existant. No deception, no change of pace or direction. To defend her, just give ground and force her to the outside and hope she crosses the ball without getting to the endline. She has terrorized no one except the imagination of the press. Dunn is a huge liability for the USA, poor technique and zero capacity to overlap. She will have to defend against one of the best in the world. The USA still plays too much kickball. long passes thru the gaps. The rest of the world is catching up and passing us by. If not this year, then looking at Spain and Italy, probably next time. Athleticism will only take you so far.They must start to play soccer soon.

    • Umm, not sure I’m with you here. I agree low IQ and questionable decision making but Tobin Heath is considered to have world class skills with the ball, the question is making use of them and not just looking cool, but her dribbling abilities have been documented many many times. Dunn is used at outside back purely because it gives them a strong overlapping option. Not I do agree we have been questionable, and not super aesthetically pleasing to watch, but sometimes you go with what works. Forget which game, I want to say the second group game, was it Chile? I thought we didn’t look for quality buildup as much as just fire balls into the box and count on being bigger and stronger, and it wasn’t real fun to watch, but guess what, they were bigger and stronger. I’m not trying to argue by the way, but sometimes I think we are overly critical, they’re in a fine spot and have a chance to take home the cup, you want to keep building not peak in the group stage. And if you take home the cup no one cares how pretty it was. Sometimes in sports its important to not get too high or too low, being excited to do what they’ve done so far would be a huge mistake, they’ve done what they are supposed to and not necessarily great, but a win is a win, I’d rather be complaining about this than complaining about not making the WC

  4. “Heath has terrorized fullbacks throughout the World Cup, but has yet to score.”

    Heath had the most headscratching “own-goal” ruling I’ve ever seen vs. Sweden. You’d think FIFA executives somehow made money on own goals.

    • Right? I guess it was judged to have been a re-directed, off-target shot…even though it glanced off the Swedish player and nary changed direction…*shrugs*

      • Yeah, if watch her shot in slo-mo, it was aimed up high over the GKs head. However, the DB stuck her foot in and the shot skimmed the top of the DBs foot and that caused it to do 2 things: 1) it elevated the ball, and 2) created tremendous over-spin, so that it went over the GKs head from the upward momentum, but 2) began spinning down as soon as it went over her head, giving the impression it was a looping shot. So the shot ended up on the ground in back of the GK instead of burying in the top of the net. However, none of that makes any difference. If the striker was sending the ball towards the goal, it makes no difference whether or not it is deflected on the way in. It is scored as a goal by the striker. The only time it is an O. G., is when the ball was not heading goal-ward before being deflected in by the defender. This was a clear error by the scorer. It should have been corrected before the match went into the record books. Hopefully, it will be corrected later on.

        And on another note, Tobin Heath has beat more DBs from her right wing position than any other USA RW I can remember playing that position. So shame on you Dr.k. for not noticing that during matches this year.

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