The U.S. Women’s National Team survived a late push from World Cup hosts France to book its place in the semifinals.
Megan Rapinoe became the first player to score four-consecutive goals in World Cup history, scoring a brace in the USWNT’s 2-1 quarterfinal win over France in Paris.
Rapinoe broke the deadlock after five minutes, curling in a free-kick through the legs of Amandine Henry and past goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi. The effort surprised the keeper who was unable to keep the effort out of the net.
An open first-half continued at the Parc des Princes, but France was unable to level the score before halftime. Bouhaddi’s double-save a minute into the second-half kept Les Bleus in it as she repelled Sam Mewis’ effort before kick-saving Tobin Heath’s low rebound.
Rapinoe extended the USWNT’s lead in the 65th-minute, slotting home a loose pass from Heath past Bouhaddi. Heath was looking for striker Alex Morgan with the pass, but it was behind her allowing Rapinoe the chance to run on and finish confidently.
France did not lay down though as they continued to pressure the U.S. late in the half. Eventually their pressure paid off as centerback Wendie Renard got on the end of a Gaetane Thiney free-kick in the 81st-minute.
The USWNT will take on another familiar foe from this calendar year in next week’s semifinals. Phil Neville’s England will oppose Jill Ellis’ side on July 3rd with the winner advancing to the final on July 7th.
Against a team like France, playing at home in the W/C, you will need to bring your best game to the field or book your flight home. As it turned out, the USA did everything right, and it was enough to move on. I see these areas below as the keys to the win.
1) The first goal appeared to be a perfectly designed and executed play. A hard grounder towards Ertz, saw her dummy the ball through the pack. Not only did this fake out everyone, but it blocked the view of the GK, so that by the time everyone figured out what happened, the ball was over the Goal Line. Kudos to the coaching staff for putting this one together and for our girls for executing it so well. This was Super-critical to the cause because the team which scores first almost always wins.
2) The 2nd goal was almost as good, with Tobin Health pulling a crossing pass behind a well guarded Alex Morgan, to an unguarded Megan Rapinoe, who was trailing the play, and Megan slotted the shot right inside the right post for what-would-be the winner.
With France possessing 3 World Class Strikers, our defense had its work cut out for them.
However, they came through when they needed to:
3) Diani, who had made life miserable for the U. S. in their last meeting, scoring 2 goals and running amok on the right side, was bottled up this match and was not really a factor in anything.
4) Ditto for Le Sommer, who you may remember running circles around our defense in the 2018 She Believes Cup Match. Eugenie got off a number of shots, but she was so crowded when she did that none of the shots were even on goal.
5) Coach Jill Ellis for substituting 3 strong defensive players late in the match, when the only objective was to hold on to the lead. All of coach Ellis’s strategy appeared to work to perfection tonight, so lets hear it for the coach!!!!
England is next and things will not get a whole lot easier. They are probably bigger than we are, and with Soccer Legend Phil Neville coaching them, they will most likely have a few tricks up their sleeves. I foresee that the W/C will now be, most likely, decided at this match.
The question will be, Can the U. S. get up for another match, the way they got up for France, with only 3 days rest??? You need to remember that England has had a couple of relative “breathers” coming into this match, winning each 3-0 handily!!!
Was interesting to see us play a team that was as skilled as our players and had a speed advantage in several areas. Ellis made the decision to sit back and counter, which led to some of the sloppiness others have commented on I think. Also, some nerves from both sides. Seemed to work, as France seemed frustrated in attack all game long. Not sure how our defense left the tallest player unmarked on their goal. Gotta give Rapinoe credit, she was a menace on that left side all game, her best game I’ve seen yet. Her finish on the second was excellent too, the way she held her run at the top of the box, calm and composed on the strike. Reminded me we don’t have a player on the men’s side right now with those kind of goal-scoring instincts. On the to semis!
If that 3rd goal stood, completely changes the outlook of the game. Id like to see a straight on view of that line. Close one. 3-0, and the write up wld be how dominate they were. Such is the game.
Morgan, ive been super critical of her. She was vital to closing out that game.
Certainly has the talent. Took players on, nice thru balls. Hope this game propels her to be the one that earns the spotlight vs england. Rapinoe will only go so far.
That right side, defensively almost blew the game. O’Hara, yikes. Heath, some bonehead defense and giving up fouls.
That last 10 mins was a clinic on how to close out a tight game. Smart game mgmt all over the field.
A pretty sloppily played game. The French weren’t much better than the US, with a lot of poor passes and unforced turnovers on both sides. The US vs. Spain game was much better played. Not only was the US pretty poor in ball movement, too often players made poor decisions, trying to do too much individually instead of passing off, sometimes dribbling right into trouble, etc. They will have to do much better vs. England. Most importantly they won and the result is all important and they were playing one of the best teams on their home soil.
Yeah in some ways I def agree, particularly when it comes to the “dribbling into trouble” part. France were very much lacking in the playmaking department and it seemed we were content to let them try to break us down and hit them on the counter, which we did very effectively (I thought the offside on the third “goal” was very fortunate stuff for France). The England game will be a different kind of test — looking forward to it!