USWNT Dumps France Out Of 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup 2-1

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USWNT Dumps France Out Of 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup 2-1

The U.S. women's national team shows off their pride jerseys before a friendly against China on June 12, 2018.

The U.S. women's national team shows off their pride jerseys before a friendly against China on June 12, 2018.

The U.S. women's national team shows off their pride jerseys before a friendly against China on June 12, 2018.

The U.S. women's national team shows off their pride jerseys before a friendly against China on June 12, 2018.

By Sourav Dhar, Sports Editor

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In one of the most important matches of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the United States and host country France squared off in the quarterfinals of the tournament on Friday, June 28 at the Parc des Princes in Paris, France. The U.S. prevailed 2-1 in a thrilling fixture, thanks to two goals from winger Megan Rapinoe. The two teams were considered to be two of the best sides in the world, and the clash between the titans was a heavily anticipated one, dubbed “the final before the final”, as both nations were favorites to win the whole competition.

The scoring started early, with Rapinoe firing the United States in front in the fifth minute with a picturesque free kick to beat French goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi. The free kick was set up after French defender Griedge Mbock Bathy picked up a yellow card after a rash tackle on U.S. forward Alex Morgan. From there, Rapinoe drove the  free kick at the near post, where Bouhaddi could not see it due to many players in front of her, capping off a dream start for the United States. Rapinoe’s goal marked the first time France had trailed in this World Cup. 

From then on, France started to get more aggressive offensively, but didn’t register a shot on goal for the entire first half; forward Eugénie Le Sommer had a good chance, but her header from defender Amel Majri’s cross went wide of goal. The U.S. had a few more shots on target after Rapinoe’s goal, with forward Alex Morgan, midfielder Sam Mewis, and defender Crystal Dunn all having opportunities, but their shots were no problem for Bouhaddi. The  American back line, led by Dunn and Becky Sauerbrunn, also helped shut down the French attack in the first 45 minutes.

The action in the second half began quickly, with the United States having two good chances courtesy of Mewis and forward Tobin Heath, but Bouhaddi made a great double save to deny the Americans. Then, France continued to put more pressure on the U.S. defense, resulting in some good opportunities in the hosts’ favor, yet they failed to convert. Afterwards, in the 65th minute, Rapinoe slotted in another goal off a cross from Heath to double the United States’ lead completely against the run of play, 2-0. The United States thought they picked up another goal when Heath tapped in a goal off a cross from Dunn, but the referee ruled Dunn offsides in a controversial decision, canceling out the goal.

After good chances from French midfielder Amandine Henry and Le Sommer, France finally scored a goal in the 81st minute, with defender Wendie Renard heading in a cross on a free kick taken by forward Gaëtane Thiney, simply glancing the ball past U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher to get Les Bleues back in the game. Renard’s goal was a mere consolation though, as the United States held on to advance, although not without more controversy; in the 86th minute, Majri hit a cross that deflected off of U.S. defender Kelley O’Hara’s arm. French supporters and players appealed for a penalty, but none was given. From there, the Americans repelled the onslaught of French attacks until the final whistle. Behind Rapinoe’s brace, the U.S. had eliminated France from their own World Cup, moving on to the semifinals for the eighth straight time.

The United States will face England in the semifinals on Tuesday, July 2, in the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon.