France has never beaten the United States twice in succession, but a quarterfinal victory over the favorites on Friday would mean so much more. Rapinoe shrugged them off by facing the crowd with her arms raised in celebration after both her goals. "I'm more energized by that". The Americans would need this insurance: Wendi Renard scored for France on a header in the 81st minute, but the USA held off France's attack in the game's final minutes to advance to the semifinals, on July 2 against England.
A fast start Friday and a late defensive stand helped the USA women's national team earn a spot in the semifinals of the World Cup thanks to a 2-1 win over the host nation in Paris.
France, laying just under -1.5 goals versus Norway in group play, could manage only a 2-1 victory (helped by a penalty kick in the final minutes).
After the break, the United States survived some intense French pressure but then the 33-year-old Rapinoe added their second goal in the 65th minute with a calm finish after a low cross from the right by Tobin Heath.
Megan Rapinoe's shot, a free kick on the left wing - right outside the goal box - somehow lasered past the entire American and French teams, it seemed. I don't think we should shy away from that. We hit them where it hurt, we took our chances. "You can't ask for any more than this", said Rapinoe. "This team has an unreal amount of heart". Aside from the U.S. Women's National Team, what do they all have in common?
A day before the match, Rapinoe said she stood by her comments, except the coarse language.
The USWNT has played their hands well thus far in the competition, albeit a somewhat uncomfortable 2-1 win against round-of-16 opponent Spain. "I am not a person to give up", she said. And it was. I feel like it was a great match, " Morgan said.
The United States went to a five-player backline and repeatedly kept the aggressive French team at bay.
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Following halftime, the US nearly made a second goal with a shot by Sam Mewis, but France goalie Sarah Bouhaddi saved it and kicked away an attempt by Tobin Heath. "It's an honour to be behind them". Seven players on France's roster play for Lyon, which routed Barcelona 4-1 to win the women's Champions League for the fourth straight year and sixth time overall.
France's hopes of turning the match around depended on them opening up the American defense with their clever passing but while they impressed in build-up play they created few openings.
Even before referee Kateryna Monzul had blown her whistle to start the match, USA captain Alex Morgan had raised eyebrows by not singing the national anthem.
US President Donald Trump had responded critically but Rapinoe doubled down on her stance in the pre-match press conference. With three of the four quarterfinals featuring only European teams, Olympic qualifiers from Europe could be settled this weekend.
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"We showed despite everything we weren't too far off US I have never seen United States switch to a five-man back line that early. We'll be going to the training pitch and getting even better". France also fought to a tough win in their last game: defeating Brazil 2-1 in extra time. The team's best finish at the tournament was fourth in 2011.
World Cup tickets for Friday's match-up went for as much as $11,372 on StubHub.