Rapinoe double sees off hosts France to book semi-final place


The U.S. women’s national team continued its record-setting performance on Friday, defeating France 2-1 at the Parc des Prines in Paris, to reach the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup, where they will play England on Tuesday.

The U.S. is the only nation to reach the semi-finals eight times in eight Women’s World Cups.

U.S. forward Megan Rapinoe scored two goals, for the second time in as many matches, and became the first player to score four consecutive goals for the U.S. at a Women’s World Cup and the first player in the tournament’s history to score two or more goals in consecutive knockout stage matches.

Rapinoe scored in the fifth minute after the U.S. was awarded a free kick after a foul on Alex Morgan by French defender Griedge Mbock Bathy. Rapinoe sent a low, hard ball towards the goal, which went through the crowded box, untouched, and into the net.

“For us to get an early goal it takes the pressure off us and France has to chase the game from there,” said U.S. midfielder Rose Lavelle. “It was a big weight off our shoulders to get it that early.”

Rapinoe scored her second goal in the 65th minute after Tobin Heath sent a cross from the right-side, making its way to a very-open Rapinoe, who easily put it away.

France’s Wendie Renard headed-in a free kick in the 81st minute to halve the deficit and increase the excitement in the stadium, packed with 45,595 – mostly French – fans.

The Americans prevailed and won the match, in large part, due to a strong defensive performance.

“I thought the back line were tremendous tonight, the whole back line,” said U.S. coach Jill Ellis.

U.S. defender Crystal Dunn had the heavy challenge of keeping French forward Kadidiatou Diani in check and stepped-up to the task.

“Dunney was just on point,” said Ellis. “Her one v one defending…I thought she stepped-up big time.”

Rapinoe also acknowledged the strong defensive effort.

“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 and we were ruthless in our chances,” said Rapinoe. “It was a game that we’ll never forget, here in Paris.”

The heavily-anticipated match-up between the U.S. and France was one that many called “a final match in a quarter-final.” The two teams did not disappoint, battling for possession until the final whistle. Ellis said it was “the most intense match I’ve ever been a part of.”


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