France v USA | Quarter Final 2019

FIFA Women's World Cup | Parc des Princes

It was a game with hosts France and USA playing a intriguing and absorbing quarter-final in Paris that lived up to all the hype. The ruthlessness of the United States before the objective proved too much for Les Bleues on the night as Megan Rapinoe won a brace for the first time in history in consecutive Women’s World Cup level knockout games. France is eliminated as the USA prepares for a semi-final mouthwatering against England in Lyon on 2 July.

“That was quadruple the amount of grit (compared to the Spain win). You have to give it up to France. They outplayed us in terms of having the ball. We were so good defensivley. We took our chances and hit them where it hurt. This is what it’s all about. We’d have loved to play nicer, but we now have England and we move on. This is so special to beat the host nation in the Parc des Princes; you can’t ask for any more than this.”
Megan Rapinoe, Player of the Match

With these statistics, you can impress your friends. Rapinoe is the first player in a Women’s World Cup to score four straight objectives for the USA. She is also the first player in tournament history to score two or more objectives in consecutive stage knockout matches.

Rapinoe’s two objectives tonight see her join Alex Morgan, Kristine Lilly, and Mia Hamm fourth in the all-time goal scoring list for the U.S. Women’s World Cup.

“It did live up to expectations. I’m happy to say that. We lived through a couple of storms during the match. I think we finished things off really well at the end. We did well. We knew there would be tough times and adversity, but we faced it straight on and we’re moving on. We’re so happy about it.”
Alex Morgan, USA forward.

The United States scored three of the six fastest objectives so far achieved at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

As Jill Ellis said before the game, “We live in the pressure,” and the United States showed that they could manage that pressure, defeating France’s host on home soil. It was the first time that USA played the host country at a Women’s World Cup and passed the test.

“I’m not the kind of person to give up. I still have work to do. There are still certain things we need to fine tune and work on together. Yes, it is a failure on a footballing level. We’re a long way off our target but I hope we have retained something elsewhere, and I hope we have won over the hearts and minds of the public and helped the women’s game go further and move into that next level. We showed we’re not too far off the USA side. I’ve never seen a USA side switch to a five-player backline, so it’s a sign we’re making progress.”
Corinne Diacre, France head coach

And from Paris that’s all! In the final minutes of the match, the U.S. squad defended against a powerful French squad that fought with everything they had for their life. While sometimes it may not have been the most beautiful matches, they did what they needed to do to get the job done and win a spot against England in the semi-finals.

Les Bleues, though it was too late, managed to use their primary weapon, their quality on set pieces. Kadidiatou Diani was outstanding on the right wing, as was the case throughout the tournament, but the United States, and particularly Megan Rapinoe, hurt France. The world champions were being executed too quickly and ruthlessly and showed why they are the world’s number one-ranked team.

“That was the most intense match I have ever been a part of. A win’s a win in a World Cup. I haven’t seen many pretty games in a World Cup. We trained for a back-five for moments like this. France are an incredible team. The surge from the fans was intense, like a tsunami. To have flexibility and to know what card we needed to play at each particular moment. I credit the players. They’ve taken everything on. Tactics are tactics, and if they help you get a result, fair play.”
Jill Ellis, USA head coach.

The USA keep going to the semi-finals, where on Tuesday 2 July they will face England in Lyon.

Image: Kane Oosty/FIFA