Spain v USA | Round of Sixteen 2019

FIFA Women's World Cup | Stade Auguste-Delaune

In what is already a highly anticipated game, the holders move on to the next round to face hosts France, but they had to work for today’s win against a determined side of Spain. After Tobin Heath was brought down in the region, Megan Rapinoe transformed an early punishment; every U.S. objective in France 2019 came before the 12th minute. La Rojab became the first team in this World Cup to score against the USA; the objective of Hermoso was the first Stars & Stripes to be awarded in 317 minutes at the Women’s World Cup. Rapinoe became the second player in the history of the tournament to score two penalties in one match after putting in the second half another past Panos, following a foul on Rose Lavelle. The victory carries to 14 games the unbeaten run of the United States in the Women’s World Cup, which is one of the shy records of Germany from 2003-2011.

“I really feel that we all should be proud of what we did. I am very proud indeed. In terms of competitiveness, we gave the best team in the world a run for their money. It was a great effort on part of all the players. We’re going to grow from this defeat, and I’m really sure all the players on the team have ensured their future.”
Jorge Vilda, Spain head coach

Megan Rapinoe got her Player of the Match Trophy from her former classmate, a great friend, and Abby Wambach, the all-time leading goal scorer from the United States. Fair play first and foremost. Like Silvia Meseguer and Julie Ertz and Megan Rapinoe and Marta Corredera, Lucia Garcia and Ali Krieger exchanged shirts after the match.

“We need to stay very organised. The French team’s really good on the ball. They have a ton of attacking talent. Offensively we need to get after them. We can’t sit back and let them play. Our press can hurt them and we need to bring the game to them.”
Megan Rapinoe, Visa Player of the Match

America squeaks through that unscathed one, but not without Spain’s fight. The quick and physical play was the hardest test the team has ever seen and made for a amount of bumps and bruises. The two objectives scored by the USA were converted by Megan Rapinoe with both penalties. It’s on to the quarter-finals, where they’re going to face France hosts in what’s going to be a highly anticipated game all over the globe.

“When I look at this as a coach, I look at 14 or 15 starters. It was just a decision on what we needed for this particular match. We went with Sam. Lindsey is very much a starter on this team. We have multiple options in that regard.”
Jill Ellis, USA head coach

Spain is out of the contest, but they demonstrated against the USA that they are prepared to compete against the greatest teams in the globe, even more than against Germany. They realized that to get a opportunity they required almost a ideal match, and they almost did that. They matched America’s physical strength and were aggressive in attacking and defending. In front of the objective they enhanced their precision. They stuck together and managed to complicate the life of the reigning champions. The United States scored only from the penalty spot and Spain never gave up. They pushed the whole way to the final whistle for an equaliser. They created history in their second Women’s World Cup, and there’s no doubt after what they’ve shown today that the best is yet to come, and that’s going to be sooner rather than later.

Image: Kane Oosty/FIFA