Text: Amsley Pie
On a sultry Friday night in Paris in front of a pro-French crowd of 45,595, the U.S. Women’s National Team beat the French Women’s National Team, 2-1. With this win the Americans’ keep their streak of being the only team to advance to the semifinals in every single Women’s World Cup alive. Furthermore, the USA continues to be the only host country to ever win the Women’s World Cup.
The USA came out strong. In the 4th minute forward Alex Morgan was taken down just outside the 18 yard box by French defender Griedge Mbock Bathy, who was shown a yellow card, earning the American’s a free-kick, which was whipped home by Megan Rapinoe beating all the players in the box and French Goalie Sarah Bouhaddi. This moment not only set the tone for the rest of the match in terms of which team would be the more dominate but also let the players know that the referee was going to be controlling the match tightly. Additionally, the U.S Women’s National Team has scored within the first twelve minutes of every game so far during their 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign. There was a brief scare for American fans in the middle of the first half as after dropping to the ground Alex Morgan had to leave the pitch for a moment. But, after briefly being attended to by the training staff she re-entered the game. At the end of the half the score was still 1-0 in favor of the Americans with them dominating possession 57%.
At the start of the second half the U.S. continued to pressure the French back line. But, Bouhaddi made a number of saves keeping the score line 1-0. However, that all changed in the 65th minute when Rapinoe scored again. This play started with Alex Morgan sending a beautiful ball to Tobin Heath, on the right side, who sent a cross in just behind Sam Mewis making a run into a penalty box finding Megan Rapinoe making a late run on the left side. In the 81st minute the French side would score on a free-kick with a header by Wendi Renard. However, despite continuing to press hard in the last 15 minutes of the match, France was unable to score the equalizer. The USA switched to a 5 back defensive line making sure to preserve the lead in order to advance to the semifinals for the 8th consecutive time.
With consecutive braces in the past two matches, Rapinoe is still in the running for the golden boot award. She now sits tied with Alex Morgan, Ellen White of England, and Sam Kerr of Australia. Morgan and White are the only two players still playing in the tournament.
Overall, this was a great match for the Americans. A number of players had the game of their lives including Crystal Dunn and Kelly O’Hara effectively containing the speedy French forwards Le Sommer and Diani all night long. The U.S. was definitely the more determined of the two teams to win the match.
Up next for the U.S. Women’s National team is encountering England in the semifinal in Lyon on Tuesday, July 2nd at 9:00pm French time and 3:00 pm ET, which will be broadcasted on Fox.