USA! USA! USA!
That was me, about 4 hours ago in the middle of my office, right after the United States Women’s National Team beat France in a nail-biting 2-1 game. It was a close one, but the representatives of our fair country made it through the game with a victory.
But first, they had to get past Spain on Monday. Boy oh boy was that one stressful. The Spanish team came out with a vengeance, pressing the United States hard and fast, keeping that momentum up the entire game. Both of the US’s goals came from captain Megan Rapinoe, and both came from penalty kicks, the second being a topic of debate. Shortly after the Americans scored the first goal, Spain’s Jennifer Hermoso bounced back to score and end the 8 competitive game shutout the United States had going, the first Alyssa Naeher had let in this entire World Cup. US star Alex Morgan was battered and abused all game, leaving not much of an impact at all, which was definitely out of the norm for her. The second penalty kick was in question and reviewed, as Spanish player Virginia Torrecilla seemingly tripped Rose Lavelle, and after review it was confirmed it did in fact happen. Now not everyone has accepted that, but unfortunately for Spain, they have no choice. In the 75th minute, Rapinoe put the penalty kick in the net for the go ahead 2nd goal, and that ended up being the final tally needed to win the game.
The US were tested enormously in the game against Spain, which let us to the contest today.
United States v France. Parc des Princes, Paris.
A much anticipated game, and certainly one that lived up to the expectations. Yet again, the United States were led by captain Megan Rapinoe to victory, with a 2-1 scoreline. Rapinoe netted a free kick from the left of the French goal, through a jumble of players to boot. Unfortunately for them, France’s Sarah Bouhaddi didn’t even get an eye on the shot to be able to stop it, leading to the United States 1-0 lead. Despite some back and forth, and a good chance for the US at the end of the half, they went into halftime with the same scoreline. Historically, the United States Women’s National Team have NEVER lost a World Cup match after scoring first, but I’d be lying if I wasn’t worried coming towards the end of the match. A little bit past the 60 minute mark, Lindsay Horan came barreling down the right side of the field off a pass from Alex Morgan, and curved it back across the goal mouth right into the awaiting legs of Megan Rapinoe. Once again, the captain put the ball in the net to give the US a 2-0 lead, hoping to seal the deal.
Let’s just say that lit a fire under France, leading to an ensuing onslaught. Shortly after a US goal was called back, France’s own Wendie Renard headed a ball past Naeher to put the game to a 2-1 scoreline. That goal game at the 81 minute mark, leaving there to be 9 minutes left in regulation with an additional 5 minutes being added. Thankfully, and keeping to tradition, the United States did not concede another goal and finished off the game 2-1 to keep their undefeated-after-scoring-the-first-goal streak alive.
Thankfully, the United States looked MUCH better this game than they did on Monday, easing any worries that at least I had. They looked crisp, clean and calculated. With this victory, the US have moved on the semi-finals against England, quickly en route to a possible back-to-back.
USA will face England on Tuesday, July 2nd at 3PM.
Photos courtesy of FIFA’s official tournament website.