Megan Rapinoe celebrates after scoring at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Quarter Final match on June 28, 2019 in Paris.
For everyone expecting a Women’s World Cup quarterfinal match that felt more like a final, the U.S. and France did not disappoint.
Two-time Olympian Megan Rapinoe was once again a force, scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory over the host nation that launched Team USA into the semifinals against England on Tuesday. It was their 10th consecutive World Cup victory, tying Norway for the record. Rapinoe also became the first player with two goals in consecutive knockout World Cup games, and the first U.S. player to score four straight goals for the women’s squad at a World Cup.
This will be the U.S. women’s eighth consecutive semifinal appearance as they continue their defense of the 2015 World Cup title and their quest for a fourth title overall.
With temperatures in the 90s in Paris on Friday, it was still hot at kickoff at 9 p.m. local time, and the U.S. brought even more heat right from the start. The last time the two teams met was a friendly back in January, and France came away with a 3-1 victory, but the U.S. was missing some of its biggest stars in that game, including two-time Olympian Rapinoe.
Rapinoe scored both U.S. goals on penalty kicks in a 2-1 win over Spain in the round of 16, the first real test for the Americans so far in the tournament. Prior to Friday’s game she said she hoped the matchup would be “huge and crazy” with the stadium packed full of fans of both teams, it was exactly that.
Rapinoe gave the U.S. fans a lot more reason to go wild when she scored just five minutes into the game. With a free kick, Rapinoe’s teammates jammed the space in front of the net and created enough traffic that the ball found its way through. France’s goalkeeper never got a good look as it sailed past her on the left.
After both teams had their opportunities early in the second half, it was in the 65th minute that Rapinoe scored her fifth goal of the tournament and gave the U.S. a little breathing room. Alex Morgan found a passing lane and got the ball to Tobin Heath on the right. She carried it down to the line and sent the ball past Samantha Mewis, who’d drawn attention directly in the middle, all the way over to a wide open Rapinoe at the far post and she converted to give the U.S. a second goal.
They were going to need it.
France got a free kick in the 81st minute and Wendie Renard headed it in to get her team right back in the game. The U.S. defense was able to end the comeback attempt there, however, and stop France’s run.