Paris, June 29 (IANS) The US showed why they are regarded as the premier side in women’s soccer, defeating host nation France 2-1 to claim a spot in the semi-finals of the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
As she did in the quarter-final against Spain, Megan Rapinoe on Friday scored both goals for the Americans, who have never failed to reach the final four of a competition they have won three times, most recently in 2015, reports Efe news.
A near-capacity crowd of more than 45,000 people were in the stands at Parc des Princes on a sweltering night in Paris for the most-anticipated match-up of the 2019 championship and the contest did not disappoint.
Unexpectedly, given their talent, the US ceded the initiative to the French, who had more than 60 per cent possession and outshot the Americans 20-10.
But while France had more of the ball, the US were more effective and took a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute, when Rapinoe threaded a free-kick through a forest of legs.
Getting the early goal allowed the US to fall back and await chances on the counter for speedy forwards Rapinoe and Alex Morgan.
France, after being held without a shot in the first half, created some nervous moments for the US over the course of roughly 20 minutes following the re-start.
Eugenie Le Sommer shot wide with US goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher on the deck in the 57th minute and Valerie Gauvin had a chance a few minutes later, though her weak header that posed no real test for the American netminder.
And just as France were hitting their stride, Rapinoe got her second of the night, converting a pass from Tobin Heath to put the US up 2-0 in the 65th minute.
The French battled on and cut the deficit to one goal in the 82nd minute, when Wendie Renaud headed-in off a set piece, prompting US coach Jill Ellis to send in two defensive-minded subs to put the match to bed.
The US will face England on July 2 in the first semi-final.