The United States will play England in the Women’s World Cup semi-finals after a dominant performance in their 2-1 win over France.
Megan Rapinoe was the United States’ match-winner for the second game running as she netted another brace to help the holders beat hosts France 2-1 in Paris and set up a Women’s World Cup semi-final clash with England.
Reign FC forward Rapinoe, who scored twice in the USA’s victory over Spain on Monday, showed no signs of distraction after her war of words with American president Donald Trump as she put her side into an early lead from which a France team featuring six players from Champions League-winning Lyon never recovered.
USA have made a habit of scoring early in this competition and France knew all about the attacking threat of Alex Morgan and Rapinoe. However, France nevertheless fell behind after just five minutes when Morgan won a free-kick that experienced forward Rapinoe converted.
An expectant crowd at a sold-out Parc des Princes awaited the response from France’s talented front four but could only watch as a USA defence marshalled masterfully by Abby Dahlkemper and Becky Sauerbrunn repeatedly slammed the door in their faces.
France had won 17 of their previous 18 matches in all competitions but there was no way back for Corinne Diacre’s players after Rapinoe slid home her second after 65 minutes, despite Wendie Renard’s late consolation, and the USA will take some stopping on current form.
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Shaken by the early goal, France steadied themselves and stemmed the flow of USA attacks but failed to muster a shot on target themselves as they struggled to compete with the physicality of Samantha Mewis and Julie Ertz in midfield.
Bouhaddi was called into action early in the second half to make a double save from Mewis and Tobin Heath, before Eugenie Le Sommer snatched at a close-range chance at the other end and blazed wide.
USA goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher was finally tested when Valerie Gauvin’s header threatened to loop over her head but she dived backwards to claim it.
France were still in the game until Renard was caught napping as Morgan’s pass fed Heath, who had a clear run to the box where she dragged the ball back to Rapinoe for an easy finish.
Heath thought she had scored one of her own 10 minutes later but an offside flag ruled otherwise.
Renard set up a tense finish when she headed Gaetane Thiney’s free-kick home from 10 yards, but the bullish USA defence held firm.