As has been the case in every single one of their games so far at this Women’s World Cup, the US pounced early against France and never gave up the lead. And just like the Round of 16 game against Spain, it was Megan Rapinoe who gave the US the vital first goal. Against Spain it was from the penalty spot but against France it was straight from a free kick that French goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi should have done better with. The US was able to add another one in the second half, and even though the hosts were able to halve the deficit late in the game, the US was never truly in danger of losing and emerged with a 2-1 victory. They now get set for a semi-final against a team that has made massive strides over the last several years and will be perhaps the toughest test of the tournament: England.
Despite wonderment by the media about possible distractions off the field, Megan Rapinoe has carried the US team through their first two knockout round games. She scored both goals against Spain (which both came from the penalty spot) and then got two against France as well. She has a total of five goals so far this tournament (her first came in the 13-0 drubbing of Thailand). The US as a whole has yet to really be tested consistently so far. The French were fancied as the team most likely to beat the US but appeared strangely unable to do much of anything in the final third and seemed to just accept the loss once the first goal went in. The only team that has really gone toe to toe with the US was Spain in the Round of 16. The US went up 1-0 very quickly in that game but Spain hit right back and was unlucky to lose 2-1. But while they US has won every game, they have been on cruise control for the most part and have yet to be pushed to the brink. England may be just the team to do that.
England and the US have become much more familiar foes over the last few years. The two teams have played at all four editions of the She Believes Cup, with the US winning two of those four meetings, England winning one, and the two battling to a 2-2 draw in their most recent meeting this past March. That particular game was a cracking affair as the US went up 1-0, England tied it up and then took the lead, before the US tied it back up after a crazy goal-line scramble. Despite the success of Phil Neville as the manger after taking over in January of 2018, getting to the knockout rounds of the Women’s World Cup is not a new experience for the Three Lionesses, having qualified for the knockout rounds at every edition of the tournament since 2007. That year they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by the US. In 2011 they were again eliminated in the quarter-finals, this time on penalties (they are England after all) by France. Four years ago they got all the way to the semi-finals where they eventually fell to Japan on a 92nd minute own goal by Laura Bassett. They did go on to beat defeat Germany in the third place game. So far at this tournament they have done very well. They topped Group D, winning all three games and earning the maximum 9 points. They followed that up with a 3-0 win against Cameroon, in a game that garnered more attention for the appalling behavior of the Cameroonian players than for anything England did to beat them (whether it was violently shoving the referee from behind, or refusing to restart play after VAR decisions went against them, or players fighting with their own coach on the sideline, to them having two players being lucky to not get send off and shown red cards for horror tackles). In the quarter-finals they made short work of Norway to the tune of 3-0. With that win, they have now won five in a row and have not conceded a goal since their first game of the tournament against Scotland. The big stars for England have all had their moments so far: Nikita Parris has a goal from the penalty spot, Ellen White has put four into the back of the net, and Steph Houghton has a goal as well.
1. The US has made the semi-finals of all eight Women’s World Cups.
2. This is just the second meeting between the US and England at the Women’s World Cup.
3. Both teams have won every single game they’ve played at this tournament and each team has been stingy defensively, as they’ve combined to only give up three goals between them.
When and where the game is on US TV and streaming
USA leads 10-4-2
Saturday, March 2, 2019
USA 2-2 England
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