Rapinoe scores twice as U.S. knocks out World Cup host France
American victory sets up semifinal clash with England
Megan Rapinoe struck twice as the United States beat hosts France 2-1 in the women's World Cup quarter-finals at the Parc des Princes on Friday to set up a last-four clash with England.
Rapinoe, who was involved in a spat with U.S. President Donald Trump during the build up to the game, opened the scoring in the fifth minute with a low-struck free-kick from the left that went in untouched through a crowd of players.
The 33-year-old Rapinoe added their second goal in the 65th minute and although France got back in the game with a Wendie Renard header in the 81st, the U.S held firm to maintain their record of never missing out on the World Cup semi-finals.
A night which showed just how far the women's tournament has grown, with thousands of traveling American fans in a sell-out 45,000 crowd, ended in disappointment for the hosts.
Corinne Diacre's French team played attractive, passing football but, while their style was more contemporary and esthetically pleasing, it was the killer edge of the experienced Americans that proved decisive.
"You have to give it up to the French team. They outplayed us for sure with the ball today," said Rapinoe.
"But we were so good defensively, so strong. We hit them where it hurt, we took our chances. This team has an unreal amount of heart," she added.
Heart and brains too.
Seeing the French defense had put just two players in the defensive wall for the early free-kick, Rapinoe accepted the invitation and her low drive flew through a crowded area and past unsighted goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi.