first_imgMegan 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. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? 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.2 – Megan Rapinoe is the first player to score two or more goals in back-to-back Women’s World Cup appearances since Marta in 2007. Double. #FIFAWWC #USA #FRAUSA pic.twitter.com/bHY3VbMrcj— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 28, 2019Rapinoe’s opener came when a low free-kick from the left bounced through a crowd of bodies and evaded Sarah Bouhaddi’s left hand before bulging the net.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. Key Opta Facts:- The host nation has been eliminated at the quarter-final stage in each of the last four Women’s World Cup tournaments – China in 2007, Germany in 2011, Canada in 2015 and France in 2019 have all fallen at this stage.- USA have reached the semi-final in all eight of their Women’s World Cup tournaments.- USA have now won their last 10 matches at the Women’s World Cup, equalling the longest run of wins in the tournament’s history set by Norway between 1995 and 1999.- Six of France’s 10 goals at the 2019 Women’s World Cup were scored via set-pieces, with four of those scored by Wendie Renard.- USA’s Megan Rapinoe became the first player to score two or more goals in consecutive Women’s World Cup matches since Marta did so for Brazil in 2007. read morelast_img

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