The most anticipated match of this Women’s World Cup did not disappoint. In a colossal contest on a balmy summer night in Paris, the US prevailed over host France to move a step closer to successfully defending its title.
Every blockbuster needs a fine storyline and the script for this quarterfinal is one that will stand the test of time because it was Megan Rapinoe who was the match winner, scoring twice in each half to secure a hard-fought 2-1 win.
A knockout tie between arguably the two best teams in the world was always going to send a favorite packing. The reason why ticket prices had gone in the same direction as the mercury in the French capital for a match billed as “Le Grand Match” was because no-one could confidently predict how the match would unfold.
A drilled Rapinoe free-kick gave the defending champion a fifth-minute lead, and the midfielder doubled the advantage after the break by directing a Tobin Heath cross home.
With 10 minutes remaining, a Wendie Renard header raised the decibels inside the stadium and sowed some seeds of doubt but, after a pulsating 90 minutes, the experience, composure and calm of the defending champion proved decisive.