Rapinoe sets up USA showdown with France, Sweden scrape through

Women's World Cup

Women’s World Cup holders the United States will face hosts France in the quarter-finals after a pair of Megan Rapinoe penalties saw off Spain in a 2-1 win.

Having not conceded a goal heading into the last-16 tie in Reims, USA found matters much tougher against a resilient Spain side on Monday.

Maria Leon’s reckless challenge on Tobin Heath gifted Rapinoe a chance to open the scoring after seven minutes, which she duly took from 12 yards, only for Jennifer Hermoso to restore parity two minutes later.

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USA struggled to click into gear for much of the contest, with star forward Alex Morgan particularly quiet, but they were handed a reprieve when Virginia Torrecilla caught Rose Lavelle.

A lengthy VAR check was required to confirm the referee’s decision to award a penalty, but the delay did not bother USA captain Rapinoe, who thumped a low strike into the bottom-left corner.

France now awaits at Parc des Princes on Friday, as two of the tournament’s heavyweights go head-to-head.

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2 – Megan Rapinoe is just the second player to score two penalties in a single Women’s World Cup match after Spain’s Jenni Hermoso vs South Africa (also at the 2019 edition).

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Also through to the last eight are Sweden, who beat Canada 1-0 thanks to Stina Blackstenius’ clinical effort and a penalty saves from Hedvig Lindahl.

Blackstenius scored what proved to be the winner 55 minutes into the tie in Paris, with Sweden’s first shot on target.

Canada were given a penalty – the 22nd of the tournament, matching the total number of spot-kicks awarded at the 2015 edition – when Kosovare Asllani was adjudged to have handled after a VAR review, but Janine Beckie could not find a way past Lindahl.

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22 – There have been 22 penalties in 42 games so far at the 2019 Women’s World Cup; as many as in the 52 games in the 2015 edition.

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Sweden then saw a penalty of their own overturned by VAR, though Canada failed to take advantage of their good fortune.

Germany, who overcame Nigeria 3-0 on Saturday, will face Sweden in Rennes on Saturday.

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