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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.