Women's World Cup: USA beat Spain 2-1 to set up huge France clash

Yahoo Sport UK
Rapinoe's scores from the spot. (Photo by Jose Breton/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Rapinoe's scores from the spot. (Photo by Jose Breton/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

USA are into the World Cup quarter final following a 2-1 victory over Spain in Reims.

Two penalties from captain Megan Rapinoe saw her side navigate a tough tie against a gusty Spanish side to set up an exciting host v holders clash for a place in the semi final.

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With their blistering form coming into the game, few would have been surprised when the USA found themselves ahead after just five minutes.

A fine first touch from Tobin Heath saw the midfielder carry the ball into the box and after getting the better of Mapi Leon, the Spanish defender could only stop her opponent by tripping her over.

Given all the VAR controversy that has surrounded this competition, Hungarian official Katalin Kulcsar needed no help in awarding the spot kick.

Skipper Rapinoe made no mistake from twelve yards, hammering the ball into the bottom corner sending Sandra Panos the wrong way.

If the USA expected the rest of the game to be be procession, they would be sorely mistaken as Spain found themselves level just three minutes later.

Receiving a short pass from her keeper Alyssa Naeher, Becky Sauerbrunn failed to anticipate Lucia Garcia closing her down.

Jennifer Hermoso of Spain Women celebrates her equaliser (Photo by Geert van Erven/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Jennifer Hermoso of Spain Women celebrates her equaliser (Photo by Geert van Erven/Soccrates/Getty Images)

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The Spanish forward played the ball to her teammate Jenni Hermoso and the forward’s stunning long-range effort from the edge of the box beat the outstretched hand of Naeher to level the scores.

It was the first time the US defence had been breached in France so far and encouraged Spain to continue putting pressure on the World Champions’ defence.

However, the USA created more chances as they looked to reestablish their dominance.

The Spanish defence stood firm and it would take another penalty for the tournament favourites to retake the lead.

Rose Lavelle managed to knock the ball away from the outstretched leg of Spain’s Virginia Torrecilla before getting caught on the thigh and going to ground.

Kulcsar was in no doubt and pointed to the spot however, VAR struck again and there was a lengthy delay before the kick.

Despite Lavelle’s apparent delayed fall, the official needed multiple replays before she deemed there to be enough contact for a foul and the decision was upheld.

Rapinoe struck again to put her side 2-1 up, sealing victory and setting up a mouth-watering clash with the hosts in Paris on Friday.

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