Team USA defeats Spain 2-1; will face France in quarterfinals

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United States’ midfielder Julie Ertz (L) vies with Spain’s forward Nahikari Garcia during the France 2019 Women’s World Cup round of sixteen football match between Spain and USA, on June 24, 2019, at the Auguste-Delaune stadium in Reims, northern France. Getty

The United States beat Spain in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, earning the right to advance to the quarterfinal round of the tournament. Their next match will be Friday against France.

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Spain came at the U.S. quickly, getting their first good chance on goal seconds into the match. A solid rebound came in, but defender Becky Sauerbrunn headed the ball away with authority.

Megan Rapinoe took the penalty kick for the USA and made no mistake, putting it into the bottom left corner of the net as the Spain goalkeeper dove in the exact opposite direction.

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But Spain didn’t let up, evening the score less than three minutes later. On a miskick clearing the ball by U.S. keeper Alysssa Naeher, Spain’s Jennifer Hermoso made a brilliant move to get the ball in the box and fire off a top-corner blast to tie the match at one, as the U.S. gave up their first goal in the tournament.

Both sides battled back-and-forth throughout the first half, with the U.S. outshooting Spain, 6-2. But the two sides went to the locker room for the half time break tied at one goal apiece.

The battle and the deadlock continued through the second half until the 76th minute when Rapinoe converted a second penalty kick after U.S. midfielder Rose Lavelle was taken down in the area. In the end, the U.S. had outshot Spain 10-4, holding 56% of the possession. But Team USA also had been fouled by Spain players 18 times, two of which led to direct goals.

It was a rough game for the U.S., but they came out on the upper hand and will advance to the quarterfinals against France on June 28. France needed 30 minutes of extra time to beat Brazil on Sunday in a match that was already quite physical. Conditioning will play a big role for both sides Friday, though France does have an extra day to recover.

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