Women's World Cup Round of 16 Spain 1 - 2 USA: Rapinoe helps USA into quarters, La Roja knocked out

Three-time champion USA beat Spain 2-1 thanks to skipper Megan Rapinoe's heroics in a Women's World Cup Round of 16 game in Reims. A first-half equaliser from Jennifer Hermoso was not enough for the La Roja.

Rapinoe

Here's what transpired and led to Megan Rapinoe's foul.   -  Getty Images

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live blog of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019.

This is Lavanya here and I will be taking you through the first game of the night and boy, is it a big one! Defending champion USA takes on Spain in the knockouts today and it promises to be one hell of a game. Stay with us for LIVE updates, commentary, statistics and much more.

There is another game on tonight as well. Sweden takes on Canada in a game that doesn't look as lopsided as this one does, on paper at least. My colleague Manasi will be taking you through that tie so make sure you stick around.

 

LIVE UPDATES:

That's all from me today. Manasi will be taking you through match #2 of the night where Sweden takes on Canada. The Canadians are up and kicking waiting to support their girls. I said earlier that the USA-Spain game seems lopsided. I take it all back. What a game! Alas, we can only have one winner and tonight, that is the United States of America. It's goodbye from me. Stay tuned for the next game.

Heartbreak for Spain but it should look at the positives. It's no small feat to bring US to its knees the way Spain did in those few moments of this game. Vilda's girls should go home proud, and for inspiring teams still in the running that no team in invincible.

I am glad I decided to blog this game. I was getting a little tired, personally, of USA's dominant defending champion vibe. Spain gave the Americans a run for their money and had it tried just a little harder, this would have been a different result altogether. USA has been tested this way for the first time in this tournament. It's game against Chile was also similar, except Spain's brilliance doesn't just concentrate around the goalpost.

We did not have much VAR drama today but that soft penalty that undid Spain is sure to get people talking for while. The Twitterverse is kinder to Spain, at least compared to the crowd in the stadium today. However, several Spanish fouls were uncalled too. Karma?
 

And there's the final whistle and Vilda's face says it all. Spain did its best but fell short. The defending champion will continue its title defense. USA is through to the quarters. It will take on France on Friday.

Can spain manage a equalizer? The La Roja have their backs to the wall now and are struggling. Last few seconds of the game and it seems like USA has done the job.

Press comes in for Rapinoe, The crowd is up on its feet.


 

Rapinoe is second player to score two penalties in one WWC match. Jennifer Hermoso was the first to do so, when Spain took on South Africa earlier in the tournament.



90'+2' Mariona lofts a ball forward toward Nahikari Garcia, but the pass is overhit and carries into the arms of Naeher.

Spain has had only one shot on target in this game, and that was Hermoso's goal.


We have ourselves 7 minutes of extra time.
After all the falling and fouling, all you surprised? The crowd loves it. More football for them. It feels like a US home game here.

89'
Horan replaced Lavelle.

19,663 people here in Reims today,
of which a considerable section is rooting for the Americans.

Lloyd comes in for Morgan.

The crowd clearly has zero sympathy for Spain now.

85'
After a heavy challenge on Rapinoe, Paredes is shown the yellow card.

Spain has played with 12 players today - the extra being coach Vilda. He has been phenomenal at the touchline.

This game has not seen a save.

Andrea Falcon is in.

Why did Morgan give up a shot at the penalty? Intriguing.

76' GOOALLL!!!! UNITED STATES TAKES THE LEAD!
Rapinoe stepped up from the penalty spot for the second time and slotted it under a diving Panos, and into the bottom right-hand corner! It wasn't how they would have imagined it coming, but the US has its second! Spain 1-2 United States

It's Rapinoe taking the kick now. Can she make it two of two?

PENALTY GIVEN
and the crowd comes alive!

All these girls, and the referees (especially the referees) need a cup of coffee. As do I.

This is getting funny to watch now. A penalty kick was given to the US. Morgan was all ready to take the kick and then the referee blows the whistle to go over to the VAR area to check again. This VAR situation is borderline hilarious now.


Morgan will take this kick.

71' PENALTY CALLED!
Lavelle goes down int the box after a Torrecilla was caught with her leg out! It looked like light contact, but the referee pointed to the spot nonetheless!

63' CHANCE!
Torrecilla dribbled toward the byline in the penalty area and played a ball that was half-shot, half-pass toward the back post where it neither snuck into the net nor found a team-mate! Naeher looks relieved to see that one go wide!

Goliath is not as mighty as he seemed to be. Creases on Jill Ellis' forehead tell a story of their own.

62'
The United States is struggling to handle the high-line of Spain, often hesitating on, or missing, the early runs of players.

60' CHANCE!
After a pass in from Dunn, Lavelle struck the ball well from the edge of the box and it fizzed just over the crossbar, and the outstretched hands of Panos!

The Garcia-Morgan-foul love story, still better than Twilight. [I had to]

54' In what is quickly becoming a trend, Morgan is fouled by Lucia Garcia and the US will have another free-kick.

This has been a very physical game so far. US players dropping to the ground by the minute here.

51' Now Alex Morgan is down on the turf after a strong nudge from behind.

50' Heath is down on the pitch after she and Torrecilla both tried to recover a loose ball with matching sliding efforts.

Lucia Garcia has troubled the US defense for much of the first haf. Spain needs to keep the momentum going to inflict some damage.

STAT: This is Alyssa Naeher's 50th cap for the United States. She is only the third USA goalkeeper since Mary Harvey in 1991 to play a Women's World Cup knockout game. Hope Solo and Brianna Scurry played in all the others.


And we're back with LIVE action from the second half. Can we get another goal? Is it going into extra time? I don't think so.

As we wait for another gripping 45 minutes of football, here are some numbers to keep you going.


 

HT SPAIN 1 - 1 USA


Alex Morgan has been quiet today. USA will need a lot more than what it's doing now to keep up its dangerous reputation.

45'+2' Nothing comes of the free-kick as Rapinoe’s ball had too much height on it and missed the heads of both Morgan and Lavelle who were in the area.

45'+1' Paredes fouls Morgan again, and the United States will have a dangerous free-kick as the half winds down.

I am surprised. No VAR drama yet?

Three minutes added time to go.

81.6 per cent of this match has been played in the midfield or Spain's third thus far.


There's a spirited exchange and a tap on the shoulder from Rapinoe here to Marta. All in good spirit, it seems.

37' YELLOW CARD FOR RAPINOE.
When we say the USA attack's going to feel like a slap on the face of the Spaniards, we don't expect it to ACTUALLY happen. Well, not really here too. Megan Rapinoe appears to cut one across Marta Corredera's face and is immediately booked.

The Spanish side, with its abundance of Barca players, has done well to fight and snatch possession back but has not managed to convert that into anything worthwhile on the scoreline.

33' Morgan is dragged back by Paredes and the latter is called for the foul. Free-kick to the United States.

As expected, the United States defense is looking ordinary today. Can Hermoso and co breach again?

31' Substitution. Vicky Losada comes off after the blow to her face. Nahikari Garcia replaces her.

24' The United States has leapt out to an early lead in possession having held the ball for 66.2 per cent of this match thus far.

The Spanish strategy is simple
: pressurise and frustrate. The girls are not letting USA get comfortable on the fied. Some good thinking here.



17' CHANCE!
The United States threatens again as Heath, after some skills in the box, played the ball into Rapinoe who had her first-time shot blocked by Leon on the goal-line!

Spain's goal was the first scored against the United States in 648 minutes of play across all competitions!


13' CHANCE!
Lavele plays a brilliant, defence-splitting ball to Rapinoe down the left and the latter takes aim a the near-post, but is denied by a diving effort from Panos!

It's been a lovely 15 minutes of football here in Reims with USA and Spain going at each other in the Round of 16. That Hermoso goal was a stunner and I am just trying to find you all a video. USA has been a little better with possession though.
 

With Rapinoe's penalty goal, the United States has now scored four goals in the opening fifteen minutes at this tournament. No one else has more than three.



9' GOOOOOAAAL and this time its the La Roja! Hermoso finds the net. Sloppy passing from USA. Hermoso placed that perfectly and the ball curled into the top right corner of the goal. That was beautiful to watch.

6' GOOOOOAAAAL.
Too seasoned to get it wrong, Rapinoe. USA's captain gives the defending champions an early lead, sending Sandra Panos the wrong way and converting the resulting penalty.

Megan Rapinoe will take this kick.

5' PENALTY CALLED! Heath dribbled down the right channel and, after cutting inside in the penalty area, was tripped up by Leon and the referee points to the spot!

OH AND WHAT IS THIS? IS THAT A PENALTY? Opportunity to lead here for the Americans.

It's not the thunderclaps from yesterday but the cheers are loud.

Can you take a wild guess about which team is getting the louder cheers here in Reims? Take a guess. Take 3, infact. How about 13?

This is Spain’s first appearance in the knockout stages and, while this is a feat to be applauded, it is also slightly ominous as seven of the previous eight teams to advance past the group stage for the first time lost the following match.

1' Referee Katalin Kulcsar blows her whistle
, and this match is underway!

STAT: USA has scored in every single match it has played since July 2017. WHAT A RECORD. Totally not intimidating, right Spain?


I am shuddering just thinking about the VAR drama that might just come our way today. Excited? Scared? I am all of this, wrapped into one body!

Just one change for the United States following its 2-0 win against Sweden as Lindsay Horan is replaced by Ertz in midfield. The latter had been struggling with injury but has clearly shown enough to come into the starting side for this match.

The attention today will surely fall upon Alex Morgan though, who leads this tournament in both goals (five) and assists (three) thus far. If she fails to make enough of an impact today though, coach Jill Ellis can always turn to Carli Lloyd from the bench who is now four goals shy of Abby Wambach’s 14 - the most Women’s World Cup goals by an American in history.

Two changes for Spain after its 0-0 draw with China to round out the group stage. Losada and Putellas both come into the starting line-up while Mariona and Garcia both drop out. The latter two have been bright for Spain throughout this tournament but, having failed to deliver a final product, both are removed.

As a result, Hermoso will lead the line by herself for the first time since Spain's 3-1 win against South Africa.

We have a few surprises in the lineups announced today.


USA update: All hail Captain Rapinoe. Megan Rapinoe will wear the captain's armband tonight for the USA. The band has been rotated through each match between Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan so far.

Line-ups are out. Scroll right down to take a look.

32 degrees in Reims today and what weather this tournament has had! We began with cloudy skies and torrential rain and now we have sweltering heat beating down Northern France. It is great weather for some excellent football though and we gave a mouth-watering clash in hand too.

After a dominant group stage performance - winning all three of its group games - USA Women will seek to extend its winning streak and continue its run in the Women's World Cup with a victory over Spain in Reims on Monday

The two teams have never faced off in a World Cup clash before. They met earlier this year and Spain lost 1-0 to the world number one team. However, if its run in the ongoing tournament is anything to go by, expecting Spain to pull off an upset isn’t wishful thinking.

USA topped group F with a game that included a 13-0 mammoth victory margin against Thailand. Spain, meanwhile, finished second in Group B.

Welcome back to our LIVE coverage of the FIFA Women's World Cup. We have an exciting match today with Spain and USA locking horns for a place in the quarterfinals. We have tonnes to talk about but first, a preview.

 

Team news

SPAIN (4-3-3): Sandra Panos; Marta Corredera, Irene Paredes, Mapi Leon, Leila; Vicky Losada, Virginia Torrecilla, Patri Guijarro; Alexia Putellas, Jenni Hermoso, Lucia Garcia.

USA (4-3-3) : Alyssa Naeher; Kelley O’Hara, Abby Dahlkemper, Becky Sauerbrunn, Crystal Dunn; Rose Lavelle, Julie Ertz, Samantha Mewis; Tobin Heath, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe.