USA's Megan Rapinoe predicts match against France will be 'crazy'

Rapinoe scored two penalties against Spain to help the United States set up a quarterfinal match with France in the FIFA Women's World Cup.

Megan Rapinoe reacts during the contest on Monday. Photo: Getty Images

United States hero Megan Rapinoe is hoping for a "crazy" game when her side faces Women's World Cup host France in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Rapinoe scored twice from the penalty spot as USA edged Spain, 2-1, in the last 16. France — which needed extra time to beat Brazil on Sunday — is among the tournament favourites, along with defending champion USA. And Rapinoe is anticipating an exhilarating encounter between two of the heavyweight sides in women's international football.

"I think this is the game that everyone had circled," Rapinoe told a news conference.

'Wild and crazy'

"It's going to be a great match. I hope it is wild and crazy, I hope the fans are crazy and there's tons of media around it and it's just a big spectacle. This is incredible for the women's game, to have two heavy hitters meeting in the knockout rounds, it's everything you want from these two sides."

Having not conceded in the group stage, USA was run much closer in Reims on Monday, with the clash looking set to head to extra time thanks to Jennifer Hermoso's equaliser.

REPORT | ESP 1-2 USA

Rapinoe opened the scoring in the seventh minute but USA did not truly threaten Spain until the 71st minute when Rose Lavelle drew a slight touch in the box from Virginia Torrecilla. A lengthy VAR check was required to confirm the referee's penalty call, with Rapinoe — who pulled rank over Alex Morgan — eventually taking the spot-kick five minutes after it was awarded.

"We've practised this a lot. For us, going through that routine and figuring out what it is is extremely helpful," Rapinoe said when asked if the delay was difficult to overcome.

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"Obviously you can never replicate having a knockout game on the line. I'd given it to Alex to maybe switch it up, but [my team-mates] said 'you're first in line for a reason, so get up and take it', so I didn’t feel a lot of pressure because I only had a short wait."

'Very proud'

Spain coach Jorge Vilda, meanwhile, was enthused by his side's resilient performance. "We should all be very proud of what we did," Vilda said.

"I am very proud because in terms of competitiveness we were able to equal the best team in the world, give them a run for their money and be able to match their skill and speed and technique. We are going to grow from this defeat. All of the players in the team have ensured their future."

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