The United States women’s national team defeated Spain earlier today, in the round of 16 of the World Cup. Jill Ellis’ girls had a tough time against the Spanish side, who didn’t create too many problems up front, but was very tough and stubborn in defense.
The American girls won this one on pure desire and iron will, and that is what Ellis stated after the game.
“You can talk tactics, but heart, grit, and resolve — that’s a big part of World Cup soccer,” the US coach said.
And really, it was like that.
Megan Rapinoe converted an early penalty in the 7th minute of the game to give the lead to her team.
But only two minutes later, Jennifer Hermoso leveled the score using a bad reaction of the American defense, and by beating Alyssa Naeher.
It was something nobody expected in those moments. The American girls tried to score once more until the end of the first 45 minutes, but they couldn’t do it.
As soon as the second part of the event began, the US team pressured Spain and tried to score, but they always lacked the final pass and the realization.
Still, in the 71st minute, Rose Lavelle forced one of the rival’s defenders to bring her down and for the referee to award the second penalty for the USA in this match.
After checking out the replay through the VAR system, the penalty was confirmed, and Rapinoe once again took the responsibility.
She was ice cold.
After the match, we could hear some complaints about the referees from the Spanish side, saying that there were some decisions which might have affected the result.
Anyway, until the end of the match, Spain couldn’t respond, and the Americans went to the quarterfinals.
Rapinoe said that her team won this game because of a positive attitude during the game.
That’s World Cup-level grit right there. You can’t replicate it; there’s no way to express it or teach it.”
She also added that from now on, things are just going to get tougher and tougher for her and the rest of the team. All the teams are fired-up, and the mindset is different now than during the group stage.
“The game’s only getting harder and more intense from here. Everybody is playing for their lives. That’s the best part about it, honestly. I love it. This is the best stage.”
Megan Rapinoe has ice in her veins.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 24, 2019
Their next opponent, France, defeated Brazil after extra times, 2-1. What is the additional difficulty for team USA, is the fact that the game will be played in Paris, and that the crowd will be against them.
The French team is motivated to take the crown at their own soil, and confirm the dominance of this country in soccer. After men’s national team won at the last year’s World Cup in Russia, the next goal for their federation was for the ladies to do that too.
It would be a massive success for French soccer in general.
Yet, Rapinoe and the rest of the squad isn’t afraid of the atmosphere, as they already encountered with similar situations numerous times. Furthermore, they are anxious to take the pitch and start competing.
“This is the best game, this is what everybody wanted. I think we want it, seems like they’re up for it … all the fans,” the USA captain said.
The derby of the quarterfinals will take place at Parc des Prices this Friday.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.