Rapinoe roars as holders USA oust France

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Julie Ertz (L) of the United States heads the ball with Amandine Henry of France during the quarterfinal match between France and the United States at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup at Parc des Princes in Paris, France, June 28, 2019. The United States won 2-1. (Xinhua/Mao Siqian)

Defending champions United States sent hosts France packing with a 2-1 victory at the Parc des Princes on Friday, making it through to the FIFA Women's World Cup semifinals.

Megan Rapinoe scored either side of the interval for the top-ranked Americans before Wendie Renard claimed a consolation for Les Bleues. The VAR ignored a possible penalty in favor of the world No. 2 late in the second half.

"They outplayed us in terms of having the ball. We were so good defensively. We took our chances and hit them where it hurt," Rapinoe, who's named the Player of the Match, commented after the game.

"This is what it's all about. We'd have loved to play nicer, but we now have England and we move on. This is so special to beat the host nation in the Parc des Princes; you can't ask for any more than this," she added.

Le Grand Match, a quarterfinal encounter between the top two favorites for the championship, was living to expectations right from the start.

A free kick awarded just five minutes into the game, however, gave the visitors a chance just outside of the box.

Rapinoe, who turns 34 years old next Friday, opted to drive the set piece directly to the net and she made it through a ruck of legs to opened the scoring for the U.S..

It was the first time in this World Cup that France were one goal down.

The hosts strengthened attacking after trailing, but the Americans played a fast, direct and attacking game, leaving France just a few spaces to create chances.

Piling pressure on the U.S. defense after break, the French launched more long drives through midfield, only seeing Rapinoe tab in from close-range at 65 after the Reign FC striker picked up by Tobin Heath's smart pull-back.

It's not until nine minutes from time when Wendie Renard gave France hope with her headed goal connecting Gaetane Thiney's free kick from the left wing.

A possible penalty was expected in the build-up to an 86-minute free kick for the home side, who's seeking an equalizer with time clicking, as it looked like Kelley O'Hara had handled the ball in the box but no call to VAR.

The United States then held on to the end and set up a semifinal facedown with England in Lyon on Tuesday.

"We showed we're not too far off the USA side," French coach Corinne Diacre said. "I've never seen a USA side switch to a five-player backline, so it's a sign we're making progress."

"Yes, it is a failure on a footballing level," she admitted, but said: "We're a long way off our target but I hope we have retained something elsewhere."

"I hope we have won over the hearts and minds of the public and helped the women's game go further and move into that next level," Diacre added.

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