US faces difficult challenge in quarterfinal vs. host France

REUTERS

REUTERS

Jessica McDonald of the US runs with the ball during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup match between US and Chile, June 16, 2019 in Paris.

"It's going to be a fantastic match", U.S.co-captain Megan Rapinoe told reporters on Thursday.

The mega-showdown between the United States and France in the Women's World Cup quarterfinals Friday came to fruition, for all intents and purposes, on an island on the Seine nearly seven months ago.

"If you'd been properly prepared and watched their recent games - and then re-watched their games", Solo wrote, "you would know that this team was going to cause the USA trouble, and could beat them".

The only downside? The country is in the midst of a heat wave and temperatures are expected to soar into the 90s, although a 9 p.m. local time start should bring some cooling. France had lost 3-1 in the semifinals to the Americans. France defeated a exhausted Brazil squad thanks to captain Amandine Henry's extra-time goal, and are looking to upset the No. 1 team in the Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings en route to their first World Cup trophy.

The United States already has three World Cup trophies, most of any nation. There was a lengthy delay in the match as Kulcsar reviewed her decision with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system before sticking with her decision to award the penalty.

Vying for a fourth title in France, the United States faced a physical knockout-round opener against Spain.

"Yes, they do have some shortcomings, but so does every team in this tournament", French coach Corinne Diacre said. "She knows that, we know we have each others' backs in there". It was the first goal the United States had allowed this year since a 5-3 win over Australia in an April friendly.

The Americans have played the French 23 times, with France winning just three.

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The Americans have been at the forefront of women's soccer for more than 25 years; France began to make up ground early this decade, but despite developing world-class talent, has failed to advance beyond the quarterfinals of the World Cup, Olympics or European Championship since 2012.

"It's impossible to have any pressure". "Quite the opposite. It's additional motivation for us".

This World Cup has broken all manner of records for television audiences globally and Friday's match should continue the trend, with the intervention of U.S. President Donald Trump merely adding to the interest.

"The U.S. team lives in pressure", Ellis said.

The game Friday night doesn't come without controversy for the US team, which often finds itself the center of attention.

U.S. Women's National Team star Jessica McDonald shared a video on Twitter of her reunion in France with her son Jeremiah.

"There are going to be a lot of eyes on this game", US midfielder Samantha Mewis said, "and I hope it's a good example of how great women's football can be".

Solo has been one of the most vocal critics of the USA national team since her departure following the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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