U.S., France ready for Women's World Cup showdown

Megan Rapinoe celebrates the U.S. team's victory Monday over Spain

France has defeated the US twice in their past three meetings and Les Bleues hope to stamp their authority over the competition by knocking out the defending champions in Paris.

But France has seen its profile rise considerably in recent years, coinciding with the growth of its domestic professional league. She became the first player since Marta in 2007 to score two or more goals in back-to-back Women's World Cup appearances. 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.

"This is a game that we've been looking forward to, I guess, our whole lives". "You have to give it up to the French". Playing in her third World Cup, Morgan, 29, has been fouled more than any player on the U.S. She struggled with Spain's physical play, a tactic likely to be employed again by the more talented French.

Morgan, 29, battled through a series of injuries in group play and against in the Round of 16 against Spain. You know a semi-final will be tough no matter who we play.

France and the United States were the pre-tournament favorites to lift the trophy and they have been on a crash course since December, when the draw suggested they would meet in the quarter-finals if both teams topped their groups.

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Jill Ellis' team conceded for the first time in the tournament but two penalties from Megan Rapinoe were enough to reach the quarter-finals. The last meeting was a friendly in January, when Kadidiatou Diani - who wasn't named to France's World Cup roster - scored twice in a 3-1 victory. It's additional motivation for us. It was not the Americans' best performance.

"It just gives the other team's midfield less time on the ball and they're kind of constantly looking over their shoulder", US destroyer Samantha Mewis, who once again started in place of Lindsey Horan, said of Morgan's tireless running. That accomplishment somehow hurts some of the best teams (like France) moving forward. "They're wired for this, they're built for this, you don't come into the USA program and hide in the shadows - you come in and you're in the spotlight right away".

"That's what it should be", US captain Megan Rapinoe said after the match was set.

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Even before referee Kateryna Monzul had blown her whistle to start the match, United States captain Alex Morgan had raised eyebrows by not singing the national anthem. "I think, if anything, it just fires everybody up a little bit more, " she said.

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