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Women's Football News
United States are through to the quarter finals of the World Cup, setting up a mouthwatering meeting with hosts France, but only after narrowly overcoming Spain 2-1 thanks to two Megan Rapinoe penalties.
The USA took the lead with seven minutes on the clock after Tobin Heath was brought down in the area by Mapi Leon, Rapinoe stroking home from the spot. However Spain's response was a swift one as Becky Sauerbrunn was dispossessed by Jennifer Hermoso who took full advantage by neatly clipping over Alyssa Naeher for the equaliser.
Spain were visibly lifted by the goal and passed the ball around confidently, with the USA looking vulnerable for the first time in the competition. However they were dealt a blow when key midfielder Vicky Losada was forced off with a swollen eye following an earlier knock but were fully deserving of being on level terms at the break.
The pattern of the game continued in the second half with not too many chances for either side and Spain more than matching the tournament favourites. Things remained in the balance until sixteen minutes from time, when Rose Lavelle went down under a challenge from Virginia Torrecilla and another penalty was awarded. With Alex Morgan waiting to take the kick, a lengthy VAR check resulted in no change to the decision although contact had been minimal. In the meantime, the USA had changed their penalty taker with Rapinoe now stepping up and she confidently found the corner of the net.
Rapinoe almost made it a hat-trick moments later with an outrageous volley from out wide which sailed inches wide of the far post. Naeher made a good save from a strike by Garcia but USA were otherwise able to close the game out for a hard earned win.
Another close tie saw Sweden emerge as 1-0 winners against Canada, to set up a quarter final meeting with Germany.
A largely uneventful first half saw barely a chance of note with both team cancelling each other out. The game burst into life after the break when Elin Rubensson's pass released Kosovare Asllani on the left and from her cross, Stina Blackstenius beat the advancing Stephanie Labbe to the ball to lift it over her for the opening goal.
Canada then had a glorious chance to equalise when Asllani was adjudged to have handballed from a shot by Desiree Scott, following a VAR review. Janine Beckie stepped up to take the resulting penalty but her shot was kept out by a fine save from Hedvig Lindahl, who dived to her right to palm away.
That proved to be the only major scare for Sweden as they defended solidly for the remainder of the game and Canada struggled to break them down. Too often the final pass let them down, with legendary striker Christine Sinclair only managing one attempt on goal.
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