In what should be one of the highest-profile matchups of the Women’s World Cup, the national teams of France and the United States meet at the Parc des Princes in Paris as the tournament’s two favorites meet in what could be considered an unofficial final, as reported by Bleacher Report.
After kicking off the tournament with a dominant 4-0 victory over South Korea, the French women looked even better than the hype that preceded them. While they have yet to lose since then, it hasn’t exactly been a smooth ride for France. While putting on a good performance against a strong Norway side and winning, 2-1, it took a penalty for them to squeak out a 1-0 victory over Nigeria to ensure that they topped the group.
When France faced off against Brazil in the Round of 16, it took extra time before they were able to clinch the victory with a goal from Amandine Henry. While Norway and Brazil are two of the tournament’s stronger teams, the United States is a level above and France will need a to be at their peak performance if they expect to make it into the semifinals.
While the United States strolled through the group stage without conceding a goal and boasted an incredible +18 goal difference, they were brought back to reality against Spain in the Round of 16 and forced to earn their 2-1 victory with two penalties from Megan Rapinoe. After both teams were bruised by teams set up to slow them down, this matchup could see both teams attacking in full flow as they seek to overwhelm each other.
France and the United States possess arguably the two best-attacking squads in the tournament and it would be a disservice if this match doesn’t see a few goals. France boasts a squad of players that ply their trade in some of Europe’s most decorated clubs, with Eugenie Le Sommer, Valerie Gauvin, Kadidiatou Diani, and Gaetane Thiney making up the offense. The United States’ goalscorers consist of some of the most well-known women soccer players on the planet, including Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, and Christen Press.
While up top, both teams are so talented yet also evenly matched, it will likely fall on the defensive performances to decide who will make it to the semifinals. And while it’s hard to see many faults on each side, French defender and captain Wendie Renard’s own goal against Norway stands out. Both teams will have to ensure that there is no defensive sloppiness, as it doesn’t take much for each side to earn a goal.
Date: Friday, June 28
Time: 9 p.m. local, 8 p.m. BST, 3 p.m. ET
TV Info: Fox (U.S.), BBC One (UK)