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US Overcomes Early (And Potentially Costly) Mistake To Defeat Spain 2-1 In Women’s World Cup Knockout Round

Women’s World Cup With The Spain-US The pass looked like trouble the moment goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher attempted it. It was early in the United States Women’s National Team’s knockout...

(Photo Credit: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters)

Women’s World Cup With The Spain-US

The pass looked like trouble the moment goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher attempted it.

It was early in the United States Women’s National Team’s knockout round match with Spain on Monday. The USWNT already led 1-0 on a penalty kick by Megan Rapinoe. Spain was pressing the attack when Naeher hesitated in trying to pass to defender Becky Sauerbrunn, who also reacted a bit slowly.

Steal. Pass. Shot. Goal. Tied, 1-1.

Rapinoe would again score on a penalty kick and the U.S. would advance to the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup, where it will play the home side, France, on Friday.

The U.S. had gone 674 minutes in World Cup play without allowing a goal before this sudden snafu. And the U.S. regained the momentum, though it couldn’t put a ball in the net outside of Rapinoe’s penalties.

Hey, mistakes happen. Live and learn.

“When you get out into the knockout rounds, it’s always so much more pressure, so much tenser out there,” Rapinoe said after the match in Reims, France. “Everything matters, every play matters. Every sort of wave of the game is important. I think halfway through the second half, it was like we need to take this up a notch. Obviously, there’s quite a few of us that have been there in these big games and sort of realize those moments. And that experience was really big for us tonight.”

And so it’s on to Paris to play a French squad that has historically given the U.S. trouble. When the tournament began, the U.S. and France were the betting co-favorites.

“It’s going to be totally awesome,” Rapinoe said. “I think this is what everybody wants.”

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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