World Cup: U.S. Beats Spain 2-1 To Face France In Quarterfinals
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Go USA. The United States has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women's World Cup where the team will play France. The win didn't come easily, though. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley was there and sends this report.
ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: The U.S. women's team beat Spain 2-to-1, but the win didn't come without a fight. The game got off to a dream start for the U.S. when they were awarded a penalty kick in the seventh minute and a goal scored by Megan Rapinoe. But Spain quickly turned around and scored a goal off a defensive mistake, shocking the Americans on the field and in the stands. Eighteen-year-old Reagan Lemoine from Los Angeles was watching.
REAGAN LEMOINE: It was very stressful because it was 1-1 most of the game and then they got the penalty. I knew as soon as they got the second penalty in the box that we were going to make another goal.
BEARDSLEY: In the second half, the Americans showed why they're the No. 1 ranked team, outrunning and outplaying Spain for most of the 45 minutes, including another penalty kick and goal by Rapinoe. The stadium in Reims was packed and the ambiance lively on a hot, sunny day. Alongside the many American and Spanish fans were French families out to watch a women's soccer match, something not so common in a country where soccer is still considered a man's sport. Still, Jonathan Vernier brought his 8-year-old son.
JONATHAN VERNIER: (Speaking French).
BEARDSLEY: "We live in Reims, so we thought we'd take the opportunity to come out and watch the women play," says Vernier. And this American team and their fans put on a real show.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting in French).
BEARDSLEY: Vernier has an American flag painted on one cheek and a Spanish flag on the other. His son is screaming oo-es-ah (ph) along with the American fans.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) U-S-A, U-S-A.
BEARDSLEY: But Vernier says he is, of course, supporting France, who the U.S. will now play in the quarterfinals on Friday. It's a showdown that's been anticipated since the schedule was announced months ago.
Eleanor Beardsley, NPR News, Reims.
(SOUNDBITE OF KONX-OM-PAX'S "OPTIMISM OVER DESPAIR") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.