Final, 2-1 USA: The game is over. USA wins and advances to the quarterfinals.
USA narrowly survived this unexpected test of nerves, edging Spain on Megan Rapinoe’s pair of goals from the penalty spot. Controversy surrounded the referee’s decision to award each penalty, but Rapinoe, one of USA’s most experienced players, ignored the cries of “foul” and coolly converted each one.
USA is enjoying two World Cup streaks for the ages.
Spain in its first World Cup knockout game proved to be a difficult opponent for USA, using its overall aptitude to contain USA and give a good account of itself. However, one must remember Spain had three more days’ rest than USA, which might explain how La Roja managed to impose itself physically.
Player of the game: Rapinoe scored twice and was dangerous on the left wing throughout the contest.
USA will face host nation France on Friday in the 2019 Women’s World Cup quarterfinals.
That’s all for now, and thanks for joining us. Let’s discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion coming up on NESN.com/soccer.
90th minute +7, 2-1 USA: Irene Paredes goes down inside USA’s penalty area as she’s trying to shoot. Spain howls for a penalty kick, but the referee declines the appeal.
90th minute +6, 2-1 USA: Megan Rapinoe departs to a thunderous ovation from USA fans, as Christen Press replaces her for the final minute or two.
90th minute +4, 2-1 USA: Spain threatens to tie the game, as Jennifer Hermoso darts down the right side and cuts back a pass, which a USA defender clears.
90th minute, 2-1 USA: The fourth official indicates there will be seven minutes of stoppage time in the second half.
89th minute, 2-1 USA: Lindsey Horan replaces Rose Lavelle in USA’s second personnel change.
88th minute, 2-1 USA: Spain looks like it’s running out of steam and ideas in the final minutes of the second half.
85th minute, 2-1 USA: Carli Lloyd replaces Alex Morgan in USA’s first substitution of the game.
85th minute, 2-1 USA: The referee cautions Spain’s Irina Paredes for her cynical foul on Megan Rapinoe.
83rd minute, 2-1 USA: Mariona Caldentey enters, and Virginia Torrecilla exits in Spain’s third, and final, substitution of the game.
79th minute, 2-1 USA: Megan Rapinoe misses the target with an audacious, outside-of-the-foot effort from a tight angle.
78th minute, 2-1 USA: Spain makes its second substitution, replacing Alexia Putellas with Andrea Falcon.
76th minute, 2-1 USA: Megan Rapinoe slots home the shot, and USA is back in front.
Rapinoe’s penalty was almost a carbon-copy of the one she scored in the first half.
73rd minute, 1-1: The referee now is checking VAR to decide whether to overturn the penalty decision.
73rd minute, 1-1: Spain’s players are crowding the penalty spot in apparent protest, preventing Alex Morgan from taking the penalty kick.
71st minute, 1-1: The referee awards USA another penalty kick.
Maria Leon brought down Rose Lavelle inside Spain’s penalty area, and the referee didn’t hesitate to point to the spot.
65th minute, 1-1: Samantha Mewis curls a shot toward the far post, but it misses just wide of the target.
63rd minute, 1-1: Spain’s Patri Guijarro rolls a shot narrowly wide of the far post.
60th minute, 1-1: Rose Lavelle shoots a few feet over Spain’s goal from 25 yards out in USA’s best chance so far in the second half.
60th minute, 1-1: Those expecting USA to regroup and overpower Spain in the second half were off base, judging by the first 15 minutes of this period. Spain has played as well, if not better than USA.
55th minute, 1-1: FIFA gives fans a chance to vote on the player of the game.
50th minute, 1-1: USA forward Alex Morgan is writhing in pain on the ground. We can’t say what she might have hurt, as the challenge from Spain’s Irene Paredes didn’t look robust.
46th minute, 1-1: The second half is underway.
Halftime, 1-1: That’s the end of the first half. The game is deadlocked at one apiece.
Most expected Spain, not USA, to wobble under the pressure of the knockout rounds, but the opposite seemed to happen in the first half. Megan Rapinoe’s penalty kick should have given USA some early momentum, but Spain punished Alyssa Naeher’s and Becky Sauerbrunn’s miscue with the tying goal. USA re-seized the initiative but wasn’t clinical enough in the attacking third of the field to add to its goal tally.
Meanwhile, Spain showed enough determination to resist USA’s forays and pounce on any opportunities that came its way. Those expecting an easy ride for USA will be surprised Spain matched the defending champion’s technical, tactical and physical strengths, while edging the Americans mentally.
45th minute, 1-1: There will be three minutes of stoppage time in the first half.
40th minute, 1-1: Spain is attacking with some genuine intent, as the clock ticks toward the end of the first half.
37th minute, 1-1: The referee shows Megan Rapinoe a yellow card for hitting Spain’s Marta Corredera in the face accidentally.
31st minute, 1-1: Spain makes an early substitution, as Ahikari Garcia replaces Vicky Losada, who suffered an apparent eye injury.
27th minute, 1-1: Alyssa Naeher has another moment of indecision, and it almost proved costly, as Spain’s Lucia Garcia disrupts her attempted pass to Crystal Dunn inside USA’s penalty area.
Paging Hope Solo.
24th minute, 1-1: USA has responded well to Spain’s goal by upping its intensity and applying more pressure on Spain. However, La Roja demonstrates firm resolve and blunts USA’s attacks at fateful moments.
17th minute, 1-1: A Spain defender blocks Megan Rapinoe’s shot from point-blank range after Tobin Heath created the chance with some tricky dribbling.
13th minute, 1-1: Spain’s Dolores Gallardo makes a fine save on Megan Rapinoe’s attempt on goal. Kudos to USA’s Rose Lavelle for setting up Rapinoe with an excellent pass.
Ninth minute, 1-1: Spain quickly responds with a goal of its own.
USA goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher played a short pass to Becky Sauerbrunn, but Spain’s Lucia Garcia dispossessed her and passed to Jennifer Hermoso, who scored with a deft chip.
The goals came just under three minutes apart.
That’s the first goal USA has conceded at World Cup 2019.
Seventh minute, 1-0 USA: Megan Rapinoe puts USA ahead with a well-taken penalty kick.
USA has profited from fast starts at this World Cup.
Fifth minute, 0-0: The referee awards USA a penalty kick after Maria Leon brings down Tobin Heath with a light tackle inside Spain’s penalty area.
First minute, 0-0: Contrary to USA’s other World Cup games, Spain starts on the front foot, with Patri Guijarro rifling a shot off Becky Sauerbrunn’s face.
Kickoff: USA versus Spain is underway.
Pregame: The biggest news ahead of the game is USA coach Jill Ellis’ decision to start Massachusetts’ own Samantha Mewis ahead of Lindsey Horan, who has enjoyed a stellar World Cup to date. Yahoo! Sports’ Doug McIntyre suggests Ellis sits Horan to reduce drastically the risk of her missing Friday’s potential quarterfinal date with France.
11:30 a.m. ET: Here are the starting lineups.
11 a.m. ET: The United States women’s soccer team knows well its performance level must match the increased stakes at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Team USA will take on Spain on Monday at Auguste-Delaune Stadium in Reims, France, in the Round of 16 game between the defending champion and World Cup newcomers, respectively. USA beat Spain 1-0 in January in the only meeting between these teams, and most expect the Americans to brush aside La Roja.
However, fitness might level the field somewhat, as Spain has the benefit of three more days’ rest than USA. Furthermore, concerns over over the condition of USA’s Alex Morgan, who played just 45 minutes Friday in the win over Sweden and that of Julie Ertz, who missed the game due to a minor hip injury.
We’ll bring you all the action from Reims right here, including score updates, highlights and key facts from this Round of 16 clash.
Thumbnail photo via Michael Chow/USA TODAY Sports Images