US Women Move On To The Quarterfinals
Boos echoed through Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil along with chants of “Zika” whenever Hope Solo touched the ball, as a local mark of dissent towards the US keeper. Solo, known for speaking her mind, had made comments on the health implications of the much talked about Zika virus in the lead up to the Olympics due to the virus’ potential impact on her future plans of starting a family. With a very pro-French crowd getting behind it, the fans made an organized but unsuccessful effort to rattle the most stoic keeper in the world.
In spite of the jeers, the US looked focused and organized as France came out swinging in the early seconds of the Group G match-up. France dominated the possession in the first half with midfielder Louisa Cadamuro, the female Zinedine Zidane, swinging in several well placed corners. French captain and center back Wendie Renard kept a tight back-line that the US struggled to break through. In fact, nothing went through Renard in one of the strongest shows of the night. The French continued to dominate with a dangerous build up in the 41st that led to forward Marie-Laure Delie breaking through the US back-line and almost running through Solo. Not even the crowd could boo Solo’s save, as even she looked a little surprised and completely relieved to be holding onto the ball at the end of the play. The best chances for the States came off of Tobin Heath free kicks, both of which could not make their way to the back of the net.
The second half took a turn for France with the US coming alive and poking holes in the French defense. Heath, who once again showed why she is one of the best players in the world, was a constant threat to The Blues. Finding her way through the French side, she sent several passes to the front line, none of which could make it past French keeper Sarah Bouhaddi. The US finally broke through in the 63rd after a Heath shot was blocked by Bouhaddi and fell to the feet of Carli Lloyd, who does not miss from that distance. It would be the only goal of the night.
Hope Solo put in a great performance making incredible saves that kept the United States alive throughout the match. This win puts the US at the top of Group G with 6 points, while France and New Zealand trail just behind them with 3 points a piece. Despite the loss the French looked strong and remain in the hunt for a medal.
The final round of Group G action with take place on Tuesday August 9th with the US takes on Colombia and France facing New Zealand. Both game start at 3pm; you can catch the US match on NBCSP.