CHICAGO – The United States Women’s National Team defeated host country France 2-1 in a colossal clash of world powers on Friday to advance to the World Cup semi-finals. 

Chicago Red Stars Julie Ertz and Alyssa Naeher both started and played the full 90 minutes to help the USA advance with inspired defensive efforts. 

In the first half, Alex Morgan was brought down near the corner flag five minutes into the game to give the USA a dangerous set piece opportunity. Former Red Stars Megan Rapinoe took the free kick and rifled into the crowded penalty area where Julie Ertz ran near post and dummied it through her legs past French goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi to make it 1-0. 

In the second half, Naeher made a diving stop in the 64th minute to keep out Valérie Gauvin’s close-range header. A minute later, Morgan started a beautiful attacking move, slipping in a pass to Heath who crossed the ball into the French penalty area where Rapinoe is waiting with a late run into the box. She struck it home, giving her a brace and the U.S.A. a 2-0 lead. 

Naeher made another big save in the 78th minute, snagging a long-range rocket from Henry at her near post. She followed that save up with another a minute later, tipping over a chipped close-range effort from Le Sommer to keep France off the score-sheet.

Wendie Renard headed in a cross off a free kick to finally break through for France in the 80th minute, but it wasn’t enough and the U.S.A won 2-1.

The USA will take on England in the next round. The Three Lions defeated Norway 3-0 in their quarterfinal matchup to advance to the semi-final. Kickoff is scheduled for at 2 p.m. C.T. on Tuesday, July 2nd.