The United States came through a testing last-16 tie against Spain to set up a tantalising Women’s World Cup quarter-final against France.
The world’s number-one side and pre-tournament favourites were given a scare by the Spaniards but survived the first nervy match of their title defence with a narrow win thanks to two penalties.
Megan Rapinoe’s early goal from the spot gave the USA the lead but Spain hit back when Jennifer Hermoso capitalised on a defensive mix-up to equalise brilliantly.
Jill Ellis’ side were awarded another penalty in a tense second half, with the decision standing after a lengthy review from the VAR officials; Spain unhappy at what they saw as the soft nature of midfielder Rose Lavelle’s tumble in the box.
Rapinoe held her nerve to fire in from the spot for a second time and ensure the holders will face the hosts in Paris on Friday, in what promises to be one of the games of the competition.
A potential semi-final against England could follow, with the winner of the Lionesses’ quarter-final against Norway in Le Havre on Thursday set to meet the victors from the USA and France’s clash.