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U.S. Advances At Women's World Cup


The U.S. is headed to the semifinals for the Women's World Cup next week. That's after Megan Rapinoe stole the show in the quarterfinal, scoring the two goals that powered the U.S. to yesterday's win over France. That game took place in front of an emotionally charged crowd in a sold-out stadium in Paris. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley was there.


ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: Megan Rapinoe set the tone of the game early, scoring a goal within the fifth minute. This pressured the French team to try to equalize throughout the first half. Though they had possession of the ball 60% of the time and took many shots, France was unable to pierce through the stifling U.S. defense. Rapinoe scored again in the second half, making it 2-0 and demoralizing an already desperate French team.


BEARDSLEY: Late in the second half, France finally scored its only goal, a header by Wendie Renard off a free kick.


UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Allez les Bleus.

BEARDSLEY: The stadium was bursting in red, white and blue, the colors of both countries' flags. And the crowd was electric, erupting in alternating chants of Allez les Bleus and U-S-A, though the U-S-A chants attracted some boos from the majority-French fans.




BEARDSLEY: Parisian Aurelien Jeanpetit says whatever the score, this is a first for women's soccer in France.

AURELIEN JEANPETIT: It's the first time I witnessed that. It's really incredible. The atmosphere is really something else, especially for - concerning women's soccer because men's soccer is the thing in our country. But, like, women's soccer has never been like this. So it's really - it makes me happy for every girl who plays football and who can watch that on TV.


UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Singing in French).

BEARDSLEY: French fans sang their national anthem and believed up until the very end. But Les Bleus couldn't take control from the U.S. team long enough to score. Cecile Creze admits France was outplayed.

CECILE CREZE: Well, I'm disappointed, of course, but it was logic because the American players were better. When they were in front of the goal, they scored. And the French team, they had the ball, but they didn't manage to score, so disappointed because I think they could have done better.

BEARDSLEY: Rapinoe was again named player of the match, but lately, she's just as known for what she says off the field. Her comments about the White House have galvanized anti-Trump Americans and won her a following in France.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Everybody - Megan, Megan, Megan.

BEARDSLEY: Shana Sumers and her friends are wearing T-shirts they had specially made for the game. Paraphrasing Rapinoe's expletive-laced comment that if the U.S. wins the World Cup, she's not going to the White House. The women just arrived from San Francisco.

SHANA SUMERS: We got this done yesterday and flew in this morning to make it to the game tonight with these shirts to show support for Megan Rapinoe because everything that's happening in the U.S. and her speaking out is the biggest thing ever. And we need to be there in support for her.

BEARDSLEY: Megan Rapinoe, the U.S. team and all their supporters will be in Lyon Tuesday for the semifinal game against England. Eleanor Beardsley, NPR News, Paris. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.