The United States came through a testing last-16 tie against Spain,who they had to beat 2-1 to set up an expectedly exciting 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 yet another penalty in a tense second half, with the decision standing after a lengthy review from the Video Assistant Referee officials though

Spain were 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 next 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 clashing with Norway in Le Havre next Thursday and might be set to meet the victors from the USA or France.

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