Host nation, and one of a few pre-tournament favorites, France survived a scare and half from Brazil in the round of 16 at the 2019 Women’s World Cup on Sunday in Le Havre, France, only to come out the other side with a 2-1 extra-time victory and book their place in the quarterfinals.
Amandine Henry’s 107th-minute winner keeps alive the most anticipated game of the World Cup: France versus the U.S. women’s national team, pending the Americans getting past Spain on Monday.
Video review has been the unwanted star of this tournament, and this game was no different. France was first to put the ball in the back of the net, but another questionable video review saw Les Bleus‘ goal taken away in the first half.
Valerie Gauvin was deemed, upon review, to have fouled goalkeeper Barbara by heading the ball out of her hands (per FIFA.com’s official live blog) when the two came together in the air. Gauvin remained down on the ground for roughly a minute, while Barbara required two or three minutes of treatment and assessment from the medical staff. That gave Canadian referee Marie-Soleil Beaudoin ample time to consult with her video assistant before making her way to the monitor. Barbara didn’t appear to have “possession” of the ball when the contact was made, making for another confusing override upon second review.
France needed just seven second-half minutes to score a goal that couldn’t be taken away. Kadidiatou Diani made her way down the right flank before hitting a low cross into the six-yard box where Gauvin was the last figure to arrive, but best-timed. At full-stretch, she got just enough of her right foot on the ball to redirect it past the onrushing Barbara.
Brazil nearly equalized in short order, as Cristiane looped a header that was sneaking just under the crossbar and would have drawn the Selecao level, but Sarah Bouhaddi scrambled back to her goal line and rose just high enough, getting just enough of a hand on it to keep it out.
The Brazilian pressure was far from over, though, and they were justly rewarded with an equalizer in the 63rd minute. Initially ruled out for offside during the build-up, only the briefest of checks by the assistant was required to see that Debinha Miri was well onside before whipping a cross into the box for Thaisa Menezes to sweep home and set up a thrilling final half-hour.
Cristiane was lost to a left leg injury just three minutes into extra-time, forcing Brazil into an unthreatening low block defensively. It was mostly one-way traffic, until Debinha raced down the left flank and into the box late in the first period of extra-time. She got inside of her defender, but Griedge Mbock Bathy recovered behind Bouhaddi to make a spectacular goal-saving clearance when the outcome seemed a certain goal for Brazil.
Henry’s winner came barely a minute into the second period, when she fought through her defender to get goal-side as Amel Majri’s curling free kick came into the box. France’s captain was calm and composed with her finish to send Stade Oceane into rapturous celebrations.