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Red, white and blue grit: Rapinoe's 2 goals help oust the home team

Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Soccer

PARIS -- When the final whistle sounded on an exhilarating and exhausting 2-1 win over France in the Women's World Cup quarterfinals, 11 of the 12 players on the United States bench raced onto the field Friday to celebrate with teammates.

Megan Rapinoe didn't move.

"I was very tired," she explained. "I was very stressed."

With reason. Rapinoe has spent the last two days in the Twitter crosshairs of President Donald Trump over a 6-month-old videotape, released last week, in which she said she wouldn't go to the White House if invited after the World Cup.

Never mind that some teammates said the same thing. The rest of the team closed ranks behind her. The result was a two-goal night from Rapinoe and a gutty, gritty effort by the rest of a U.S. team known more for its star power than its willpower.

"We have such a tight group," Rapinoe said. "It's obviously a cliche to say it. Everybody wants to have that.

 

"But we really do have a group that really does just want to win."

Added defender Becky Sauerbrunn: "In a World Cup, you need to be able to win pretty and win dirty. And sometimes you just have to put in a hard shift.

"Tonight was one of those nights where you put in a hard shift."

And it was enough to earn a date in the semifinals with England on Tuesday in Lyon. It also extended the Americans' winning streak in Women's World Cup play to 10 games, dating to 2015, and their unbeaten streak to 15, dating to 2011. No team has done better.

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