World Cup Match Report: United States vs Spain

It was nearly a dream start for Spain! The ball drops to Patri Guijarro, she shoots powerfully from the edge of the box and her shot looks goalbound but Becky Sauerbrunn manages to block it with her head.
 
Almost straight down the other end The United States’ Tobin Heath receives the ball high on the right wing, she cuts inside into the box and touches it past Mapi Leon but the Spanish defender takes Heath’s trailing leg, there is no need for VAR that is a clear penalty. Megan Rapinoe steps up and sends the ball to the goal’s left-hand side and the keeper the other way. 
 
Many might have thought that goal would mean that this is game over and the US will go onto kill the game off but many would be wrong! Jenni Hermoso gives Spain an equaliser as she chips over Alyssa Naeher after Becky Sauerbrunn was dispossessed. This is the first goal that the US have conceded in the competition so far. 
 
The United States recovered well and had much of the possession in the Spain half. Rose Lavelle dissects the Spanish defence with a beautiful ball. Megan Rapinoe picks up the ball but is unable to finish from what is a tight angle. Spain’s keeper, Sandra Panos, is able to palms the ball out for a corner. 
 
Another chance went begging for the United States as Heath again torments Leon in the left back role. Heath’s ball in is scrambled away by the Spain defence. This is the last big chance for a while as it is Spain that control of the game, although they are unable to create a clear chance. 
 
Sadly Vicky Losada is forced to come off for Nahikari Garcia. Losada took an arm to the face and has struggled to recover. Clearly the right thing to do with any head injury.
 
 
After the initial excitement of two goals in the first ten minutes, both sides regained a bit of composure. A tie (one for the US fans there) at half time was a fair result. This game could go either way, it’s about concentration and composure in the second half.

Spain are taking no prisoners in the second half! Tobin Heath, Kelley O’Hara and on two other occasions Alex Morgan are sent to the ground after tough challenges. Surprisingly there have been no yellow cards given but if this continues then that will change.

Rose Lavelle picks up the ball centrally on the edge of the box but her driven shot is always rising. In response, Patri Guijarro knocks the ball to the side of Julie Ertz but sends a shot across goal and it rolls agonisingly just wide of the far post.

The referee, Katalin Kulcsár, points to the spot for the second time today as Virginia Torrecilla trips Rose Lavelle. There looked to be a change of taker as Alex Morgan steps up to the spot hoping to add to her five from the opening week.
 
There is a long delay with Spanish players in the box and then Kulcsár going over to the touchline to review her decision. After what seems five minutes Kulcsár confirms her decision but it is Rapinoe to take the kick.
 
This time the keeper guesses the right way but has no chance as Rapinoe hits it so well to give the United States the advantage going into the final fifteen minutes.
 
There isn’t too much to talk about as the United States see the game out professionally.
 
This is a great performance from the Spanish, especially considering Spain only made their Women’s World Cup debut four years earlier. Prior to this tournament, their only previous point was a 1-1 draw with Costa Rica. They can be proud of what they have achieved and they will pose a real threat in the Euro’s in two years.
 
The United States will now take on France on Friday and that will be a superb match!

Spain: 13 Paños, 7 Corredera, 4 Paredes, 16 León, 3 Ouahabi, 6 Losada, 14 Torrecilla, 12 Guijarro, 17 García, 10 Hermoso, 11 Putellas

USA: 1 Naeher, 5 O’Hara, 7 Dahlkemper, 4 Sauerbrunn, 19 Dunn, 16 Lavelle, 8 Ertz, 3 Mewis, 17 Heath, 13 Morgan, 15 Rapinoe

Stuart Barker
hellosince71@gmail.com