France is off to the World Cup quarterfinals for the third time on the bounce after seeing off Brazil on Sunday in Le Havre thanks to Amandine Henry’s winner in the second stanza of added time.
Midfield workhorse Henry and forward Valerie Gauvin scored for the host side in a 2-1 victory that sees Les Bleues progress to the last eight for a meeting with either Spain or the United States.
In a tense extra-time session that favored France, Henry got on the right side of her marker to meet a free-kick from Amel Majri on the right wing and vault Corinne Diacre’s side into the lead. It was a fitting winner from a dangerous position where France exposed its opponent over 120 minutes of football.
Montpellier star Valerie Gauvin opened the scoring for France when she lunged forward to meet Kadi Diani’s pinpoint cross from the right wing in the 52nd minute. Gauvin could have had a brace, if not for a dubious VAR decision.
Les Bleues appeared to open the scoring when Gauvin and Brazil ‘keeper Barbara violently collided under another probing cross from Diani, which the forward directed into the far corner with her shoulder. As both players reeled from their subsequent knocks, a lengthy VAR check ruled Gauvin had fouled Barbra.
Diani was the best player on the pitch Sunday and has been one of the standout performers at the quadrennial event.
in the right place at the right time, Thaisa flipped the match on its head when a deflected pass fell to her feet, leaving the 30-year-old with little to do to level the scoreline. Naturally, VAR tried to have its say; the goal was initially ruled offside but then corrected and credited to Brazil.
France grew into the match as Brazil waned, with striker Cristiane getting far too little service and Selecao deity Marta getting too little help. The 33-year record-smasher was Brazil’s best player in what might have been her final World Cup match.