France beat Brazil 2-1 in extra time, reach WCup quarters
France's Amandine Henry scores her side's 2nd goal during the Women's World Cup round of 16 soccer match between France and Brazil at the Oceane stadium in Le Havre, France on Sunday.
As the score remained tied in extra time and the clock ticked toward a penalty kicks shootout, France's stress kept increasing. Hosting the Women's World Cup, Les Bleues are expected to win the title or at least come close.
"It's not simple. We're playing on our home turf," coach Corinne Diacre said through a translator. "There's a constant reminder that we have this pressure to perform."
France survived its first knockout match and advanced to the quarterfinals when captain Amandine Henry redirected Amel Majri's free kick for a tiebreaking goal in the 107th minute of a 2-1 victory over Brazil on Sunday night at Le Havre.
"I didn't remember what happened," Henry said through a translator. "I had my teammates jumping on top of me,"
The World Cup hosts, in the quarterfinals for the third straight time, will play the defending champion United States or Spain at Paris on Friday.
"France has everything that it takes to win," Brazil coach Vadão said through a translator. "France is absolutely prepared to win this World Cup."
France joined England, Germany and Norway in a thus-far all-European quarterfinal field.
"We know that there will be pressure, We know that there will be this burden to bear," Diacre said. "You have to understand that when you're playing in front of such a huge crowd, even when you're on your home turf, it's not something that's easy to get your head around. I think that we can be a little bit patient. I think we can allow our players to crumble under pressure, albeit for a couple of seconds."
Valérie Gauvin, whose first-half goal was disallowed in a video review, put fourth-ranked France ahead in the 52nd minute before a crowd of 23,965 at Stade Oceane, but Thaisa tied the score 11 minutes later for No. 10 Brazil.
Henry scored on a left-footed shot from 7 yards, getting ahead of Monica for her 13th goal in 86 international appearances, her second goal of the tournament.
Brazil had a chance to go ahead near the end of the first extra-time period when Debinha broke in alone and beat goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi, but her shot headed toward goal was blocked in front of the line by defender Griedge Mbock Bathy.
"We weren't at our best. ... I didn't recognize my team," Diacre said. "There is something that is not jelling. Why? Because people are unfortunately not hitting their potential on an individual basis."
This marked perhaps the final World Cup game for 33-year-old Brazilian star Marta, a six-time world player of the year who scored a record 17 goals in five tournaments. And it likely was the last game in the showcase for 41-year-old Formiga, who appeared in a record seven World Cups.
"It's very unlikely that we will see another Marta," Vadão said. "It's unlikely that we still see another player like her for her talent, her professionalism, her character, everything."