Day 3 of the World Cup Round of 16 had two closely fought contests. While there were no shootouts, the ability to stay composed from the penalty spot would prove to be the difference between staying in the tournament and going home.

 

SPAIN v UNITED STATES

The United States have defeated Spain 2-1 in Reims, setting up a showdown in the last eight against hosts France.

Megan Rapinoe gave the Americans an early lead, converting a penalty after Tobin Heath was brought down in the area by María León. However, their lead only lasted a couple of minutes. Spain pounced on a cheap turnover, Jennifer Hermoso equalising with a lovely chip from outside the area.

Despite the Americans having the majority of possession, the scores remained level until half time, and Spain were able to test the United States defence on a few occasions.

In the second half, Tobin Heath and Rose Lavelle sent efforts inches over the crossbar for the USA, while Spanish midfielder Patricia Guijarro was close to scoring at the other end.

The game’s critical moment came when a VAR review judged that Virginia Torrecilla had fouled Lavelle inside the area. Rapinoe stepped up again, drilling the spot kick into the bottom left corner for what would prove to be the winning goal.

https://twitter.com/FIFAWWC/status/1143212273953116160

Spain 1 (Hermoso 9’)

United States 2 (Rapinoe 7’, 76’)

 

SWEDEN v CANADA

Sweden will meet Germany in the quarter finals after a dramatic 1-0 victory over Canada in Paris.

The sides cancelled each other out in the first half, and there was little to speak of in terms of goalmouth action.

Things livened up considerably after the interval, and Sweden went 1-0 up on 55 minutes. The Swedes launched a devastating counter attack, Kosovare Asllani playing a perfect though ball for Stina Blackstenius to slot past the goalkeeper.

Canada were given a great chance to equalise with just over 20 minutes remaining when VAR ruled that Asllani had handled Desiree Scott’s goalbound effort. However, Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl performed heroics to keep her team in front, diving full length to her right to save Janine Beckie’s penalty.

There was a little under ten minutes left in regulation when Sweden were awarded a spot kick of their own after Fridolina Rolfö was fouled. VAR would intervene again though, and play was pulled back for a Swedish offside in the build-up.

Sweden missed chances to put the game away, and in the end had to survive nine minutes of stoppage time. With the final play of the game, Canada appealed for a penalty, claiming a handball. The referee blew for full time soon afterwards, but even then it wasn’t over as VAR reviewed the penalty claim. Unfortunately for the Canadians, no foul was given and they exit at the Round of 16.

Sweden 1 (Blackstenius 55’)

Canada 0