Spain have lifted the air of infallibility around the world champions but the USA are the title holders for a reason. Spain gave them a very tough test, providing a blueprint for others hoping to breach a defence that hadn’t conceded since April. America had a huge helping of luck: watch the incident for Megan Rapinoe’s second penalty over and over and from every angle and it is still hard to tell whether there was contact, or enough contact, with Rose Lavelle to warrant the spot-kick.
The hosts were unlucky to have Valérie Gauvin’s first ‘goal’ ruled out by VAR in their last-16 meeting with Brazil, given that the goalkeeper Barbara did not have the ball under control when Gauvin nodded it beyond her. The forward scored from a great Kadidiatou Diani cross, though. Thaisa’s equaliser showed France remain vulnerable, and Griedge Mbock’s goalline clearance was as magical as Amandine Henry’s winner. Now France face the USA. The winner has to be favourite to lift the trophy.
Germany are cruising, and doing so without the talismanic Lyon midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsan, who has a broken toe. They have scored nine and conceded none on their way to a quarter-final with Sweden. The depth of their squad is scary. They had their fair share of VAR help against Nigeria – the review upholding Alexandra Popp’s header despite an offside Svenja Huth potentially obstructing the view of the keeper ...