Spain's brave women pay the penalty against the United States

Despite being knocked out by the US women, Spain can hold their head high after a valiant performance

 Las de Vilda mostraron su mejor versión ante el rival más temible de todo el Mundial y lograron poner contra las cuerdas a las estadounidenses | Perform

Spain couldn't have asked for a worse start to their match against the United States when Mapi Leon brought down Heath in the penalty area. Rapinoe stepped up to put the favourites into the lead and gave Spain a mountain to climb. However, the one thing this Spanish side doesn't lack is character and they gave as good as they got against their more illustrious opponent for 90 minutes.

Miki Soria

@mikisoria

Miki Soria

@mikisoria

IN SPORT.ES

MATCH FACTS

Mundial de Francia

ESP

1-2

USA

España

Paños; Corredera, Paredes, Mapi León, Leila; Vicky Losada (Nahikari, 32'), Virginia (Mariona, 83'), Patri Guijarro; Lucía García, Jenni Hermoso y Alexia (Falcón, 77')

Estados Unidos

Naeher; O'Hara, Dahlkemper, Sauerbrunn, Dunn; Lavelle (Horan, 88'), Ertz, Mewis; Heath, Alex Morgan (Lloyd, 85') y Rapinoe

Goles

0-1 M.6: Rapinoe (p). 1-1 M.9: Jenni Hermoso. 1-2 M.76: Rapinoe (p).

Árbitra

Kulcsar (Hungría). Amonestó a Rapinoe (37') e Irene Paredes (85')

With Lucia Garcia leading by example, Spain weren't ready to give up. Jenni Hermoso didn't need a second opportunity to bring the Spaniard's level and send the supporters back home into dreamland.

The United States were now forced to come out of their shell again and take control of the contest. They attacked down the flanks but Spain's defence shut down the attacks thanks to great work from Leila and Corredera. At half time it was still all to play for.

Nothing changed much in the second half as Spain continued to win the individual duels and maintained their focus as their opponents looked for an opening. Both sides missed chances to put themselves ahead on the scoreboard but Spain were definitely the happier of the two. With extra time looming it was important to reserve energy.

Everything changed with 20 minutes to go. Virigina was judged to have brought down Lavelle and this allowed the US to re-take the lead - and they did. It was arguably undeserved and now Spain needed to find another response if they were to remain in the competition. With their opponents penned into their own half, Spain were unable to find that one moment of quality they needed.

It wasn't to be for Spain's ladies but, through the tears, they can be very proud of what they've achieved. The future looks bright for women's football.

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