Five factors that will decide France-USA 


  • Friday’s France-USA tilt has the feel of a final
  • Either the hosts or the holders will meet England in the semi-finals
  • Who’s got the edge? These five facets will determine the winner

Could this be the most eagerly anticipated game in FIFA Women’s World Cup™ history? Difficult to say for sure, but that is certainly the opinion of USA forward Megan Rapinoe ahead of her team’s quarter-final against host nation France.

Either way, there are many reasons to be excited about a match-up worthy of the final itself, with the three-time winners aiming to defend their title and the home side perhaps never better equipped to knock the Americans off their throne.

What will be the keys to victory in this dream fixture? Our team reporters Emma Hingant (FRA) and Erin Fish (USA) have identified five main factors and share their expert takes.

See also

Live Blog: #LeGrandMatch #FRAUSA

Pressures of the hosts

Emma: What’s clear is that playing at home is not necessarily a guarantee of success, with the hosts having never got past the quarter-finals aside from USA in 1999 and 2003. That said, since the tournament began, the stadiums where France have played have been filled with fans singing spontaneous renditions of La Marseillaise during games – and the players have been energised by that support. “It gives us strength when we’re on the pitch,” said Viviane Asseyi. “They’re really behind us during the difficult moments. That gives us impetus.”

Erin: USA have had the biggest contingent of travelling fans among all the teams at this World Cup. Megan Rapinoe has even said they are playing “a non-home World Cup that feels like a home World Cup.” Every USA game has been sold out so far and it will be interesting to see if the noisy American fans in red, white and blue can make themselves heard up against the home team’s support.

© Getty Images

Mentality and motivation

Emma: People talk about the USA’s winning mentality, but France also know how to win. Most notably, they have several players in their ranks who ply their trade with six-time European champions Lyon. The same goes for the younger players, who have “an impressive list of titles” according to Delphine Cascarino. Part of a group of players who won the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2012 along with Griedge Mbock Bathy, Aissatou Tounkara, Kadidiatou Diani, and Grace Geyoro, she and Geyoro also won the UEFA Women’s U-19 EURO in 2016.

Erin: Ever since their triumph at the first Women’s World Cup in 1991, winning has been part of the identity and culture of this team, which is competitive, tenacious and confident. The ’99ers’ completely changed women’s football, opening the door for this generation of players, and Sam Mewis believes that this team’s confidence comes from the mentality of their predecessors.