The stakes may not have been the same, but the outcome certainly was. The United States women's national team defeated France on Wednesday, 2-0, in an Olympic tune-up friendly that worked as a rematch of the 2019 World Cup quarterfinals.
Within five minutes, the United States were already on the board. An aggressive plan of attack put the French on their heels and forced them into desperate defending, which resulted in Alex Morgan getting tripped up in the box while trying to cut to her right. Megan Rapinoe was the penalty taker and fired the ball off to her right as French goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud Magnin dove to the American's left.
Shortly thereafter, it was Morgan again who was the focal point of the offense. Christen Press found the forward neatly balancing on France's backline, and fired a through ball that found Morgan. The 31-year-old made her way into the box and was able to slot in her shot in the far corner of the net to double the Americans' lead.
The game looked poise to be yet another drubbing from the USWNT on an international stage, but France tightened up the defense to limit the opportunities. As many eight players were regularly in the box defensively, and the French back line worked better to force the offside flag to go up on multiple occasions that appeared to be the United States about to get their third goal.
The only real incident of note happened in the 73rd minute of the match, when Press was pulled down by her hair while near the corner flag by Grace Kazadi. The French player was given a yellow card, though some wondered whether it should have been a red.
France, for what it's worth, were without some of their top players as a result of a COVID outbreak at Olympique Lyonnais. Wendie Renard, Griedge Mbock, Sakina Karchaoui, Amandine Henry, Amel Majri and Delphine Cascarino were all ruled out for this FIFA window.
The next match for the USWNT is scheduled to take place at the end of May, with an international friendly against Switzerland on May 30.