God Bless Hope Solo.
Without the world’s best goalkeeper plugging the defensive holes left by the absence of Julie Johnston (groin injury), the U.S. women would have been clobbered Saturday (Aug. 6) by a strong, smart, fast, fearless, skillful French side.
Solo made three tough saves in the first half to keep the game scoreless.
In the second half, Carli Lloyd was in the right place to pick up an easy goal when Tobin Heath’s shot was deflected off the near goalpost.
That one-goal margin was all Solo needed. The final score: USA 1, France 0.
Watch Carli Lloyd’s goal here.
Team USA is now assured of moving on to the knockout stage. The Americans play their final group game against Colombia on Tuesday (Aug. 9). Kickoff is at 5 p.m. CT. The game is on NBCSN.
Here are five oddities, curiosities, or (possibly) interesting facts about the USA-France match and its participants:
It was Hope Solo’s 200th international appearance. She is the only goalkeeper ever to reach that mark.
Five of the U.S. starters are playing in their first Olympics: Morgan Brian, Crystal Dunn, Whitney Engen, Meghan Klingenberg, and Allie Long.
The Americans are 17-1-2 all-time against France.
Whitney Engen, who started in place of the injured Julie Johnston, was the only field player on the 2015 U.S. World Cup team who was never used..
France, despite being ranked No. 3 in the world, has never advanced to the final of a World Cup or Olympic tournament.