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Hosts France have battled their way into the last eight of the FIFA World Cup following a 2-1 victory over Brazil after extra-time, joining England, who earlier had defeated Cameroon 3-0 in a fiery encounter.

Following a quiet opening 20 minutes at the Stade Océane in Le Havre, France appeared to have taken the lead when Valérie Gauvin beat Brazilian goalkeeper Barbara to the ball and sent her header spinning into the far corner.

Both players needed treatment after the clash, and it was decided that Gauvin had challenged unfairly for the ball, so the goal was ruled out by the video assistant referee (VAR).

Gauvin got her goal eventually though, six minutes after half-time, sliding in to convert from six yards out after brilliant work down the right wing by Kadidiatou Diani to beat Tamiers for pace and send in a low cross.

Brazil, uninspired up to this point, almost responded immediately, Cristiane seeing her looping header from a free kick brilliantly tipped onto the crossbar by French goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi.


They did equalise soon after, however, Thaisa driving into the bottom corner left footed past Bouhaddi – although not before VAR once again intervened after Debinha, who put the initial cross in for the goal, was initially called offside.

Brazil appeared to have won the match with five minutes of normal time to go when Tamires calmly finished into the top corner, but she was correctly called offside.

So the match went to extra-time, where Brazil came close to a winner from open play when Debinha broke the offside trap and poked a shot past Bouhaddi, only for Griedge Mbock Bathy to make an outstanding last gasp block.

France found their winner in the 107th minute, captain Amandine Henry meeting an in-swinging free kick from the right and guiding it into the bottom corner.

France are set play the winner from Monday’s clash between Spain and the United States in the quarter-finals.


They are due to play each other at Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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