Carli Lloyd scored the goal that gave the U.S. Women’s National Team a crucial 1-0 victory over France at the 2016 Olympics on Saturday, but it was goalkeeper Hope Solo who repeatedly saved the day for the Americans.
France, the third-ranked team in the world, controlled much of the match’s first half and had two excellent chances to take an early lead. The first came when Wendie Renard, the French defender who turned in a dominating performance, had a free header just in front of goal. But Solo turned the shot off the crossbar and behind the goal to keep the match scoreless.
Solo, who on Saturday became the first goalkeeper in history to make 200 appearances for a national team, came up huge again 10 minutes later, when she smothered an open shot from France’s Marie-Laurie Delie.
Solo’s heroics allowed the USWNT to settle in before Lloyd put the Americans ahead in the 64th minute, when she tapped in a rebound after midfielder Tobin Heath’s shot deflected off the post.
Solo was busy again just a few minutes later, when she came up with a diving save to keep France off the scoreboard.
The USWNT dodged a huge bullet late when defender Ali Krieger, who at age 32 became the oldest American to ever make her Olympic debut, nearly put the ball into her own net. But her deflection went just wide instead, and the USWNT managed to close out the win that put them on top of the tournament’s Group G.
The Americans will close out group stage play against Colombia on Tuesday, needing only a draw to finish first in their group.
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