Captain Amandine Henry scored an extra-time winner as France battled into the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals with a 2-1 win over Brazil.
The host country made it four wins from four but needed 120 minutes after an end-to-end contest in front of a partisan crowd at the Stade Oceane on Sunday.
Goals were disallowed at either end in normal time while Valerie Gauvin and Thaisa struck with legal efforts, teeing up an additional period where Henry became the hero.
Another significant hurdle cleared, France will face Spain or defending champions the United States in the last eight as they chase a first title.
France thought they led following the first real incident of note as Gauvin challenged advancing goalkeeper Barbara for Kadidiatou Diani’s right-wing cross and the ball looped into the net. But both players required treatment and then referee Marie-Soleil Beaudoin assessed the incident in a VAR review, deeming Gauvin to have fouled Barbara and ruling the goal out.
There was no denying Gauvin seven minutes into the second half, though, as she stretched to meet Diani’s teasing low cutback and stabbed into the top-left corner of the net.
Cristiane – denied by Sarah Bouhaddi before the break – almost leveled immediately, towering a header against the crossbar, and Brazil did not have to wait long for the equalizer.
Thaisa drilled past Bouhaddi and Beaudoin referred to the VAR to see a call for offside earlier in the move overturned.
Eugenie Le Sommer wastefully headed wide for France, while Tamires was flagged offside as she ran through and dispatched what would have been a late Brazil winner.
A vital last-ditch block from Griedge Mbock Bathy then kept Debinha from scoring after a lung-busting run moments before half-time in extra time. And Henry struck decisively less than a minute after the restart, volleying Amel Majri’s right-wing free-kick past Barbara at close range to give France a lead they could this time protect.
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