Match Preview France, who are ranked third in the world, boast an extensive selection of world-class players and, as hosts, are among the favourites to win the tournament this summer — exactly one year after their men's team lifted the World Cup in Russia. Les Bleues have not lost a game in France since the start ofwinning 21 games at home over that period, as well as ending on a seven-game winning streak and they have also scored in 27 straight matches. France had 15 different players strike for their country during that time, with an attack led by the prolific Eugene Le Sommer and her nine goals.
Her celebrations oozed defiance, as well as joy.
It will be one of the enduring images, arms out, chest out, chin in the air, expression smug. Rapinoe; equal opportunities campaigner, scourge of Donald J Trump, face of a peaceful protest and a World Cup sensation.
She is the symbol of something powerful, at home and abroad, on a football pitch and well away from it. She was not fazed.
When she took to the pitch against France, she was taking on one of the best football teams in the world with home advantage and a boisterous, partisan crowd roaring them on. She was not perturbed.
Now they must watch other European nations try to defy American ambition.
The special relationship is about to turn a little sour in the build up to that semi-final in Lyon. I take more energy from that than from trying to prove anyone wrong.
But for me, to be gay and fabulous, during Pride month at the World Cup, is nice. It was the sort intoxicating sporting occasion that lingers in body and mind.
It was everything we had hoped it would be, in a sweltering, sticky Paris, with a capacity crowd, inside a stadium that throbbed with noise, hummed with excitement and tingled with tension.
Host nation versus strongest nation, French finesse and flair pitched against American athleticism and power. A clash of styles, a heavyweight encounter, a collision on the surface that would be felt like two tectonic plates hurtling into each underground.
These games can so often fizzle out, they so often meander into an anti-climax, but this was more like an earthquake. Every tackle, every pass, every bit of skill, sparked applause.
France were heading out. Wendie Renard pulled one back with a header. It set up the sort of tense, stomach tumbling finale the contest deserved.