LE HAVRE, France — The U.S. women’s national soccer team’s 28-game unbeaten streak ended Saturday, but the world’s No. 1-ranked team is looking at the bigger picture: Defending their World Cup title.
Kadidiatou Diani scored twice and France beat the U.S. 3-1 in a friendly that served as a warm-up for both teams before the Women’s World Cup in France begins in June.
The Americans had been 25-0-3 since falling 1-0 to Australia in 2017.
“I’m not worried,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said. “We know who we are and what we can do.”
Marie-Antoinette Katoto also scored for third-ranked France, a legitimate World Cup threat who put on a show before a sold-out crowd of 25,000 at La Stade Oceane, a World Cup venue.
Mallory Pugh scored for the United States in the final moments.
It was the first of 10 matches the U.S. will play before the World Cup. The Americans could meet France again in the tournament’s quarterfinals.
Photo: Charly Triballeau / AFP / Getty Images
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France went up in the ninth minute on Diani’s goal off a cross from Delphine Cascarino. Diani scored again in the 57th minute to make it 2-0. The 23-year old plays for Paris Saint-Germain.
Katoto, Diani’s PSG teammate, added a goal in the 78th minute.
U.S. coach Jill Ellis had to tinker with her starting lineup and rested starters including Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and Santa Clara alum Julie Ertz as a precaution because of minor injuries. Also held out was Stanford alum Kelley O’Hara, still recovering from ankle surgery.
Menlo Park’s Tierna Davidson came in for Emily Fox in the 53rd minute, marking the defender’s first appearance since she fractured her left ankle while playing for Stanford in September.
Davidson decided to leave the Cardinal with a year of eligibility remaining to focus on making the World Cup team. She was the first overall pick in last week’s National Women’s Soccer League draft by the Chicago Red Stars.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/U-S-women-s-soccer-team-s-unbeaten-run-ends-13547349.php.