When France needed a leader, their leader stood up, Amandine Henry's goal in the second period of extra-time enough to eliminate a stubborn Brazil. The hosts are through to the quarter-final, and meet USA or Spain next.
In the first half, France dominated the ball but struggled to take advantage of their superiority thanks to final balls and dead-ball delivery sorely lacking in quality. They did, though, think that they'd taken the lead on 23 minutes when Valerie Gauvin barged home Viviane Asseyi's cross, and so did everyone else, but the goals was eventually disallowed when Var showed ... well ... that Barbara, in the Brazil goal, had full control of the ball, in both hands ... except she didn't. And on it goes.
France improved slightly after half-time, though, and on 52 minutes, great work from Kadidiatou Diani set up Gauvin to slide past Babara. At that point, it was hard to see a way back for Brazil, but eight minutes later, Thaisa drove a loose ball into the corner of the net, and though the officials ruled this one out for offside, against either Debinha, who put in the cross, or Christiane, who attacked it, only for VAR to show that Debinha was fine and Christian was not interfering with play ... despite participating in it and standing in the penalty area. And on it goes.
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The game was more even after that with both sides missing chances to win it before, just as penalties looked a certainty, Elise Bussaglia sent a decent ball into the box, at long last, and Henry's drive did the rest. So, to much delight, France are through, but if they play like this again, they will not get away with it again.

TALKING POINT

How can France get more from Le Sommer? Eugenie Le Sommer is France's most potent attacking threat, but in the first half especially, her involvement in the game did not reflect that. Perhaps she should play more centrally, off Gauvin rather than as an inside-left, so that her team can wring the most from her talent.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH

Viviane Diani (France) Never stopped running and prompting, her pace and footwork made her the most dangerous attacker on the pitch.

PLAYER RATINGS

France: Bouhaddi 6, Torrent 6, Mbock Bathy 6, Renard 6, Majri 6, Asseyi 7, Henry 7, Bussaglia 6, Le sommer 5, Diani 8, Gauvin 7. Subs: Thiney 6, Cascarino 6, Perisset 6, Karchaoui 6.
Brazil: Barbara 6, Leticia 6, Monica 6, Kathellen 6, Tamires 7, Ludmilla 5, Formiga 5, Thaisa 6, Debinha 7, Marta 5, Christiane 5. Subs: Beatriz 6, Andressinha 6, Poliana 6, Geyse 6.

KEY STATS

Brazil have not won a knockout match in the last four world cups and have lost in two last-16 games in a row.
France are the first hosts to reach the last eight.

Gauvin ouvre le score face au Brésil

Image credit: Getty Images

KEY MOMENTS

23’ - GOAL! France 1-0 Brazil (Gauvin) Again, France attack down the right, Asseyi doing brilliantly to turn away from Tamires and smack a cross into the middle. Again, Barbara comes for it, but she's misread the flight of the ball, which is curling away, so can't get there in time, flapping as Guavin barges it into the net.

27’ - VAR SAYSNO GOAL! I've not a scooby why, because that's not a clear error in any sense. How far we done fell.

52’ - GOAL! France 1-0 Brazil (Gauvin) Now that one will count! Brilliant from Diani, who turns Tamires, scoots away, lholds her off, looks up, and clips across the six-yard box for Gauvin to slide home. That was very nicely done.

64’ - GOAL! France 1-1 Brazil (Thaisa) Debinha races down the left - she was onside when the ball found her - and her cross is excellent, forcing Renard to intercept. As the ball drops to Christiane, she's stood offside, but not interfering as Thaisa cracks home a low drive! Who saw that coming?

72’ - Majri floats the free-kick to the back post ... and Le Sommer is all alone! But instead of heading back across goal, she looks for the smaller space inside the near and makes a right nonsense of it, putting the ball a couple of yards wide. That was a great chance.

105’ - The corner goes short before Bussaglia drives ball into box, and Diani's up! But she can't get requisite power or direction, heading straight at Barbara. That was the best chance in quite some time.

105’ - Have a look! Thaisa slides Debinha away down the left and she scythes into the box, touching past the advancing Bouhaddi, but what about that! Mbock slides in behind her and pulls off a terrific block! Suddenly it's raining chances!

106’ - GOAL! France 2-1 Brazil (Henry) A captain's goal from the captain of France! They win their infinitieth free-kick, wide on the right, and at last, a a decent ball for someone to attack, Bussaglia curling in as Monica gets the wrong side of Henry; she watches it all the way onto the side of her foot before volleying home from five yards. Amazing drive from the captain; is that her team's Blanc against Paraguay moment? ™;
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