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Posted at 11:06 AM ET, 07/13/2011

Women’s World Cup: USA vs. France semifinal preview; meet Megan Rapinoe


Super sub Megan Rapinoe has already etched her name in Women’s World Cup history. What will she do for an encore Wednesday against France? (THOMAS PETER - REUTERS)

(Watch Megan Rapinoe sing “Born in the USA” after scoring a goal against Colombia here.)

For the vast majority of the American sports fans, Sunday’s epic come-from-behind victory against Brazil provided a jarring introduction to the 2011 United States women’s national soccer team.

The U.S. continues its quest for a third Women’s World Cup — and first since 1999 — in today’s semifinals at noon against France.

Follow Post soccer reporter Steven Goff’s live blog of USA-France on Soccer Insider here.

The latest reincarnation of the squad that captured the front page of the U.S. sports and culture world on July 10, 1999, doesn’t feature the names casual fans remember.

There’s no Mia Hamm, no Julie Foudy, no Kristine Lilly and no Brandi Chastain — at least not outside of the broadcast booth.

But Abby Wambach’s last-gasp game-tying goal against Brazil announced the veteran captain’s presence loud and clear, just as it did for the player who provided the perfect cross that set up the tally — super substitute Megan Rapinoe.

Despite starting only one game in the tournament after coach Pia Sundhage’s late decision to replace her in the starting 11 with Lauren Cheney, the bleached-blonde mop-topped Rapinoe has provided a spark off the bench is proving vital to the U.S. run.

In the team’s second Group C contest against Colombia Rapinoe entered the match as a second half substitute and slammed home a goal. It was the second ball Rapinoe put into the back of the net — she scored a goal against North Korea that was disallowed.

And if you’re looking for a player with some personality, Rapinoe fits the part. Following her goal against Colombia, she sprinted to an on-field microphone to belt out “Born in the USA.”

From Soccer America:

“Those big fuzzy microphones are getting in the way of everybody. We thought it would be funny to get those involved and give them their few minutes of glory.”

Expect Rapinoe — who is not in the starting lineup against France — to come on in the second half once again where another crafty cross or set piece could send her team through to Sunday’s final and create another iconic moment for fans of the beautiful game.

And this time, maybe the mics will be ready for her.

By  |  11:06 AM ET, 07/13/2011

 
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