June 24 (UPI) -- Megan Rapinoe converted two penalty kicks as the United States Women's National Team defeated Spain 2-1 in the round of 16 Monday to reach the quarterfinals of the Women's World Cup soccer tournament.
The United States and Spain exchanged goals in the first 10 minutes of the match. The Americans struck first with Rapinoe's first penalty kick in the seventh minute. Jennifer Hermoso capitalized on a brutal turnover by the U.S. women and curled a shot past Alyssa Naeher in the ninth minute.
After allowing the early goal, the U.S. women controlled play for portions of the first half and had quality scoring chances. Despite their opportunities, the Americans couldn't grab the lead as the squads went into the break tied 1-1.
Toward the end of the first half and in the beginning of the second, Spain started to put pressure on the United States and began to force the action in the attacking third.
"We didn't play particularly well through the end of the first half, kind of the beginning of the second half," Rapinoe told reporters. "There was a point where we knew we had to turn it up a little bit. There's quite a few of us that have been in these big games and that experience is really good for us."
The Americans responded in the 71st minute when Spain's Virginia Torrecilla clipped Rose Lavelle in the box. After video review confirmed the referee's call, Rapinoe buried her second penalty kick in the 76th minute to seal the victory.
"You can talk tactics, but heart, grit and resolve, that's a big part of World Cup soccer. No game is ever easy in this tournament," U.S. team women's manager Jill Ellis told reporters. "We know that, we've learned that. So part of it is the mental piece and I thought they were great."
Spain was awarded seven minutes of stoppage time, but couldn't equalize the score.
The U.S. women play France in the quarterfinals Friday in Paris. The French team defeated Brazil 2-1 on Sunday.