Amandine Henry scoring the winning goal against Brazil that put France into the quarter-finals. — AFP Photo
PARIS — The USA have the utmost respect for France captain and "natural leader" Amandine Henry, her former club teammate Tobin Heath said Wednesday before they clash in the women's World Cup quarter-finals.
Heath played alongside Henry at US club Portland Thorns in the 2016-17 season and the experience left a lasting impression.
"She's fantastic, I consider her one of the best players in the world," Heath said in a press conference.
"She has this competitiveness that is really what I am used to. She is a natural leader and they are lucky to have her as their captain."
Reigning champions USA face the toughest challenge of the tournament so far at Paris' Parc des Princes on Friday.
Heath said France, who will have the majority of the 45,000 crowd behind them, would be hard to beat.
"They're an excellent team, both defensively and offensively. Offensively they are pretty explosive, they have a lot of firepower."
But she returned to the influence of Henry, who scored the injury-time winner for France as they ground out a 2-1 win against Brazil in the last 16.
"She knows what it takes to win, I think that is a huge quality," Heath said. — AFP