LE HAVRE, France — On the brink of an early elimination from its home World Cup, France rebounded to defeat Brazil, 2-1 in extra time, in the round of 16 on Sunday on a goal by its captain, Amandine Henry, in the second extra time period.
With interest in women’s soccer soaring to unprecedented levels in France during this World Cup, Les Bleues, as the team is known, gave it a chance to keep spiking by reaching the quarterfinals, where they will face the winner of Monday night’s game between the United States and Spain.
France has not displayed its best form in this tournament. But Sunday’s narrow victory, in which Brazil threatened to score at the end of regulation and again at the end of the first 15-minute extra-time period, was the sort that can settle an edgy team’s nerves and bring the players together.
Valérie Gauvin, France’s center forward, scored her team’s opening goal in the 52nd minute. Thaisa, a Brazilian midfielder, answered in the 63rd minute with a goal that was initially waved off because of an offside call but allowed after consultation with the video assistant referee.
V.A.R., which has been a persistent source of frustration in the tournament and was a major talking point in England’s 3-0 victory over Cameroon earlier in the day, also played a role in the first half when it nullified an apparent French goal that came after a collision between Gauvin and Brazil’s goalkeeper, Barbara, as they converged on a cross.
More than four minutes elapsed before Gauvin’s goal was overruled. But V.A.R. did not intervene in the two passages of play that ultimately decided Sunday’s match.
In the final moments of the first extra period, Brazil’s Debinha broke free on the left wing and beat France goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi, but her low shot was kicked away at the goal line by defender Griedge Mbock Bathy.
France then struck quickly in the second extra period when Amel Majri’s free kick found Henry, who had slipped behind her defender, Monica. Henry’s left-footed volley left Barbara with no chance to make a save, and Henry was soon engulfed by her teammates.
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