Women’s World Cup: U.S. defeats England to advance to championship

Tuesday - 02/07/2019 16:59
England's forward Ellen White (C) vies with United States' midfielder Lindsey Horan (L) and United States' midfielder Julie Ertz (R) as United States' goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher looks on during the France 2019 Wom
England's forward Ellen White (C) vies with United States' midfielder Lindsey Horan (L) and United States' midfielder Julie Ertz (R) as United States' goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher looks on during the France 2019 Wom
England also made a big change to its lineup, starting Carly Telford in goal rather than Karen Bardsley, who has four shutouts, allowing just one goal in the tournament, and has a 371-minute scoreless streak.

No Megan Rapinoe, not problem for the women’s national team. Coach Jill Ellis simply inserted Christen Press in Rapinoe’s place on the left wing and watched her score the first goal and set up the second in a 2-1 win over England on Tuesday, earning it a spot in Sunday’s final.

But the game was won by goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who came up huge in the 83rd minute, giving to her right to smother a penalty try from England’s Ellen White.

The U.S., bidding to become just the second team to win consecutive Women’s World Cup titles, will face the winner of Wednesday’s second semifinal between Sweden and the Netherlands.

Rapinoe, who scored all four goals in the Americans’s first two elimination-round games, was dressed and on the field for warm-ups but not participate, suggesting she is injured. A U.S. Soccer spokesman declined to say why she didn’t play other to clarify it wasn’t disciplinary.

Not that it mattered. Rapinoe was supposed to wage battle with England full back Lucy Bronze, who has been called the best player in the world by England coach Phil Neville. Instead, Press did the fighting and the first round went to the American.

A Kelley O’Hara cross from the right side sailed across the front of the goal to Press, who had escaped the mark of Bronze. The U.S. forward went high to get it then finished strongly, heading it past England keeper Carly Telford.

Telford was starting in place of Karen Bardsley, who has four shutouts in the tournament. Press’ goal was the second England had allowed in the World Cup and it marked the sixth time in as many games that the U.S., which has never trailed, scored in the opening 12 minutes.

White pulled England even nine minutes later. Beth Mead served in a low, curling cross from the left side for White, who found a seam between Abby Dahlkemper and Becky Sauerbrunn to stick her foot out and volley it in.

It was White’s sixth goal on the tournament, breaking a tie with Rapinoe and Alex Morgan for the tournament lead. But the tie – and White’s scoring lead – didn’t last long.

In the 31st minute Morgan, celebrating her 30th birthday, scored on a header to put the U.S. back in front. That was enough to push U.S. back into the final.

Kevin Baxter | 1:51 p.m.

England fails to score on penalty kick

VAR takenth and VAR giventh right back. Almost.

After England’s Ellen White is denied a goal by a video replay that showed she was offside, another video replay gives her a penalty kick after it was determined she was clipped from behind by U.S. defender Becky Sauerbrunn deep in the box.

But U.S. keeper Alyssa Naeher smothers the try at the left post. U.S. still leads 2-1 in the 84th minute.

Minutes later, Millie Bright’s second yellow card for a dangerous challenge on Alex Morgan gets her set off in the 87th minute. England will try to come back while down a player.
 

 
U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher makes a save on an England penalty kick during the Women's World Cup semifinals on Tuesday.
U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher makes a save on an England penalty kick during the Women's World Cup semifinals on Tuesday. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek / Getty Images)
 

Kevin Baxter | 1:41 p.m.

England just a bit offsides

England appears to tie the game on another Ellen White goal in the 67th minute, but after the goal is taken away, play is halted for a video review. White was just the slightest offside – too close for the sideline official to pick it up, but clear to the video assistant review.

U.S. continues to lead 2-1. But just barely.

Kevin Baxter | 1:28 p.m.

Big save keeps U.S. ahead, 2-1

U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher made, arguably, the save of the tournament on England’s Ellen White at the goal line.

A long free kick to the far post turned into a battle for the loose ball, which bounced around for a while before landing in front of White, who tried to put it back over her shoulder and over the line, just a yard or two behind her. But Naeher calmly reached up and snagged the ball out of the air as White continued kicking at it.

U.S. still leads 2-1 in the 53rd minute.

Kevin Baxter | 1:10 p.m.

Lindsey Horan draws yellow card

The teams come out for the second half with the stadium dancing to the Macarena.

The U.S. is leading 2-1 on goals from Christen Press and Alex Morgan. No substitutes for either side. So we’re 45 minutes from determining the first participant in Sunday’s final.

The half starts with Lindsey Horan drawing a yellow in the opening seconds of the second half.

Kevin Baxter | 1 p.m.

U.S. forward Alex Morgan celebrates after scoring a goal against England in the Women's World Cup semifinals on Tuesday.
U.S. forward Alex Morgan celebrates after scoring a goal against England in the Women's World Cup semifinals on Tuesday. (Francois MorI / Associated Press)

U.S. leads England, 2-1, at halftime

The U.S. holds a one-goal with Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd both lurking in the shadows on the bench.

This is the first time since the second game of group play that the U.S. has scored twice in the first half. Christen Press, a surprise starter in place of Rapinoe, has been involved in both, scoring the first and helping set up the second.

Both goals have been on headers, and the two goals are double the number England had allowed in its first five games of the World Cup.

Regular goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, who had four straight shutouts, isn’t playing. She reportedly is dealing with a hamstring injury. Her replacement, Carly Telford, has really struggled with headers. So the U.S. continues to keep the ball high in front of the goal.

Through the first 45 minutes, time of possession is equal but the U.S. has been far more active in front of the goal, taking nine shots to England’s two and putting four on goal.

Kevin Baxter | 12:47 p.m.

U.S. jumps back into the lead with a beautiful goal

Alex Morgan puts the U.S. in front, 2-1, in the 31st minute. It’s her sixth goal of the tournament, tying England’s Ellen White, who scored 10 minutes earlier. It’s also Morgan’s first goal since the United States’ opening win over Thailand.

The sequence started with a long pass out of the U.S. end to Christen Press on the left touchline. She sent the ball on to Lindsey Horan, whose right-footed feed led Morgan perfectly to the center of the area. She finished from there with a header.

The crowd then sang “happy birthday” — Tuesday is Morgan’s 30th birthday.

England quickly tried to pull back into tie, but U.S. keeper Alyssa Naeher made a splendid save to preserve the lead.

     

Press’s goal in the 10th minute means the U.S. has scored in the opening 12 minutes of all six of its games in this Women’s World Cup. England coach Phil Neville said he would expressly warn his team against giving up an early goal. So much for that.

But White’s equalizer in the 19th minute means England has scored in the first 20 minutes five times in six games. And two of the three goals the U.S. have allowed have come in the first 20 minutes.

Kevin Baxter | 12:36 p.m.

England strikes back with tying goal

It’s a new ball game with Ellen White tying the game for England in the 19th minute. It was a bolt that took just two set-up passes, the second a left-footed cross from Beth Mead on the left wing to White, charging through the U.S. defense into the penalty area.

The ball eluded U.S. defender Abby Dahlkemper and White stuck her right foot out to volley it home, tying the game. It was White’s sixth goal on the tournament, which leads all players.

 


Kevin Baxter | 12:23 p.m.

U.S. takes a 1-0 lead over England

Christen Press, the surprise starter, gives the U.S. a 1-0 lead inside of 10 minutes. A long cross from Kelley O’Hara on the left wing went across the front of the goal to Press, wide open on the left edge of the six-yard box. Her high header easily got over the outstretch arm of leaping English keeper Carly Telford at the near post.

The U.S. has been at the front from the opening whistle. Early on Tobin Heath did a great job to beat England’s Demi Stokes to a ball up the right wing, winning the first corner of the game. Rose Lavelle took the corner, then seconds later dribbled through three defenders to take the first shot of the game, which was fisted down with both hands by Telford.
 


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