The USA team reached the finals of the Women’s World Cup in France, by defeating England in the semis after a fantastic game. It was 2-1 for Jill Ellis girls who became the first team to reach three straight World Cup finals.
It was a spectacular match at Parc Olympique Lyonnais, in front of more than 53 thousand spectators. The US team dodged a bullet in this one we have to say, as England had a chance to equalize just six minutes before the end. But the captain Steph Houghton couldn’t convert a penalty kick, and Alyssa Naeher denied her shot.
In those moments, England was on the rush, and they had a huge swing. But luck and Naeher prevented the Lionesses from reaching the finals.
“That was Alyssa Naeher’s shining moment, though we’ve got one more game,” the American head coach stated.
🤯 🤯 🤯
— Team USA (@TeamUSA) July 2, 2019
The game started with a bold decision of Ellis, to start the game without Megan Rapinoe, which eventually gave results. Christen Press who replaced the veteran player in the starting lineup netted after just 10 minutes. Press used Kalley O’Hara’s cross and sent the ball behind Telford with a powerful header.
However, this lead didn’t last for too long, as Ellen White leveled the score with her 6th goal of the tournament in the 19th minute.
The American team struck once again after 30 minutes of play. Alex Morgan couldn’t wish for a better birthday than this one, because she scored what turned out to be a game-winning goal. This hit too was after a header.
Following a goal, Morgan celebrated by mimicking drinking a cup of tea. She too emphasized Naeher’s impact on the field, stressing out that USA’s goalie needs to be credited the most for reaching another final.
“Alyssa Naeher, she should be the player of the match today. She saved our butts today.”
The second 45 minutes brought more excitement. VAR system was in the middle of attention because it intervened on two occasions. At first, the referee Alves Batista from Brazil canceled what was thought to be an equalizer. White netted, but it turned out that England’s striker was offside for a few inches.
This was an amazing match. England had their chances. Kudos USA.https://t.co/IMhj6rGXhf
— Jason Murphy (@jasemurphy) July 2, 2019
But, nine minutes before the end, VAR was on their side. Becky Sauerbrunn fouled White, and Batista checked the video replay, after which he pointed towards the spot.
Sadly for the English fans, Houghton couldn’t score.
Phill Neville stated that Houghton shouldn’t be condemned because of this. Up until that moment, the English captain was the best individual on the court, but sometimes, soccer knows to be ruthless.
“She’ll be upset, she’ll be disappointed, but she’s been phenomenal, and no blame should be attached to her,” Neville said to the reporters right after the game. “That’s football, that’s sport. We’ll go again.”
Regarding his girls, the former Manchester United player said that he couldn’t ask more from them and that he is more than proud.
“But I can’t ask for anything more. We’ve had the time of our lives, and they’ve really played their hearts out.”
Team USA is now preparing for their third consecutive finals, and a chance to defend the title. If they do so, it will make them only the second team who managed to do that after Germany. Also, the USA would confirm its domination in women’s soccer, having four titles in eight editions.
Their opponents in the finals are going to be either the Netherlands or Sweden. Both sides will be massive underdogs against the US team, but they have enough quality to dethrone the champions.
Their match will be played tomorrow.
As for the Americans, there is no time to celebrate, because the preparations for the finals are starting right away. The ultimate game of the championship is scheduled for this Sunday.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.