England v USA | Semi Final 2019

FIFA Women's World Cup | Stade de Lyon

There were similarities between how the semi-finalof today ended against England and how the United States defeated France in the quarter-final. The owners showed their mettle with USA goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher coming up with a crucial save on England’s early team captain Steph Houghton to finally guide the Stars and Stripes to a fifth successive Women’s World Cup game. With star Megan Rapinoe out with a hamstring injury, Christen Press walked up and scored the opening objective before Alex Morgan moved to her sixth place in the competition, between the nice finish of Ellen White. In the final on 7 July, Morgan and Co will bring either the Netherlands or Sweden.

“We’re here for one thing, and that’s to win the trophy. Everything we talk about and focus on is about that. When you are the premier team in the world, you’re always going to have noise and external stuff. But we have a unique way of making sure that everything is about the game plan and preparation. The conversations I hear from the players are really about the game, which is exciting as a coach. They’re professionals, that’s the best way to sum it up.”
Jill Ellis, USA head coach

America now holds the record of 11 successive Women’s World Cup victories and 16 undefeated games. The United States is the first nation to achieve three successive World Cup finals for women.

“I felt like England had a great game. Alyssa Naeher came out huge for us on the penalty save. This team has had so much thrown at us. We haven’t had an easy route to the final. Each tournament has given me something different and I’ve looked at it through a different lens (as a captain). I saw all my team-mates being so emotional, and I know it means so much to us. We’ve put so much into this journey together.”
Alex Morgan, Player of the Match

It might have been the unprecedented system change, a tired defense, cheaply sacrificing ownership or failing to rise to the opportunity. Despite Rachel Daly’s superb results and an amazing pace of energy moving forward, England collapsed tonight and the defeat will have destroyed the side of Phil Neville who appeared confident, brave and nearly unflattering throughout this competition. England showed a new aggression, yet it wasn’t always well channeled, compromising their previously excellent disciplinary record–significantly when a second yellow was shown to Mille Bright.

“We’ll have to allow 24 to 48 hours for this to sink in and for them to get over this disappointment. Nothing I can say will make them feel better. Elite sport and being on top of the world means that on Saturday in Nice we have to produce a performance. It will tell me a lot about my players. I’ve moved on from this already and now I’m looking forward to Saturday’s game. I’ll see the attitude, commitment of my players. They won’t let me down, because they never have.”
Phil Neville, England head coach

For the USWNT tonight, Alyssa Naeher comes up with an incredible save in the first half, but an even more crucial save on a penalty in the second half.

Similar to the game against France, the US is holding on to the 2-1 lead, even with a reasonable quantity of additional moment owing to the number of fouls in the second quarter. But they did it, and then they have to thank their goalkeeper for the save that she created on the punishment that might very well have been the equalizer.