LYON, France – The defending champions United States will get the chance to win the Women’s World Cup for a fourth time after a hard-fought 2-1 victory on Tuesday over England.
Christen Press and Alex Morgan had the goals for the Americans and keeper Alyssa Naeher saved a penalty by England’s Steph Houghton in the 84th minute, about 15 minutes after the English side saw what looked like the tying goal disallowed after VAR detected that one of the attacking players was offside.
But the England team could take pride from a performance that made the contest at Stade de Lyon the most entertaining match of this year’s competition.
Both coaches took chances with their lineups. England’s Phil Neville started the game with Fran Kirby, Karen Bardsley and Toni Duggan on the bench, while counterpart Jill Ellis decided to sit the star of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, Megan Rapinoe, who scored all four US goals in the squad’s last two outings.
As in their previous matches, the US struck first, as Press headed-in a Kelley O’Hara cross in the 10th minute for the 1-0 lead.
England kept their poise and got back on level terms in the 19th minute with Ellen White’s goal.
The equalizer was followed by a succession of chances at both ends. Rose Lavelle came close to restoring the US lead, only to see teammate Becky Sauerbrunn nearly concede an own goal.
But Alex Morgan celebrated her 30th birthday with a goal in the 31st minute to make it 2-1 for the US.
While VAR denied White a second goal in the 69th minute, the video review presented England with a golden opportunity to pull level with six minutes left, awarding a penalty for a Sauerbrunn foul against White.
England captain Houghton took the shot, but Naeher proved equal to the task and the expulsion of English defender Millie Bright two minutes for a second yellow card solidified the US advantage.
Sunday’s final at Stade de Lyon will pit the United States against winner of the second semifinal between Sweden and the Netherlands.
England: Carly Telford; Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton, Millie Bright, Demi Stokes; Keira Walsh (Jade Moore, m. 71), Jill Scott, Beth Mead (Fran Kirby, m. 57), Rachel Daly (Georgia Stanway, m. 89); Nikita Parris and Ellen White.
United States: Alyssa Naeher; Kelley O’Hara (Ali Krieger, m. 87), Becky Sauerbrunn, Abby Dahlkemper, Crystal Dunn; Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle (Samantha Mewis, m. 65), Lindsey Horan; Christen Press, Tobin Heath (Carli Lloyd, m. 79), Alex Morgan.