What. A. Game.
England heard for days how the USWNT vs France was “the real World Cup final.”
The Lionesses heard those pundits and said, “Hold my Guinness.”
In an open, physical, controversial thriller, the USWNT defeated England 2-1. The win sends the US to the 2019 Women’s World Cup final.
Press starts for Rapinoe, makes her presence felt early
The pre-match shocker was Christen Press getting the start over Megan Rapinoe.
While early reports indicated that Rapinoe was not injured, she didn’t warm up with the team and didn’t sub in. It later came out that she was nursing a possible hamstring injury.
The pressure was on Press to deliver, and she wasted no time. In the 10th minute, Kelley O’Hara delivered a beautiful service to Press who buried home a header, giving the US a 1-0 lead.
England wasted little time to respond. Ellen White leveled the game in the 19th minute. The goal was her sixth of the tournament, giving her the Golden Boot lead over Alex Morgan.
With the game all square at 1-1 in the 31st minute, Morgan reclaimed the Golden Boot lead. Press found Lindsey Horan who delivered a laser perfect pass to Morgan’s head. Morgan became the first player to score a goal on her birthday (30th) in Women’s World Cup history.
Alex Morgan scores her first goal since the opening game and retakes the lead in the Golden Boot race (6 goals, 3 assists)— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 2, 2019
She's the first player in #FIFAWWC history to score on her birthday 🎂 pic.twitter.com/EGWBNIyaxI
Scrappy and controversial second half
The intensity leveled up in the second half, as both squads got scrappy.
The intense play was over-shadowed by more frustrating VAR controversy.
First, Ellen White’s second goal of the game was called back on an inexplicable VAR off-side ruling.
Then White was awarded a penalty in the box off a phantom contact call. It felt almost like a make-good by the ref.
England has struggled on penalties all tournament. Once again, the penalty opportunity was all for naught as US keeper Alyssa Naeher saved Steph Houghton’s shot from the spot. This was England’s third pk miss of the World Cup, the first time that’s happened.
NAEHER SAVES!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/h4JqFFLylY— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 2, 2019
The save secured the US’ victory, moving them into the World Cup finals. They await the winner of Netherlands vs Sweden on Wednesday.
Updated title odds
Having now vanquished FIFA’s #2 (France) and #3 (England) teams, the US are heavy favorites to repeat as World Cup champs. The latest odds:
- USA -455
- Netherlands +600
- Sweden +900