Women’s World Cup: USWNT advances to third straight final with 2-1 win over England
Press and Morgan scored, Naeher saved a late penalty kick
United States players celebrate after beating England in the semifinals of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. (Photo credit: Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports)
United States players celebrate after beating England in the semifinals of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. (Photo credit: Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports)

The United States advanced to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final with a 2-1 win over England in the semifinals in Lyon. Chicago Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher saved a penalty kick in the 83rd minute to preserve the win.

The United States will face the winner of Wednesday’s semifinal between the Netherlands and Sweden in Sunday’s final in Lyon. It’s the third straight final for the USWNT, after finishing second in 2011 and winning it all in 2015.

It was so emotional. What a team effort. Just the heart and grit it takes to score two goals with our head early, save a penalty, have a goal taken back. Emotionally up and down,” Utah Royals FC forward Christen Press said on Fox Sports after the match.

Press started the match in place of Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe, who missed the match due to a hamstring injury. Rapinoe had scored the last four goals for the United States, both 2-1 knockout round wins.

Press wasted little time before making her mark, scoring on a header in the 10th minute to give the U.S. the 1-0 lead. Press’ goal was assisted by her Utah teammate Kelley O’Hara.

Rapinoe confirmed the hamstring strain to Fox Sports’ Karina LeBlanc after the match and credited the depth of the U.S. squad for the win. “Everyone stepped up. Not afraid of the moment,” she said.

England evened the score in the 19th minute when Ellen White scored her sixth goal of the tournament, to briefly take the lead in the Golden Boot race.

But Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan scored her sixth goal of the tournament in the 31st minute on an assist from Portland Thorns FC forward Lindsey Horan. In a fun bit of Women’s World Cup trivia, Morgan became the first player to ever score on her birthday in the tournament.

England and White looked to have leveled the match again in the 67th minute, but VAR ruled White just offside on the play.

After another VAR review, Utah Royals FC defender Becky Sauerbrunn was called for a foul of White in the box in the 79th minute and England earned a penalty kick that could tie the game.

Steph Houghton stepped up to take the penalty kick, and Naeher dove to her right and smothered the shot.

“Nothing,” Naeher told LeBlanc after the game when asked what was in her mind during the save. “Got a pep talk from Christen Press over here about six months ago telling me I need to be more positive on penalty kicks and just relax and let instincts take over. I give her some credit for that one for sure. Keeping me calm.”

England defender Millie Bright received her second yellow card of the match in the 86th minute, and England finished the match with 10 players as they pushed for a late equalizer. But the United States held on to the lead to advance to Sunday’s final.

“This was such a great game for us to build on. We made it to the final. This is what we’ve been waiting on,” Morgan said on Fox Sports after the game.

Houston Dash forward Rachel Daly started in midfield for England, playing 89 minutes in the match. Daly, Reign FC forward Jodie Taylor and England will face the loser of the Netherlands/Sweden semifinal in the third place game in Nice on Saturday. It’s England’s second straight appearance in the third place game of the Women’s World Cup.


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