How to watch: Tuesday’s game is being broadcast by Fox and Telemundo in the United States. To find out who holds the broadcast rights where you are, click here.
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Here’s what's happening:
Encouraging signs for both teams.
Ellis will be thrilled with the lead, and the two goals, but Neville and England will feel fortunate to have gotten one back, and to have traded punches with the world’s best team. Yes, they’re behind, but figure he is in the locker room right now screaming about how they’ve held their own, how they’ve got a goal, and how they didn’t back down.
The United States has had to do some serious defending today: England has tested them like no other opponent so far, even France, which had moments but never really felt as if it would win. England definitely can. White’s finish was clinical, and the Americans can’t just turtle up the way they did against France and hope to fight her off. She’ll find an opening.
45’ + 1
One minute of stoppage time in the first half.
England wins a corner but wastes it, and then Morgan gives chase for a long ball down the center, only to see it bounce into Telford’s hands.
There’s the whistle. Great half. The Americans lead, 2-1.
Yellow card for England’s Bright.
Morgan takes a hand to the face from Millie Bright in a collision at midfield, Morgan’s latest wound. But Bright gets a yellow card for it, and that may make her life difficult. The U.S. pressure has been relentless, and she will find herself in challenging situations again. From now on, though, she will have to be careful.
MORGAN!!! And the U.S. is back in front at 2-1!
The birthday girl has a goal. Horan carves out a bit of space on the left, and her cross meets a galloping Morgan right in front of Telford. Morgan, who turned 30 today, had a step on Stokes, but that was all she needed for a header, casually turned in past the defenseless keeper.
That’s her sixth goal of the World Cup — and first since the Thailand game — and it ties her with England’s White for the tournament lead.
Wooooof: almost an own goal for Sauerbrunn.
Moments after Mead wastes an open chance in the box by slipping with the ball at her feet, a cross come back in toward Sauerbrunn, who mis-hits it and narrowly misses burying an own goal past Naeher.
The U.S. escapes, though, as the ball slips around the far post. That. Was. Close.
Lavelle takes a poke, and Morgan is down.
Another long cross from the right toward Morgan results in a collision, and Bronze runs the striker from behind. But the ball falls to Lavelle, who absolutely stings a ball off Telford’s gloves. That was a rocket.
But more important for the U.S., Morgan stays down after the hit from behind. Scroll down for more on the beating she has taken in this World Cup.
UPDATE: Morgan goes off, but comes right back on. Just another day at the mines.
TIE GAME! It’s White for England — AGAIN!!! 1-1!
Boom. Just like that England pulls even. Beth Mead took the ball wide of O’Hara on the left and served in a curling, low screamer. Ellen White simply turned it in, a proper English finish. Naeher had no chance.
White’s positioning and instincts were excellent there — she found a gap between the center backs, Dahlkemper and Sauerbrunn, that made it easy. She now has six goals in the World Cup, making her the leading scorer (over Morgan and Rapinoe, who each have five).
That is only the third goal allowed in the tournament by the United States.
Jill Ellis is a genius. Kidding.
But it’s the United States with ANOTHER early goal, and it’s Rapinoe’s replacement, Christen Press, who gets it.
That was remarkably easy, in the end: Kelley O’Hara took a ball to the end line under little pressure and drove a ball across the goal in the general direction of Press. Unmarked behind right back Lucy Bronze, who has won praise from Neville as the best player in the world, she simply met it with her forehead and beat Telford. Easy finish, and the U.S. leads, 1-0.
It’s the sixth straight game in which the United States has scored first, and in the first dozen minutes. That breaks England’s streak of four straight shutouts, too, and is the worst possible start for a team that knew it would need to be at its best to win today.
The United States wins the first corner.
They crowded Telford, the replacement goalkeeper, on the corner but she fought it off. But that’s not the end of it. The U.S. creates two more dangerous chances after recycling the failed corner, including a gorgeous nutmeg by Rose Lavelle in the box that freed her for a shot that Telford did well to save.
This is the pressure U.S. opponents fear.
“Be brave,” Neville had told his team. They’ve really needed to be so far.
We’re underway in Lyon: watch Press early.
England takes possession, and the U.S. sits back early. The obvious place to watch when the Americans get the ball is the left wing, where Press is taking Rapinoe’s place.
England will want to lock things down early; early goals have been a key to every U.S. win in the World Cup. Avoiding one would be goal No. 1 for the Lionesses.
Rapinoe is not taking part in drills.
Andrew Keh is watching Rapinoe from the media tribune at Stade de Lyon:
She was the last one to run out of the tunnel for pregame warm-ups. She went through some of the warm-up jogging with the team. But once they started doing their drills with the ball, she peeled off on her own and has been standing on the sideline ever since.
Now she’s standing near the 18 yard box, watching the shooting drills.
She’s got her arms folded across her chest and it periodically clapping encouragement for her teammates.
The U.S. lineup is out and … wow. Rapinoe SITS.
The day’s first surprise comes from Jill Ellis, who has benched Megan Rapinoe in favor of Christen Press on the left wing. (Ellis’s only other change — Lindsey Horan for Sam Mewis in midfield — has been an either/or choice all tournament.) But sitting Rapinoe, who has scored four goals in the past two games, is, um, curious.
(UPDATE: Rapinoe came out for warm-ups but did not warm up with the team, suggesting she has picked up an injury.)
As Ali Krieger, Alex Morgan and nearly everyone has noted: The United States has the deepest roster in the tournament. And Press has been excellent every time she has stepped on the field. But sitting Rapinoe (if she is healthy) in a World Cup semifinal — when she has turned in two-goal performances in consecutive games — carries real risks for Ellis. Rapinoe is popular in the locker room, a dangerous threat in a front line that has performed well and, in many ways, the face of the team to outsiders.
If the move backfires — especially if Rapinoe is not injured — then Ellis will bear the brunt of the blame. Then again, Ellis has led the team to 10 straight wins over two World Cups, so one also needs to consider that she knows exactly which buttons to push on her team.
Aly Wagner of Fox Sports tweeted out a video that said Rapinoe was not out warming up with the team, and our photographer at the match, Pete Kiehart, has sent photos of Rapinoe walking without cleats on. It doesn’t appear she is fit.
U.S. Soccer declined to comment on the decision to sit Rapinoe, referring questions about the lineup to Ellis postgame. But in previous games when a likely starter wasn’t in the lineup (Becky Sauerbrunn against Thailand and Julie Ertz against Sweden), U.S. Soccer was quick to note an injury — minor in both cases — was the reason. They are not saying that with Rapinoe today.
Here’s the full United States starting lineup: Alyssa Naeher; Crystal Dunn, Becky Sauerbrunn, Abby Dahlkemper, Kelley O’Hara; Lindsey Horan, Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle; Christen Press, Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath.
England has made some big changes too.
Rapinoe is not the only surprise omission today: England’s Phil Neville has made a few of his own.
The biggest might be in goal, where the starter Karen Bardsley has picked up a minor injury. Carly Telford takes her place. In midfield, Rachel Daly takes the place of Fran Kirby, and Beth Mead starts for Toni Duggan.
Neville had hinted that he was looking for a way to get Daly in the team, noting that she had played well in a SheBelieves Cup matchup against the United States in March. The teams tied, 2-2, that night. He had suggested she might turn out at right back, with Lucy Bronze pushing forward into midfield, but for now it’s Daly listed as a midfielder. Duggan and Kirby are on the bench, so it appears they are available.
Here’s England starting lineup: Carly Telford; Demi Stokes, Millie Bright, Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze; Jill Scott, Keira Walsh; Rachel Daly, Nikita Parris, Beth Mead; Ellen White.
Confidence? Or overconfidence?
There has been quite a bit of talk about arrogance and overconfidence in the run-up to today’s match, much of it fueled by a British news media looking to take the United States down a peg. But there also has been much opinion shared by people who didn’t like the way the United States celebrated each one of its 13 goals against Thailand. And by those who didn’t like Ali Krieger’s suggestion that the United States has the best team in the world, but also the second-best team in the world. And then there are those who predictably took predictable sides in a nonsoccer dust-up between Megan Rapinoe and President Trump.
Some of the usual suspects have weighed in.
Inevitably, the accusations made their way back to the American team. United States Coach Jill Ellis brushed the critiques aside on Sunday.
“It’s important that our team has confidence,” she said, adding, “I don’t think in any way this is an arrogant team. I think this team knows they’ve got to earn everything, that we’ve got tough opponents still ahead of us and we have to earn every right to advance in this tournament.”
Midfielder Christen Press struck the same theme on Monday.
“I don’t think our team is arrogant at all; I think our team is confident,” she told reporters. “We’re respectful of our opponents, and the way that we respect them is by preparing for each game as if the opponent that we’re going to play is the best in the world.
“I think that — on top of the level of intensity and preparation and effort that goes into each game — is the best way to respect who you are playing,” she added. “And I think that confidence is beautiful, and that’s a big part of the U.S. women’s national team’s legacy, and it’s actually an important part that we really hope that our performances are helping and spreading to others in the world, and the next generations looks and sees that and feels that and carries that on.”
Alex Morgan has taken a beating in the World Cup.
Sweden kicked her right out of a game. Spain roughed her up. France took its shots, too.
Alex Morgan, the tip of the United States attacking spear, has taken more than her share of punishment during this World Cup, and she may be facing another beating from England today.
Part of this is positional: as a target striker, a No. 9 in soccer terms, Morgan’s role in Coach Jill Ellis’s 4-3-3 system is multifold: sometimes she is chasing down balls played in front of her; often she plays with her back to the goal instead, winning headers or controlling long passes and holding off defenders just long enough for her wings and midfielders to join her in the attack. At all times, she is looking to get herself free, and into a position to score.
Against Thailand in the Americans’ opening game, that meant five goals. (More than a few people thought that was too many; Morgan didn’t particularly care about their opinion.) But Morgan hasn’t scored since. Against Sweden, she was subbed off at halftime. Against Spain, she spent a good chunk of the match detailing for the referee how she was being abused. But against France, her holdup play was again vital, buying time for a tiring team that was defending valiantly with (almost) all hands for most of the second half.
“Naturally, as a No. 9, I’m going to be plowed through quite often, and I understand that comes along with the job,” Morgan said. “And it happens many times, in the N.W.S.L., or even with friendlies, so I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily more physical in general at this World Cup. I would just say that it comes with the territory.”
The job is quite a change for a player once nicknamed Baby Horse for the way she ran freely behind defenses. But that was a different time.
England Coach Phil Neville, who once boasted of kicking an Arsenal player until he questioned his career choices, has surely noted that, while the treatment hasn’t stopped the United States from winning, it has stopped Morgan from scoring. That is absolutely something he would like to see continue.
Here’s some pregame reading.
We made a case for both the United States and England in our preview of the game. You can read both arguments here and decide for yourself.
Andrew Keh talked to Christen Press and Alyssa Naeher about how the United States is moving on from its win over France, a game that the players (and everyone else) had circled on their calendars since the draw in December. How does a team keep its edge when its first big goal is achieved, but nothing has been won?
Rory Smith wrote an excellent piece on Monday about the rise of Europe, which has been the story of this World Cup. Seven of the eight quarterfinalists (all except the United States) and three of the semifinalists are from Europe, which has poured investment into women’s soccer in recent years. The United States is fully aware of the threat to its three-decade hegemony in women’s soccer. “The level is just growing every day,” Megan Rapinoe said after the United States beat France on Friday.
No, the United States did not spy on England.
England Coach Phil Neville, who appears to have declared himself the arbiter of the Proper Way to Do Things at this World Cup, caused a stir over the weekend when he complained publicly about what he considered an unacceptable breach of protocol by U.S. Soccer.
Neville, who earlier had declared himself “utterly ashamed” of an opponent’s behavior in an England victory, took issue with a visit by two U.S. Soccer operations staff members to his team’s five-star hotel in Lyon over the weekend. The visit, it turned out, was a simple bit of due diligence: FIFA has assigned the team hotels in Lyon, and it placed England in the five-star Fourvière.
But since the winner of the United States-England semifinal will be lodged at that hotel ahead of the final, U.S. Soccer sent over two team officials — the hotel is a public facility — to look it over while England was at a training session over the weekend.
“I would assume everybody is doing that,” United States Coach Jill Ellis said, brushing off a question of whether the visit was a sign “of arrogance or overconfidence.” “You have to plan ahead.”
Neville, however, pronounced himself appalled at what he labeled a breach of “etiquette.”
“It’s not something that England would do,” he said.
The English news media quickly took up the easy narrative, declaring the incident #Spygate on social media and demanding answers from Ellis and her players. When a lone observer was ejected from England’s training session on Monday, some reporters even got a second day out of the story.
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