Sunday, 13 October, 2019

US Defeats England to Advance to Women's World Cup Final

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Shannon Reynolds | 04 July, 2019, 03:39

Megan Rapinoe has leapt to Alex Morgan's defence after the United States captain was accused of being "disrespectful" for her tea-sipping celebration in the Women's World Cup semi-final win over England.

In the last 15 years, their improvement has shown no sign of slowing, becoming one of the most-improved top teams in the world.

There was also the brouhaha after the 13-0 thumping of Thailand in the opening week, with many arguing that the United States had over-celebrated scoring against a lesser team.

Of the eight quarter-finalists in France, England have seen their world ranking points rise the most since the system was introduced to women's football in 2003.

The respective defenses generally came out on top in the first half, as neither team particularly captured the imagination when on the front foot, providing a stark contrast to Tuesday's semifinal contest between the USA and England.

The Lionesses will play one more game in this World Cup, a third place play off, on Saturday, against the team that loses the Sweden versus Netherlands semifinal. You lose, but I thought the way we lost is exactly the way I wanted us to play. "Probably up there, yeah", she said smiling.

Rapinoe's replacement, Christen Press, scored the team's first goal against England.

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Combined with Fox's streaming platforms, the game drew 7.39M viewers, peaking at 9 million viewers as the USA held off England, which was ranked No. 3 in the world.

There was really no doubt as to whether Press could come in and produce in Rapinoe's absence, but seeing her do so in this one has to make fans less nervous about a potential final without Rapinoe.

The goalkeeper lunged to her right to deny Steph Hughton's penalty kick and keep her team in the lead.

If the Americans win, they'll clinch the country's second consecutive title and fourth overall.

The 2019 knockout stage has produced its share of nail-biters. She showed a couple flashes against France, delivering a key pass to Tobin Heath to set up Rapinoe's victor. On Tuesday, she looked like a different player.

Named one of three USA captains before World Cup qualifying last fall, the 34-year-old Rapinoe said Wednesday that little of her public commentary is planned and that she feels increasingly free to speak her mind.

It was just one penalty, but if the final comes down to a shootout, there's an added bit of confidence that she can be the hero this team might need.

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