The USA will head to the World Cup finals for the third consecutive time after defeating England 2-1 in the highly anticipated semifinal. In the nail-biting game plagued by late VAR decisions, cards, and penalties, the United States managed to scrape by once more with goals from Christen Press and Alex Morgan, and a show-stopping save from goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.
The US lineup raised a few eyebrows by omitting co-captain Megan Rapinoe, but her replacement Christen Press quickly proved her worth with a goal in the first ten minutes of play. England was quick with a comeback, catching the US defense off guard and allowing Ellen White to slip in a goal in the 19th minute.
A goal by Morgan gave the US the lead again in the 31st minute. The forward, who is celebrating her 30th birthday, mimed sipping tea in her iconic goal celebration. Morgan’s sixth goal of the tournament (plus her three assists) put her on the top of the standings for the Golden Boot. Ellen White scored a second time early in the second half, but it was recalled after video replay found it offsides.
The play of the game came late in the second half after a foul from defender Becky Sauerbrunn on Ellen White drew a penalty kick. Naeher stepped up, saving the kick to keep the US team’s lead, simultaneously devastating England who has missed three penalties out of four throughout the tournament.
England kept the pressure on until the final whistle, playing a man down from the 86th minute after defender Millie Bright received a red card. England will play in the third-place match on Saturday, June 6, at 11 am. The US play again on Sunday, July 7 at 11 am against the winner of the Sweden v. Netherlands semifinal game on Wednesday, July 3rd.