The semi-final match between USWNT and England provided all the workings of a classic to remember for years. Physical play, taunting celebrations, injuries and penalty kicks provided maximum entertainment down to the final minute.
Alex Morgan opened her thirties by being the recipient of a few hard tackles early in the game, as England committed to being more physical. The USWNT continued their impressive streak of scoring in the first 15 minutes of every match in this World Cup by scoring a goal during the 10th minute. Making the start in place of Megan Rapinoe was forward Christen Press, who made no mistake as she headed the ball in the net.
England’s left winger Beth Mead set up Ellen White’s sixth goal of the World Cup with a beautiful ball into the box. White booted the ball through, and the score was tied up 1-1 in the 19th minute. This goal would put White in the driver seat for the Golden Boot award.
White’s Golden Boot award would be spoiled by Morgan, as the newly turned 30-year old took a pass from midfielder Lindsey Horan in the center of the box and headed it home to put the USWNT ahead 2-1 in the 31st minute. Morgan would then channel her inner Kermit the Frog as she taunted England with a tea sipping celebration. With that goal, Morgan launched herself in the driver seat of the Golden Boot award.
The next 14 minutes saw more physical play from England, that included a yellow card on Millie Bright, as she threw her arm across the face of Morgan, knocking the forward to the ground. Halftime approached, and the USWNT outshot England 9-3, as England had 56% of the possession.
The first 22 minutes of the second half saw a yellow card from USWNT midfielder Lindsey Horan and both teams using their first substitution of the match to place some fresh legs on the field.
In the 67th minute, England’s Jill Scott delivered a one-touch pass through the USWNT defense to find White in stride, who shot a low shot past goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. England celebrated as the score was then tied 2-2. But, after further review from the video assistant referee, it was determined that White was offsides, and the goal would be reverse to return USWNT the lead 2-1.
Drama ensued during the 84th minute, as Becky Sauerbrunn received a yellow card for her challenge on White, resulting in a penalty kick for White. White shot in low and to the right of goalkeeper Naeher, who dove and saved the penalty kick, keeping the USWNT ahead 2-1 late in the game.
There would be seven minutes of stoppage time, as both teams made their final substitutions, and England finished with only ten players, as defender Millie Bright received an automatic red card after picking up her second yellow card for tackling Morgan with her cleats. The USWNT would go on to stay in the lead, winning 2-1 and advancing to the World Cup final on Sunday for the third straight time.
The USWNT will face the winner of the semi-final match between Netherlands and Sweden. The losers of the semi-final round will go on to play each other on Saturday to determine third place.