England have done it again! 356 days after the men’s national team played a World Cup semi-final in Russia, England’s women’s national team will walk onto the field in Lyon to play their own World Cup semi-final. Their opponents? USA, the holders...
Phil Neville picked momentous words in the run-up to this occasion: “We have to stop being a semi-final team, make the next step and become serial winners like the USA.” England’s coach could not have flattered the American team more, and he had every reason to do so after Jill Ellis’ side ousted the French hosts.
The USA’s new voice on and off the pitch
Pink-haired Megan Rapinoe has emerged as the leader of the USWNT, scoring a brace in both knockout matches against Spain and France. Rapinoe has brought a flash of genius to the tournament on and off the field. Her voice is now recognised as that of a true civil rights leader. Simply put, the 33-year-old forward appears to be an unstoppable force of nature.
England have a talisman of their own in Lucy Bronze. The right-back excelled against Norway capping it with a stunning goal.
Bronze told reporters in France, "I remember a couple of years ago, I had a list of names that I wanted to play against. Marta, Kelly Smith, and Rapinoe was definitely on there.” The American forward may very well be Bronze’s direct opponent if Jill Ellis uses her in her typical role on the left wing.
Two streaks meant to be broken
The Lionesses have not conceded a goal in 371 minutes - since their World Cup opener against Scotland. Similarly, Alex Morgan has been goalless since putting five past Thailand in the US’ opening match. Just one moment in Lyon could break both streaks...