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USA v. England, Women’s World Cup Semifinal: Preview, Scouting Report

Can Megan Rapinoe keep her scoring streak alive?

Soccer: Womens World Cup-France vs USA Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

After taking down host country France, the United States are one step closer to reaching their third consecutive Women’s World Cup Final. To get to that championship match, they’ll have to get the better of a red-hot England side.

The U.S. kicks off against the Lionesses on Tuesday, July 2 at 12 PM PT. The semifinal showdown airs on FOX.

The narrative heading into the U.S. quarterfinal match against France became rather political, with President Trump remarking on previous comments made by Megan Rapinoe, where the Reign FC and USWNT forward declared emphatically that she’d decline an invite to the White House if the women win their second straight title.

Instead of letting that narrative take over the match, Rapinoe kept the focus on soccer when the whistle blew. While she hasn’t had the best tournament, Rapinoe has scored when the team needed her. And she did that again against France, whipping in a free kick in the 7th minute of the match and scoring against the run of play in the second half.

England — home to Reign FC striker Jodie Taylor — dominated Norway to advance to the semifinals. They looked fit and in control for 90 minutes. A team that came out of a tough group on top has carried that momentum toward the semis, allowing just one goal against Scotland in all their matches.


Megan Rapinoe v. Lucy Bronze

Rapinoe will have her test on Tuesday against Lucy Bronze, one of the best players in the world right now. Bronze might be a right back by title, but her contributions are felt all over the pitch. She gets up the flank quickly and has formed a formidable pairing with Nikita Parris on that side.

Oh, did you know she can also score goals?

Like most attacking outside backs, Bronze can get pulled out of position. A poaching Pinoe could take full advantage of that unoccupied space and be lingering high up the pitch, waiting to pounce on a counter attack.

Squad Rotation

Aside from his two centerbacks and midfielder Jill Scott, England coach Phil Neville has opted to rotate his squad consistently this tournament. Jodie Taylor got a start up top, and wing players Beth Mead and Toni Duggan has swapped matches.

U.S. coach Jill Ellis has taken a similar approach — although she’s settled on more of a core set of players in the knockout round. We’re bound to see some changes this match, but how many is the question. England likely has the upper hand here, as their squad rotation has made them more unpredictable.

Battle in the Midfield

Both teams have midfielders who stepped up this tournament. For England, this is the best I’ve seen Jill Scott play in a long time. She’s quick to close down players defensively, strong on the ball, and helps spread the attack through her passing.

Fran Kirby started this tournament poorly but seems to be playing her way into the World Cup with each game. If Neville wants to shake things up, however, Georgia Stanway might only be 20 years old, but she plays with the confidence of a veteran and could cause the U.S. plenty of problems.

The U.S. has an abundance of midfielders who are playing at their best, although Sam Mewis has to be at the top of that list. She’s doing most of the things Scott is, and has added two goals and two assists to her list.

When the U.S. faced England in the SheBelieves Cup this March, the teams finished 2-2 although the Lionesses often looked like the better team. One reason for that is because Jill Ellis started a very offensive lineup, with Pinoe, Alex Morgan, and Tobin Heath up top and Mallory Pugh, Rose Lavelle, and Julie Ertz in the midfield.

Having Lindsey Horan and Mewis as options this time around, Ellis shouldn’t make the same mistake. Hopefully. That’s not to say Rose Lavelle shouldn’t start — she’ll just need to be surrounded by defensive-minded midfielders to leave her focus on being a creator.

The Wings

Both teams have strong wing players, and I expect a lot of the attack to come from this spot on the field. While the U.S. sat back more against France, against England I think they’ll try to build more play on the right side and have Kelley O’Hara pushing up the field to create numerical mismatches.

On the wing remains other questions: Can Crystal Dunn have another standout defensive performance and keep Bronze and Parris at bay? Can the U.S. finally figure out how to get Tobin Heath the ball more consistently? Or will Jill Ellis make a switch and put in Christen Press or Mallory Pugh out wide?

By the Numbers


22 goals scored, 2 goals against

Alex Morgan: 5 goals, 3 assists

Megan Rapinoe: 5 goals, 3 assists

Sam Mewis: 2 goals, 2 assists


11 goals scored, 1 goal against

Ellen White: 5 goals

Lucy Bronze: 1 goal, 2 assists

Nikita Parris: 1 goal, 1 assist

How to Watch

The U.S. and England kick off at 12 PM PT on July 2. The match will air on FOX. We’ll have a separate gamethread as well.

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