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England Women vs USA Women. Women's World Cup Semi-Final.

Stade des LumieresAttendance53,512.

England Women 1

  • E White (19th minute)
  • M Bright (sent off 86th minute)

USA Women 2

  • C Press (10th minute)
  • A Morgan (31st minute)

England Women vs USA Women preview: Lionesses aiming for first Women's World Cup final

Follow England vs the USA with our live blog on skysports.com and the Sky Sports app; Kick-off at 8pm on Tuesday

England Women captain Steph Houghton and USA Women captain Megan Rapinoe
Image: Steph Houghton and Megan Rapinoe will lead their respective sides out on Tuesday

England will be aiming to reach their first ever Women's World Cup final on Tuesday, but they must first beat current holders, the USA.

The Lionesses have reached two consecutive semi-finals at the tournament, but will be looking to go one better than 2015 and book their place in Sunday's showpiece final.

They beat Norway 3-0 in their quarter-final last week and would be the first England team to reach a major international final since 1966. The good news is that manager Phil Neville has a fully fit squad to choose from.

However, a very big task stands in their way. The USA are ranked number one in the world and are the reigning Women's World Cup champions, with an ominous 22 goals scored so far - although 13 of these came against Thailand in their historic opening game.

Jill Ellis' side were 2-1 winners against hosts France in their quarter-final, with the winner of Tuesday's game set to play either the Netherlands or Sweden in the Lyon final. The losers of both ties will play in Saturday's third-place play-off in Nice.

The race for the Golden Boot

Heading into the semi-final, it is a three-way tie for the Golden Boot and the trio are likely to feature on Tuesday. Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Ellen White have all scored five times in France, with two games to play.

Neville not worried about USA

England Women manager Neville is not worried about the threat defending champions USA may pose ahead of their World Cup semi-final.

"The US are the best team in the world, their record is phenomenal, their coach's record is phenomenal, but I never worry about anything or the opposition," he said.

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Phil Neville only cares about winning ahead of England Women's World Cup semi-final encounter with defending champions USA

"We concentrate a lot on what we can do and how we can try to win a game. Our strengths, our values and our style of play and the way we want to play is the most important thing.

"We want to play a certain style in a World Cup semi-final - with the freedom and expression we have had the past five games."

Smith: Fine margins in semis

England's record goalscorer Kelly Smith says Tuesday's semi-final will be decided by 'fine margins' and despite wanting an England win, believes the USA will edge the contest.

She told the Women's World Cup podcast: "It is fine margins at this stage. I think both teams have a lot of respect for each other. I don't think USA have had that in the past with England but things have evolved with the SheBelieves Cup and England's experiences of playing elite games. England don't fear the US any more and I think that will be massive for them on the night.

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England captain Steph Houghton described the current World Cup as the best ever and is expecting a sell out in Tuesday's semi-final against the USA

"I think the US have a slight edge with the experience that they have. My heart wants to say England but my head thinks that the US are just too strong on all fronts with the depth that they have coming off the bench. I don't want them to win it but I think they will just edge it.

"It would change the face of women's football in this country if they could come back with that trophy. It would be the ultimate. So many people's perceptions have been changed. It seems that the whole country is very supportive of the Lionesses. We have never really had that feeling before."

The Key Battle: Bronze vs Rapinoe

The stars of their respective quarter-finals, Lucy Bronze and Megan Rapinoe will go head-to-head in Lyon as the England defender looks to keep the USA co-captain from adding to her five goals already in the tournament.

The current Women's World Cup holders have beaten Spain and France 2-1 in their knockout games so far and it is Rapinoe - who felt the wrath of President Donald Trump last week - who scored all four USA goals.

Lucy Bronze and Megan Rapinoe will be a focal point of Tuesday's game
Image: Lucy Bronze and Megan Rapinoe will be a focal point of Tuesday's game

But she will arguably face a different prospect in Bronze, who Neville has tipped for the Ballon d'Or. The defender was key to England's progression in the quarter-finals and topped her performance off with a sensational goal.

Speaking about the duel, Neville said: "If you look at the left-hand side of the USA and the right-hand side of England, I don't think you'll get a better left and right in women's football. Megan is someone from day one that I have really admired. I like her individuality, on and off the pitch. She is world class."

It will be an enthralling encounter between these two extraordinary talents and their battle will be vital in deciding the eventual finalists.

Ellis' England connection

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USA coach Jill Ellis says it was just a case of 'planning and preparation' rather than arrogance after it emerged they have scoped out England's hotel for the Women's World Cup final

USA Women manager Ellis was born in Portsmouth and lived in England until the age of 15 before moving to Virginia.

She identifies her nationality as American and there have been plenty of questions about facing her home country in the semi-finals, but Ellis will not let her British connections play a part.

"I'm an American except when I'm in the supermarket or at the candy store," she told a press conference.

"I grew up playing with boys in the schoolyard and my brother in the backyard. I had zero opportunity to play over here [in Europe] so that is what America gave me, an environment to put on my first team uniform in terms of soccer. I always loved sport, so it gave me a vehicle to experience it even more.

England vs USA in numbers

  • 10 - The USA have won their last ten Women's World Cup games.
  • 1 - England are aiming to reach their first ever Women's World Cup final.
  • 5 - In contrast, the USA could make a record fifth Women's World Cup final.
  • 57,900 - The capacity of the Stade de Lyon for Tuesday's game.

"I have a lot of fond memories of my life in England. I was a Pompey lass - I can't say I supported Pompey all the time. I have been a Man United lass since I was seven. But so many fond memories, great people, I spent many a summer in Edinburgh so my whole British culture growing up is still with me for sure.

"I am very grateful for that, because if I had grown up in another country, I am not sure I would have the passion for football that I have. What America gave me was kind of a dream and the opportunity and ability to follow that path, which I really had never dreamed about. I just feel very fortunate to be here."

Will 'spy gate' have an effect?

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Sky Sports News' Jessica Creighton explains the hotel row that has erupted ahead of England Women's World Cup semi-final with the USA

There has been a touch of drama ahead of Tuesday's big game, with members of the USA's backroom staff caught in the private areas of England's team hotel over the weekend.

It is reported that none of the delegates were wearing official identification as they looked to scout out the Fourviere Hotel for the USA team, who could move there ahead of the final should they beat England.

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The FA’s head of women’s football Baroness Sue Campbell says England will aim to adopt the USA’s winning mentality in Tuesday’s World Cup semi-final

The Lionesses were training away from the hotel and no sensitive information was left lying around, with the incident appearing to be a psychological play rather than tactical.

Speaking about the incident, Neville said: "It's not a concern, but it's not something I would want my team's operations doing. England would not do it. I am happy with our hotel and we were out training. I hope they enjoyed our hotel. It is not something we would do, send somebody round, but it is their problem.

"It'll have no bearing on the game, to be honest I found it funny. I thought 'What are they doing?'. It is not the correct etiquette, that's not something I would allow from our organisation."

The last meeting: SheBelieves draw

USA Women vs England Women at the 2019 SheBelieves Cup
Image: USA Women vs England Women at the 2019 SheBelieves Cup

Tuesday's semi-final will be the second time England and the USA have played each other this year, having met in March during the SheBelieves Cup.

It was an entertaining 2-2 draw in Nashville, Tennessee, with Rapinoe's 33rd-minute opener quickly cancelled out by England captain Steph Houghton.

Nikita Parris then put England ahead seven minutes after the break, but Tobin Heath equalised 15 minutes later to see the points shared. England went on to lift the trophy after winning their other two games, while the USA lost their title as they finished as runners-up.

Opta stats

  • England and USA have faced just once previously in the Women's World Cup - USA winning 3-0 in the quarter-finals of the 2007 edition.
  • USA have lost just one of their last five international matches against England (W3 D1 L1), with the most recent encounter between the two countries ending 2-2 in the SheBelieves Cup in March.
  • England are in the semi-finals of the Women's World Cup for the second successive edition (2015); they had never reached the final four in the competition before this. The Lionesses lost 2-1 to Japan in 2015, conceding in the 92nd minute via a Laura Bassett own goal.
  • USA have reached the semi-final stage in all eight of their Women's World Cup tournaments, progressing to the final on four occasions, including each of the last two (2011 and 2015).
  • Ellen White is England's outright record goalscorer at the Women's World Cup (six goals); she needs just one more goal to be outright fifth in the all-time scoring charts for the Lionesses (currently 33 goals).
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