/Alex Morgan Scores as USA Beat England to Qualify for Womens World Cup Final

Alex Morgan Scores as USA Beat England to Qualify for Womens World Cup Final

LYON, FRANCE - JULY 2: (L-R) Rose Lavelle of USA Women, Alex Morgan of USA Women celebrate 1-2 during the  World Cup Women  match between England  v USA  at the Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon France (Photo by Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Soccrates Images/Getty Images

The United States became the first team to qualify for the final of the 2019 Women’s World Cup on Tuesday, beating England 2-1. Alex Morgan scored the winner, celebrating her 30th birthday in style.

The defending champions took a deserved lead through Christen Press after a flying start, but Ellen White hit back, tying things up after 19 minutes. Morgan restored the lead just past the half-hour mark with a strong header. White had a goal ruled out by the video assistant for a narrow offside call after the break, and Stephanie Houghton missed a penalty.

The Stars and Stripes are the defending champions and most successful team in the competition, with three titles already. They could become the second team ever to win back-to-back world titles, after Germany did so in 2003 and 2007.

The USA will face Sweden or European champions the Netherlands in the final. Those teams will be in action on Wednesday.

The Stars and Stripes made a bright start to the contest, and backup England goalkeeper Carly Telford was put to work early, as Rose Lavelle cut inside before blasting a shot right at her.

The defending champions were all over England, and it yielded results after just 10 minutes. Lucy Bronze completely missed Press in the box, and she nodded home a sharp cross from Kelley O’Hara.

Sportswriter Ryan Bailey was not impressed by the defending of the Lionesses:

But England started seeing more of the ball, and while chances were rare, their momentum grew. Lavelle blasted a shot over the bar before White bagged the equaliser on the other end of the pitch, courtesy of an excellent pass from Beth Mead.

Both goals were well taken, according to sports writer Steve O’Rourke:

Telford made a good save to deny Lavelle, who proved a real nuisance for the English defence, and Becky Sauerbrunn nearly put the ball into her own net when her poor clearance only just went wide.

The Americans regained the lead just past the half-hour mark when Lindsey Horan spotted the smart run from Morgan, and the forward headed home from close range.

She took no prisoners with her celebration:

Alyssa Naeher made her first big save to deny Keira Walsh, before an entertaining first half came to a close.

White had the first chance of the second half, piking a shot straight at Naeher, and Morgan perhaps should have turned a gift from Telford into a second goal, shooting wide after the goalkeeper’s horrendous pass.

White thought she had equalised yet again after 67 minutes, but VAR intervened, ruling the goal out for offside: 

Houghton spurned a golden opportunity to tie things up after 84 minutes, when VAR awarded England a penalty after White was clipped just as she was about to connect with a cross. Naeher guessed the right way, however, making a key save.

Millie Bright was sent off for a second bookable offence late on, making the USA’s bid to see out the contest a lot easier.

      

What’s Next?

The third-place play-off will take place on Saturday, while the final will be on Sunday.