England vs USA – Football Match Report – October 7, 2022

European champions England scored a rare 2-1 victory over the United States women’s World Cup holder in a friendly match at Wembley Stadium in London on Friday.

In front of a bluffing crowd of nearly 77,000, the stadium’s entertainment lived up to the hype, especially in the thrilling first half that featured three goals. Lauren Hemp and Georgia Stanway’s penalty kick gave England the goals they needed, either side of a goal from Sophia Smith who briefly scored the USA level.

There was also controversy, when the United States were denied a second equalizer before the break when the VAR ruled them out for offside in the crowd.

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“They are a great team and they have shown once again that they are very good,” USA coach Vlatko Andonovsky said after the game. “If you give them a little space, they have players who can make a difference.

“They have a great coach, who has done a very good job since she came here and I wouldn’t mind playing them in the final again.”

“It was a very strong and competitive match, as we expected,” England coach Sarina Weigman said. “We were playing to score. We haven’t won the World Cup now – it’s great to have this moment in this environment to prepare for next year’s World Cup.”

The match preparations were dominated by the release of a report earlier in the week from Sally Yates detailing systematic misconduct and misconduct in the Women’s National Football League (NWSL). Players from both teams united before kick-off in a sign of solidarity with victims of sexual assault, holding a banner that read “Protect Players” and wearing green-blue armbands.

The American players spoke of the match being a welcome distraction from a stressful few days, and once the siren sounded, the intensity on the pitch was much higher than that of a regular friendly match. This was, after all, a rematch in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup, which the Americans won, and a meeting between the teams of the United States and England in which they went 23 and 22 matches, respectively, unbeaten.

It was also an opportunity for both teams to gauge their level of preparation ahead of next year’s World Cup.

After England had already fired a warning shot, the home crowd cheered after just 10 minutes. Euro 2022 Golden Boot winner Beth Meade was the inventor who broke through the right flank and sent in a low cross. American defender Alana Cook failed to intercept the ball, slowing it down Hemp Road who had a simple six-yard end.

It was the first time the United States had fallen behind in a game since last year’s Olympic semi-final against Canada, which was also the last time the Americans had been defeated. The difference could have doubled soon as well, but this time Hemp’s shot in front of goal topped it.

However, Smith is starting to make her presence felt at the other end. With Alex Morgan absent through injury, the Portland Thorns forward has begun to center the American attacking line.

She quickly demonstrated the killer touch in front of goal that saw her score 14 times in 18 NFL games this year. Lindsey Horan Stanway robbed when England tried to play from behind and the ball fell to Smith, who immediately turned on the edge of the area before firing into the bottom corner of the net to level the score.

It didn’t take long for Stanway to make amends and go through the first half. Less than five minutes after the US raised the bar, the referee was called to review a high boot by Haley Mays, in favor of injured Emily Fox, on England’s Lucy Bronze inside the area.

A penalty was duly awarded and Stanway did nothing, sending American goalkeeper Alyssa Naher in the wrong direction.

If the USWNT was unhappy with VAR’s involvement in that instance, their frustration had compounded minutes later. The visitors thought they equalized again after a superb offensive move ended when Megan Rapinoe tossed Smith’s cross on Trinity Rodman Road, which ended at the back post. However, a long review of VAR tech ruled that Smith was a hacker in accumulating the smallest of margins even though the replay did not provide a clear view.

The drama continued early into the second half, with Bronze and Smith close to increasing scoring at both ends.

With less than 10 minutes remaining, the referee flagged the spot for a US penalty, but replays showed the ball clearly hit the back and not Hemp’s arm and the call was quickly cancelled.

Still looking for an equaliser, Andonovski turned to 17-year-old high school student Alyssa Thompson, who has become the USWNT’s youngest rookie since 2016.

But there was no further development as England recorded only their fifth victory in 19 encounters with four-time World Cup winners.

However, Wegman insists her team will not get carried away in talk of England now overtaking the United States as the best in the women’s game.

“You are the best team in the world when you won the World Cup – we didn’t,” she said. “It’s very close – there are many good states and it is tight.

“We have to keep doing that, work hard and get our plans going. You have to be a little lucky when you are in the World Cup – everyone has to be fit and available. I have seen our team grow a lot and it is good to see, but we are coming up with some things that we really need to do. its better.”

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