England 1-0 USA: Lionesses leave it late to cause mighty upset

England 1-0 USA: Lionesses leave it late to cause mighty upset

England faced USA in an exciting match that ended with Ellen White grabbing a late goal to allow the Lionesses to grab the all important three points.

Rosie Filby
EnglandChamberlain, Bronze, Houghton, Bassett, Nobbs (Moore, 92), Stokes, F.Williams, Carney (J. Scott, 63), Christiansen (Bright, 91), Duggan (White, 75), Parris (Taylor, 77)
USAHarris, Sauerbrunn, Johnston, Krieger, Dunn (Williams, 63), Mewis, Horan (Brian, 75), Lavelle, Lloyd (Heath, 75), Pugh (Long, 75), Morgan (Press, 63)

England produced an impressive display to beat the world champions USA in a dramatic finish, in which the Americans will be extremely disappointed they gained nothing from the match.

With USA dominating the majority of proceedings, the Lionesses managed to give them a run for their money as they were able to create and prevent opportunities.

Substitute Ellen White scored a dramatic late winner which sees the tables being turned compared to their opening fixture in the tournament.

One year on

On this match day, exactly a year ago, was the last time the two sides played each other which was also in the SheBelieves Cup. Crystal Dunn's second-half goal proved to be the difference, as it was enough to beat the Lionesses, as the USA were victorious in the 2016 round-robin tournament. 

USA held Germany to a goalless draw in their opening game of this year's tournament, whilst England had heartbreak as their first-half goal was forgotten about all as a result of a last-minute winner from Wendie Renard for the French. Both teams will want to prove international status and gain the three points in the final matches which take place next Tuesday.

Mark Sampson had been widely criticised for his decision not to include FA Women's Super League top goalscorer Eniola Aluko in his squad for the competition, however the manager put his faith in Manchester City forward Toni Duggan in this game to make her first start in the tournament. In addition, Sampson also made a formation change as England started in a 4-4-2.

Rose Lavelle made her debut for USA as Jill Ellis showed full faith in the youngster. They showed little respect of England as they played with a three at the back in a formation based on attacking emphasis.

End-to-end chances

The opening five minutes of the match saw a lively start from England with a confident display as they had the majority of possession. However it was't long before the USA looked dangerous. Lavelle had an early chance in the sixth minute as her mis-hit cross landed on the roof of the net to the the youngsters disappointment.  

USA slowly but surely grew in confidence as the created some good opportunities. A fantastic run from 18 year-old Mallory Pugh resulted in nothing, as her cross trickled across the box which was cleared away from England's defence.

Lucy Bronze's looping ball into the box wasn't enough to challenge Orlando Pride's Ashlyn Harris in goal. However, this chance was followed by an opportunity for USA - Siobhan Chamberlain saving Lavelles' powerful shot from close range. Straight after there was a Nikitta Parris chance, as she dribbled the ball all the way into USA's half, however the cross that was produced didn't result in any real danger.

Arguably, in the 20th minute USA had a good case for a penalty as Laura Bassett took out Carli Lloyd in the box, but the referee saw no problem with the challenge as play carried on.

Momentum shift

Jill Ellis' side started to gain momentum as they looked the better of the two sides. Mallory Pugh looked particularly dangerous, with her cross into the back post almost causing England a scare.

As expected, USA showed their class with some impressive comfortable possession. Despite the shaky defensive start, England's back line looked more solid and organised as they saved Chamberlain from springing into action on many occasions.

England had their best chance of the game in the 31st minute. A free-kick that floated into the box created a chance for Nikitta Parris after her fabulous first touch took her into a good goal-scoring position. However, Ashlyn Harris was quick to notice the danger as she ran off her line to make a great save to deny England taking the lead.

The game seemed to not have a pause button with more chances occurring for both sides in an edge-of-the seat atmosphere. The quality of football was high with an extremely entertaining performance that involved goal-scoring chances, great saves and fluent play.

Chelsea player Crystal Dunn caused England a worry as she produced an exciting attacking display. Her shot near to the end of the first half had no real power, consequently Chamberlain picked up with no problem. 











Late shock for the USA

The second half started with a string of chances for the Americans that put England in defence mode. Stephanie Houghton showed her class as she impressively cut out a ball which was going into the feet of lethal goal-scorer Alex Morgan

Lavelle's youthful and lively performance continued into the half, her neat footwork took her past a cluster of England players but saw her shot sail just over the bar to the delight of Chamberlain.

USA had more opportunities as they looked the more deadly side in the second half. England struggled to keep up with USA's midfield as they were given way too much time and space with more dangerous shots being taken which mounted the pressure on the Lionesses.

Lavelle was the creator once again with her low-hit cross catching even her own players by surprise as there was almost no movement from her fellow players.

Lynn Williams made an instant impact after she was substituted on for Dunn. Williams' pace was too much for Demi Stokes down the right flank but her cross resulted in nothing. Tobin Heath's impressive footwork caused danger but in the opposite flank this time round with Bronze having to keep an eye on her at all costs.

The winner

Fatigue appeared to settle in deep into the latter stages of the second half with both teams looking slightly lethargic compared to their upbeat first half display. England's defence matched that of USA's attack, resulting in an even display.

Memories of the England's opening game must've crept into their minds as USA created some late chances which were all cleared to the relive of the Lionesses.

Yet England weren't going to settle - a corner in the dying minutes of the game resulted in a reversal of fortunes as Ellen White followed up from a Bronze strike that rattled in off the crossbar to gain a momentous three points against the world champions.

The USA will be more than disappointed that they weren't able to get anything from the game, however credit is due to England. Their game management seemed to be much improved compared to their opening game, which Sampson will be happy with. The pressure is on USA to perform. England will be ecstatic with the result, which begs the question, can they win the tournament?