England looks to upset Team USA in just its second World Cup semifinals appearance
It's all come down to this. The semifinals of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup are upon us and the competition will be raised another level. England has reached the semifinal round for the second consecutive time (were eliminated by Japan in 2015 but won the third-place match), where they look to finally turn the corner in pursuit of their first-ever Women's World Cup trophy.
Standing in their way is red-hot Team USA, which has practically shattered records and set new standards for the game in this tournament. The Americans look to continue their march to back-to-back titles, while England looks to pull off what would certainly be the biggest upset of this event.
United States vs. England
When: Tuesday, July 2 at 3 p.m. ET
Where: Groupama Stadium (Decines-Charpieu, France)
TV: FOX and Telemundo
Three Things to Watch
1. Is Team USA slowing down?
That's the question being asked as their last couple of opponents nearly figured them out. After sweeping through Group F by outscoring their opposition 18-0, they just managed to squeak by both Spain and France by a combined score of 4-2. Megan Rapinoe has been responsible for all four goals in these knockout rounds, two of which were late second-half strikes, and the other two came via converted penalty kicks. The tougher European competition has proven that Team USA isn't fully invincible and that's something that England will look to capitalize on.
2. England has been on a roll
They outscored the other competitors within Group D (Japan, Argentina, Scotland) 5-1, then proceeded to eliminate both Cameroon and Norway in the knockout stages by a combined score of 6-0. Forward Ellen White is responsible for five of her team's 11 goals and she's looking to find the back of the net against the Americans. Her success will go a long way in deciding whether or not England finally plays for the championship, or must once again contend for third place. This could be a historic moment for "The Three Lionesses."
This will be the 11th all-time meeting between these ladies with Team USA sporting the winning record of 6-2-2, and outscoring England 19-6. After defeating Spain and France, the United States Women's National Soccer Team (USWNT) is now 137-20-22 (with 441 goals scored) against European teams. Team USA's unbeaten streak also is at 36 games (32-0-4). England last defeated the United States in a friendly back in 2017 (1-0 was the score).
While Team USA's scoring output has decreased, they're still very effective on offense. They've also kept it together on defense and they still have the overall talent and depth advantage. England does make the U.S. sweat in this game, but Team USA prevails in a tight one and earns their shot at another World Cup title.
Prediction: United States 3, England 2
— Gabe Salgado is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He's a co-host of The Rewind Sports: 60. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.