We’re almost at the finish line. The Final this weekend looms menacingly. The threads of fate for the four remaining teams are about to be measured and cut. And... so forth.
Today is the first of two semifinals, with arguably the biggest match-up of the round kicking off this afternoon. England take on the United States for a place in the Final.
The Lionesses head into this game with something to prove. England have been on an steady upward trajectory over the past decade— and they have the competitive record to show for it. Their third place finish in the 2015 World Cup, as well as their semifinal appearance in the 2017 Women’s Euros, have only made them hungry for more. Their win in this year’s edition of the SheBelieves Cup served as a statement of intent— they want a title, and they’re ready to take on all comers to get it.
That means going through the best team in the world.
After a strong showing in the group stages, the USWNT have looked a bit off in the knockout rounds. Their performance against Spain in the Round of 16 was shaky, so much so that they needed two penalty calls to advance. Their win over hosts France in the quarterfinals came down to individual brilliance— namely, Megan Rapinoe, hero to gays everywhere, who scored a brace to power the Americans into the semifinals. They won’t be able to coast through this semifinal; England are too strong, too solid, and too motivated. The US will need a gear shift to stay on the path to their fourth star.
Prediction: England will give a good scare, and may even lead for part of the match. But the fact of the matter is, the USWNT have world class players at every single position, and their bench is so strong it should really be illegal. The Americans will find a way to win. It may not be pretty. It may not inspire confidence heading into the Final. But they’ll get the job done.
ENG 2-3 USA a.e.t
How do you think the game will shake out? Let us know in the comments below!