The USA and England have met 16 times spanning back to 1985. Fast forward to the modern era, and the last five meetings between the two have resulted in tight affairs, with three wins for the USA, one for England and one draw. Here are five things to know about the Lionesses:
England Women’s World Cup Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), 21-Mary Earps (Wolfsburg, GER), 13-Carly Telford (Chelsea)
DEFENDERS (8): 2-Lucy Bronze (Olympique Lyon, FRA), 3-Alex Greenwood (Manchester United), 5-Steph Houghton (Manchester City), 6-Millie Bright (Chelsea), 12-Demi Stokes (Manchester City), 14-Leah Williamson (Arsenal), 15-Abbie McManus (McManus), 17-Rachel Daly (Houston Dash, USA)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 4-Keira Walsh (Manchester City), 8-Jill Scott (Manchester City), 16-Jade Moore (Reading), 19-Georgia Stanway (Manchester City), 20-Karen Carney (Chelsea), 23-Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham City)
FORWARDS (6): 11-Toni Duggan (Barcelona, ESP), 22-Beth Mead (Arsenal), 7-Nikita Parris (Manchester City), 9-Jodie Taylor (Reign FC, USA), 18-Ellen White (Birmingham City), 10-Fran Kirby (Chelsea)
Neville at the Helm
The 2018 SheBelieves Cup marked the debut of England head coach Phil Neville, the former Manchester United and Everton star and England National Team defender. Neville played more than 500 games over 20 years in the Premier League, a little more than half for Manchester United and the rest for Everton. He earned almost 60 caps for England from 1996-07. He previously was an asst. coach with the men’s professional sides at Manchester United and Valencia.
Breaking Down the England Roster
England has some extremely experienced players and is one of the most veteran teams in the world. Goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, who grew up in Orange County, Calif., played club for the SoCal Blues and attended Cal State Fullerton, has 81 caps. Usual captain and central defender Steph Houghton has 110 caps with 13 goals while winger Karen Carney is on 143 caps with 32 goals, which is the most international scores on the squad, but she has seen little action in this tournament. England has a deep and dangerous forward line, with Ellen White (86 caps/33 goals), Toni Duggan (75/22), Jodie Taylor (45/18) and Nikita Paris (39/13). The defensive also includes former UNC Tar Heel Lucy Bronze, who has 73 caps and eight goals.
How They Got to the Semifinal
England got off to a bit a slow start, but still won Group D handily with a 2-1 victory against Scotland, a 1-0 victory against Argentina and a 2-0 win vs. Japan. The Lionesses amped up their play in the knockout rounds, registering two straight 3-0 wins – over Cameroon and Norway – with forward Ellen White leading the way. She has scored in four of the five matches so far and is tied for the World Cup lead with five goals. No other player has scored more than one, with single tallies from Nikita Parris (against Scotland), Jodie Taylor (against Argentina), Steph Houghton (against Cameroon), Alex Greenwood (also Cameroon), Jill Scott (against Norway) and Lucy Bronze (against Norway). England has not given up a goal since the first match of the tournament.
NWSL Ties for Lionesses
England has two NWSL players on the roster in Rachel Daly of the Houston Dash, long an attacking player who has switched to defender for her country, and forward Jodie Taylor of Reign FC. Taylor, who returned to the league in 2018 after playing with the Washington Spirit and the Portland Thorns over 2014-15 (when she scored 14 goals between the clubs), scored the opening goal against Canada in the 2015 Women’s World Cup quarterfinal. Taylor scored nine goals with one assist for the Reign last season. Daly led the Dash with 10 goals.
England set some high expectations when it finished third at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, beating Germany 1-0 AET in the consolation match. England finished second behind France in Group F, but then beat Norway 2-1 in the Round of 16, host Canada 2-1 in the quarterfinal, and then barely lost to Japan, 2-1, in the semifinal after an unfortunate late own goal.