KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (Oct. 3, 2023) – The U.S. Women’s Deaf National Team rode braces from Ani Khachadourian, Sophie Post, Gracie Fitzgerald and Faith Wiley, and single strikes from Holly Hunter and Emily Spreeman to earn an emphatic 10-1 semifinal win against England and advance to the final of the 2023 DIFA Women’s World Deaf Football Championship on Tuesday.
With the victory, the USDWNT will look to claim its third consecutive World Cup title when it faces Turkey in the championship match on Friday, Oct. 6 at 8:30 a.m. ET at Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium.
The USA picked up where it left off from the 4-0 win against England in the group stage, using a fourth minute goal from Sophie Post to set the tempo for the match. The Lionesses put up a fight, equalizing through a well-hit ball from Kate Bowers in the 12th minute, but the deadlock was short-lived as Post bagged her second of the match just six minutes later. Despite a bulk of possession through the end of the first half, U.S. head coach Amy Griffin’s side went into the break with just the one-goal advantage.
The slight halftime edge was short-lived as Holly Hunter’s 47th minute goal began an eight-goal, second-half onslaught. Celebrating her 21st birthday, Ani Khachadourian tallied in the 55th and 62nd minutes, Gracie Fitzgerald added her first two of the competition in the 64th and 71st, Emily Spreeman tallied her tournament-leading 12th goal in the 78th, before Faith Wiley closed the scoring with a brace of her own in the 86th and 87th minutes.
In the day’s other semifinal, Turkey defeated Poland 2-1 to become just the fourth different nation to advance to the final of the DIFA Women’s Deaf World Football Championships, joining the USA (three appearances), Russia (three appearances) and Germany (one appearance).
NEXT UP: The USDWNT will look to claim its third consecutive World Cup title when it faces Turkey in the final of the 2023 DIFA Women’s World Deaf Football Championships on Friday, Oct. 6. Kickoff of USA-Turkey is set for 8:30 a.m. ET (8:30 p.m. local) from Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium and the match will be streamed live via the Malaysia Deaf Sports Association’s YouTube Channel.
WATCH: USDWNT 10, England 1 | Oct. 3, 2023
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
USA – Sophie Post, 4th minute: The USA took just four minutes to score the opening goal, coming when Emily Spreeman beat her mark down the left and whipped in a cross looking for Ani Khachadourian. England goalkeeper Natasha Hamm came out to claim it but bobbled the cross and the ball deflected straight to Post who headed home into the empty net from just outside the six-yard box. USA 1, ENG 0
ENG – Kate Bowers (Macie White), 12th minute: The Lionesses absorbed more U.S. pressure and punished the USA after Kate Bowers intercepted a pass at midfield and quickly pushed Macie White into the attacking third with a penetrating pass. White ran into space before laying off a pass to the on-rushing Bowers who chipped in a beautiful effort from 25 yards over U.S. goalkeeper Payton DeGraw and into the back of the net. USA 1, ENG 1
USA – Sophie Post (Paige Beaudry), 18th minute: Continuing to control possession, the U.S. restored the advantage six minutes later as Kate Ward played a square ball for Paige Beaudry who advanced from the back line. Beaudry sent it forward to Post who turned and unleashed a belting, low effort that Hamm got a hand to before it tucked just inside the left upright. USA 2, ENG 1
USA – Holly Hunter (Emily Freeman), 47th minute: The U.S. began the second half with a nice bit of possession, spreading the ball around the field before finding a lane up the left. Ani Khachadourian slipped Spreeman down the flank, where she broke into the box and beat her mark before cutting back for Hunter who one-timed a right-footed effort from just inside the penalty spot. USA 3, ENG 1
USA – Ani Khachadourian (Holly Hunter), 55th minute: The USA continued to spread the ball around the field to tire the English side and scored a fourth goal when Hunter slipped a penetrating pass through the back line, putting Khachadourian in one-on-one with the ‘keeper before slotting a low effort inside the right post. USA 4, ENG 1
USA – Ani Khachadourian (Sophie Post) 62nd minute: Kate Ward gained possession in the midfield and passed to Post who made a half turn and laid it off to Khachadourian who uncorked a beautiful effort from 25 yards that hit the underside of the cross bar and went over the line. USA 5, ENG 1
USA – Gracie Fitzgerald (Ani Khachadourian), 64th minute: Mere seconds after substitute Faith Wiley entered the match, she slipped a ball to put Khachadourian in one-on-one with the ‘keeper before the attacker slid it across the box for Fitzgerald who slotted a low effort inside the right post. USA 6, ENG 1
USA – Gracie Fitzgerald (Holly Hunter), 71st minute: The U.S. built up out of the back before Ward connected a pass for Hunter at the midfield line. Hunter made a half turn and distributed to the right flank where Fitzgerald collected and dribbled into the box before putting a low strike past the ‘keeper. USA 7, ENG 1
USA – Emily Spreeman (Emma Neff), 78th minute: Emma Neff dribbled into pressure at the top of the 18-yard box and made a pass splitting the defense to find Cresswell who collected it just outside the six-yard box and calmly finished for her tournament-leading 12th goal. USA 8, ENG 1
USA – Faith Wiley (Emily Spreeman), 86th minute: Kate Ward turned in midfield and sent a long pass down the left flank to Spreeman. The lead U.S. striker dribbled at speed toward the end line and sent a cut back pass to Faith Wylie near the penalty spot who one-timed her effort past the England ‘keeper. USA 9, ENG 1
USA – Faith Wiley, 87th minute: England ‘keeper Natasha Hamm was playing high off her line and sent a pass forward that Wylie was able to intercept before looping the ball over the netminder from 25 yards out for the game’s final goal. USA 10, ENG 1 FINAL
- With the win, the USDWNT moves to 37-0-1 in 38 matches since 2005 and advances to its third-straight Women’s Deaf Football World Championship Final.
- The USDWNT is 5-0-0 at the 2023 World Championships, scoring 33 goals and conceding just two.
- The 10-1 scoreline marks the first time the team has tallied double-digit goals at the Deaf Football World Championships and third time overall. The team previously recorded an 11-0 win against Greece during the 2013 Deaflympics and a 13-0 win against Kenya in the 2021 Deaflympics.
- Ani Khachadourian and Gracie Fitzgerald's braces marked their first goals of the tournament.
- Emily Spreeman’s 78th minute goal took her tournament tally to 12 and ensures she has scored in each of the team’s five matches at the 2023 World Championships.
- After their strikes today, Sophie Post (two goals) and Holly Hunter (one goal) are tied for second on the team in scoring at the 2023 World Championships with four goals each.
- Faith Wiley registered her second and third goals of the tournament.
- U.S. WOMEN’S DEAF NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT -
Match: USA Women’s Deaf National Team vs. England
Date: October 3, 2023
Competition: 2023 DIFA Women’s Deaf World Championships - Semifinal
Venue: Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kickoff: 8:30 a.m. ET (8:30 p.m. local)
Weather: 83 degrees, clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 8 10
ENG 1 0 1
USA – Sophie Post 4th minute
ENG – Kate Bowers (Macie White) 12
USA – Sophie Post (Paige Beaudry) 18
USA – Holly Hunter (Emily Spreeman) 47
USA – Ani Khachadourian (Holly Hunter) 55
USA – Ani Khachadourian (Sophie Post) 62
USA – Gracie Fitzgerald (Ani Khachadourian) 64
USA – Gracie Fitzgerald (Holly Hunter) 71
USA – Emily Spreeman (Emma Neff) 78
USA – Faith Wiley (Emily Spreeman) 86
USA – Faith Wiley 87
USA: 21-Payton DeGraw; 17-Mia White, 11-Sydney Andrews (Capt.), 3-Paige Beaudry; 5-Gracie Fitzgerald (15-Beth Barbiers, 75), 2-Kate Ward (Capt.), 14-Paris Price (8-Erin Cembrale, 75); 24-Holly Hunter (18-Faith Wylie, 62), 9-Ani Khachadourian (4-McCall Madriago,75); 12-Sophie Post (16-Emma Neff, 75), 10-Emily Spreeman
Subs not used: 1-Taegen Frandsen, 6-Mia McMurry, 7-Sabina Shysh, 13-Ashley Derrington, 22-Nikki Kohen
Not dressed: 23-Casey King
Head Coach: Amy Griffin
ENG: 1-Natasha Hamm, 3-Georgia Jones (18-Megan Stow 85), 4-April Malin (17-Dawn Perry-Lewis, 85), 5-Claire, Stancliffe (capt.), 7-Macie White (11-Genevieve O’Hara, 53), 8-Asnath Losala, 10-Kate Bowers, 14-Ceara Toal, 15-Alexandra Bush (12-Lucy Ann Scholes, 76) 16-Keira How (9-Clodagh Farrell, 76)
Subs not used: 2-Jennifer Evans, 6-Debbie Hibbett, 13-Hollie Gascoyne, 19-Naomi Myrie, 21-Gemma Newson
Head Coach: Lauren Asquith
Stats Summary: USA / ENG
Shots: 21 / 2
SOG: 13 / 1
Saves: 0 / 3
Corner Kicks: 8 / 0
Fouls: 3 / 5
Offside: 5 / 1
USA – Paris Price (Caution) 59th minute
Referee: Nurul Ain Izaty Zainal
Assistant Referee 1: Nur Akyal Anvar
Assistant Referee 2: Muhammad Syahir Shaharvl Nizam
Fourth Official: Ricardo Scheueler