The semi-finals are finally upon us. And after weeks of many doubting the Americans, a couple of solid knockout round performances have them destined to defend their World Cup title. But it won’t be easy as some formidable opposition awaits. In the semis, they’ll take on a much-improved and sneakily talented side from England. The English have also been dominant in their do-or-die matches, and this game should surely produce a ton of good attacking football.
The Lionesses are fresh off dismantling a veteran-laden Norway group by a 3-0 scoreline. Jill Scott, Lucy Bronze, and Ellen White form an impressive trifecta that should be able to challenge an American defense, that still really hasn’t been tested. France tried and failed spectacularly, and you have to wonder if the U.S. depth and skill is just too much too soon for many of these emerging nations in women’s soccer.
The Americans too had a dominant outing in the quarters, easily dispatching of the hosts France. Many liked the French to knock the U.S. off their proverbial perch, but it wasn’t meant to be. The US showed their experience, specifically their legendary attacking flair, and France just couldn’t match it.
Will anybody be good enough to challenge the Americans? It would be a hefty upset, but the Lionesses of England enter in fine form to do just that. This should be an elite matchup, so read on below the posted odds for a match preview and official betting prediction for England vs. the USA.
England vs. USA Betting Odds:
Over 2.5 (+102)
Under 2.5 (-122)
England vs. USA Pick:
Friday’s win over France was the USA’s tenth straight World Cup victory. This team has historically shown up when it matters most, and you can tell that following all of their criticism about etiquette and sportsmanship – they have a clear chip on their shoulder.
Expect coach Jill Ellis to stick with the same lineup that beat France. They remain strong out wide and deadly up front. Megan Rapinoe has been an elite ball-winner, while Alex Morgan can seemingly score from anywhere or generate chances from nothing. The English will test them all over the pitch though, so it will be interesting to see what adjustments can be made. On first glance, expect Phil Neville to fight fire with fire and take a shot at attacking the Americans.
That mentality of the Lionesses can be attributed to their own attacking and scoring success. Ellen White has as many goals as the aforementioned Rapinoe and Morgan and she will surely test the U.S. backline. Her pace and ability to strike with both feet should trouble the American defenders. Beyond that, even if the English do take chances going forward and get exposed, their keeper Karen Bardsley is in elite form at the moment – having not conceded a tally since their first match of the competition vs. Scotland. England’s defensive game is stellar, and regardless of the tactics Jill Ellis chooses to employ – goals will be tough for the US in this clash.
Ultimately I predict an affair that begins quite cagey. There won’t be the early outburst from the U.S.A., and while they are the more experienced squad when it comes to these big games, the English have been in big matches before and this isn’t new for them either. They are a group that is ready for this moment and I anticipate defender Lucy Bronze having a huge role in stifling the flow of the American attack. I expect both teams to score in this match, but I foresee a draw following the first 90 minutes. There is value there and at the moment these teams are so evenly matched. While it’s tough to predict an eventual winner from penalties or extra time, I think the composure of the Americans will see things through, but it won’t be easy. Expect a tied match on the 90-minute betting line and enjoy what promises to be a thrilling affair!