‘America has got that ruthless streak': US faces off against England in Women's World Cup semifinals
LYON, France - The United States Women's National Team continues its march toward a fourth World Cup title when the team faces England in the 2019 Women's World Cup semifinals.
Tuesday's match in Lyon will put third-ranked England against the defending champions with a "ruthless streak," according to England coach Phil Neville. The U.S. is the only nation to have made it to all eight semifinals of the Women's World Cup and has three overall titles — more than any other country.
"America has got that ruthless streak of wanting to win," Neville said. "You saw the last five minutes of the (quarterfinal) game against France. The game management was fantastic. They took the ball into the corner, they knew what it took to win, and they celebrated like winners. That's what I admire, and that's what my team has now. It's about winning."
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The winner will go on to the finals, facing the winner of the other semifinal Wednesday between Sweden and the Netherlands.
England has never made it to the final at the World Cup. The Lionesses fell to Japan four years ago in the semifinals in Canada before going on to defeat Germany in the third-place match for the team's best tournament finish.
Neville said that's not good enough.
"My players now want to win," he said. "If we don't get the right result, we'll feel the disappointment and we'll see that as a failure. That's not me being negative, that's just our expectations, and our belief and our confidence and our mindset."
WATCH LIVE: Click here to watch the England vs. USA semifinal live on FOX Sports
The Lionesses head into the U.S. game with four straight shutouts in France, including a 3-0 quarterfinal victory over Norway with goals from Jill Scott, Ellen White and Lucy Bronze.
White, as well as Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, has five goals each in the tournament to lead the field for the Golden Boot, an award given to the top goalscorer of the FIFA World Cup.
Australia's Sam Kerr also scored five, but the team was eliminated in the round of 16.
Rapinoe, the U.S. team co-captain, scored twice in a 2-1 victory over Spain in the round of 16 before another two goals in the 2-1 quarterfinal victory over France. The performance in Paris on Friday night came as Rapinoe was embroiled in controversy over a video that surfaced of her saying she wouldn't visit the White House if the Americans win the World Cup. President Donald Trump subsequently called her out on Twitter.
Trump appeared to reference the magazine's video, tweeting: "Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team."
Trump said he would invite the U.S. team "win or lose."
During the quarterfinal, France peppered goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher with shots and the U.S. settled into a five-man backfield, something French coach Corinne Diacre said she'd never seen the top-ranked Americans do before.
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Christen Press said being able to shift from the team's normally aggressive attack to a more defensive stand is part of what makes the team ruthless.
"I would characterize it as optimism that we're going to win. But there is a ruthlessness to this team. And that's win at all costs," Press said. "That means tactically adapt in a way that we never have in four years. And you have to do that to win... It's incredible that we could change and still be so solid."
In total, the United States is 10-4-2 against England, according to U.S. Soccer. Out of the last five matches between the teams, four were 1-0 results with the U.S. winning three, England one, and a 2-2 draw earlier this year at the 2019 SheBelieves Cup.
The United States and England have met just once before in the World Cup, a 3-0 U.S. win in the 2007 quarterfinals.
The Americans have been called brash and confident at this World Cup, from a 13-0 victory over Thailand in the opener, to a shutout of nemesis Sweden to close the group stage, and finally to Rapinoe's raised arms in the victory over France. Neville added ruthless to the list.
Naeher explained that it's just a part of the team's DNA.
"That's the root of the U.S. Women's National Team, from back to the teams from 20 years ago," she said. "And that's always been the U.S. mentality and that's something that every veteran player has instilled in all the new players as we've come in. It's now our job to carry that through."
Watch the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup on FOX from June 7 through July 7.
This story was reported from Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed.