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USA 2-0 England: Lionesses beaten in their SheBelieves Cup opener

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SheBelieves Cup 2020
Dates: 5-11 March Venues: Exploria Stadium (Orlando, Florida), Red Bull Arena (New Jersey), Toyota Stadium (Frisco, Texas)
Coverage: TV coverage of every England game on BBC Two/BBC Four and BBC iPlayer. Live text coverage on the BBC website.

England's defence of their SheBelieves Cup title got off to a disappointing start as two quick second-half goals condemned them to defeat against world champions the United States in Orlando.

It was a sixth defeat in nine games for Phil Neville's side, who have struggled for form since losing to the USA in the World Cup semi-finals.

Christen Press's superb long-range curler put the hosts ahead shortly after half-time and Carli Lloyd made it 2-0 two minutes later.

Midfielder Julie Ertz also had a goal ruled out for offside late in the second half as the USA went on to dominate.

The World Cup winners had numerous chances - Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle were denied in the first half - while England's Nikita Parris was offside when she had a close-range header saved.

England face Japan, ranked 10th in the world, in their next match at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey on Sunday, 8 March (19:00 GMT kick-off), before playing Spain in the final match of the round-robin event.

Earlier on Thursday, tournament debutants Spain beat Japan 3-1 at the Exploria Stadium thanks to two second-half goals from 21-year-old Lucia Garcia.

Garcia rounded the keeper for both goals after Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas and Japan's Mana Iwabuchi had scored in the first half.

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Caught out at the back

Neville made five changes to the starting line-up that narrowly won 3-2 in the Czech Republic and was without injured right-back Lucy Bronze.

Arsenal defender Leah Williamson - naturally a central defender - was drafted in in her place and alongside Steph Houghton, Millie Bright and Alex Greenwood struggled to deal with the runs in behind from the USA's forwards.

Lloyd exploited the space between the centre-backs on several occasions in the first half, failing to capitalise before eventually putting away her chance to make it 2-0.

Greenwood struggled at left-back and Tobin Heath was a constant source of danger for the USA out wide - putting in crosses and getting on the wrong side of the Lyon defender.

Heath set up Lloyd in the first half but the striker's first-time shot was straight at Carly Telford, who had a busy evening in goal for England.

Telford had to be alert to palm away a long-range strike from Lavelle in the first half, before blocking Horan's run after she had managed to squeeze through the two centre-backs.

There was nothing Telford could do about Press's curling opener though - she was allowed to turn under little pressure as England's failure to close down the space was punished.

The USA went on to dominate the second half and though England had a few half chances - a dangerous flick-on from Lauren Hemp in the first half that Jill Scott flicked over - they were comfortably second best against the world champions, who have not conceded a single goal since the tournament in France last summer.

'Huge' rivalry underwhelms

Before this tournament Neville said England's aim was to "overtake the USA" as the best team in the world.

But the Lionesses played like a team ranked five places lower - though they were forced to field a weaker team due to injuries to key players Bronze and Beth Mead.

It was a battle being sold as one of the biggest rivalries in women's football and Ballon d'Or winner Megan Rapinoe said the occasion would be "huge."

The USA fans certainly did their best to build an atmosphere before kick-off - chanting, banging drums and roaring loudly when their team came out to warm-up, as well as enjoying the fireworks after the national anthems were played.

The 16,000 in attendance were treated to some exciting football from the USA. Rapinoe delivered bursts of quality when she came on as a second-half substitute as England were penned into their half for much of the final 30 minutes.

But all-in-all it was an underwhelming contest in comparison to their meeting at the World Cup eight months ago as England looked second best in all areas of the pitch.

Line-ups

USA

  • 1Naeher
  • 5O'Hara
  • 7Dahlkemper
  • 4Sauerbrunn
  • 19Dunn
  • 16LavelleSubstituted forMewisat 70'minutes
  • 8Ertz
  • 9Horan
  • 17HeathSubstituted forWilliamsat 70'minutes
  • 10LloydSubstituted forMcDonaldat 90'minutes
  • 23PressSubstituted forRapinoeat 62'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Pugh
  • 3Mewis
  • 6Sullivan
  • 11Krieger
  • 12Davidson
  • 13Williams
  • 14Sonnett
  • 15Rapinoe
  • 18Harris
  • 20Short
  • 21Franch
  • 22McDonald

England

  • 1Telford
  • 14Williamson
  • 5Houghton
  • 6Bright
  • 3Greenwood
  • 4Walsh
  • 7ParrisSubstituted forKellyat 89'minutes
  • 8ScottSubstituted forNobbsat 65'minutes
  • 16StanwaySubstituted forDugganat 71'minutes
  • 20Hemp
  • 18WhiteSubstituted forEnglandat 78'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Daly
  • 9England
  • 10Nobbs
  • 11Duggan
  • 12Stokes
  • 13Roebuck
  • 15McManus
  • 17Staniforth
  • 19Russo
  • 21MacIver
  • 22Kelly
  • 23Fisk
Referee:
Odette Hamilton

Match Stats

Home TeamUSAAway TeamEngland
Possession
Home49%
Away51%
Shots
Home23
Away8
Shots on Target
Home6
Away3
Corners
Home8
Away6
Fouls
Home8
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, USA 2, England 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, USA 2, England 0.

Attempt missed. Samantha Mewis (USA) header from very close range misses to the right. Assisted by Kelley O'Hara with a cross following a corner.

Corner, USA. Conceded by Keira Walsh.

Attempt blocked. Leah Williamson (England) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jordan Nobbs.

Substitution

Substitution, USA. Jessica McDonald replaces Carli Lloyd.

Substitution

Substitution, England. Chloe Kelly replaces Nikita Parris.

Hand ball by Lynn Williams (USA).

Corner, USA. Conceded by Stephanie Houghton.

Attempt missed. Megan Rapinoe (USA) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Attempt missed. Beth England (England) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Jordan Nobbs with a cross.

Corner, England. Conceded by Lindsey Horan.

Offside, USA. Alyssa Naeher tries a through ball, but Carli Lloyd is caught offside.

Offside, USA. Carli Lloyd tries a through ball, but Julie Ertz is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, England. Beth England replaces Ellen White.

Toni Duggan (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Samantha Mewis (USA).

Attempt missed. Julie Ertz (USA) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Attempt missed. Megan Rapinoe (USA) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left from a direct free kick.

Hand ball by Lauren Hemp (England).

Offside, USA. Samantha Mewis tries a through ball, but Megan Rapinoe is caught offside.

Foul by Millie Bright (England).

Carli Lloyd (USA) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Carli Lloyd (USA) left footed shot from the left side of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Lynn Williams.

Substitution

Substitution, England. Toni Duggan replaces Georgia Stanway.

Attempt missed. Lindsey Horan (USA) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Lynn Williams.

Attempt missed. Julie Ertz (USA) header from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Megan Rapinoe with a cross following a corner.

Substitution

Substitution, USA. Samantha Mewis replaces Rose Lavelle because of an injury.

Substitution

Substitution, USA. Lynn Williams replaces Tobin Heath.

Corner, USA. Conceded by Alex Greenwood.

Attempt blocked. Tobin Heath (USA) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Megan Rapinoe.

Foul by Ellen White (England).

Julie Ertz (USA) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, England. Conceded by Becky Sauerbrunn.

Corner, England. Conceded by Rose Lavelle.

Substitution

Substitution, England. Jordan Nobbs replaces Jill Scott.

Substitution

Substitution, USA. Megan Rapinoe replaces Christen Press.

Georgia Stanway (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lindsey Horan (USA).

Jill Scott (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

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