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United States beats England 2-1: Advances to World Cup final

On Tuesday, the United States became the first team to qualify for the final of the 2019 Women's World Cup, beating England 2-1. Alex Morgan scored the winner, celebrating her 30th birthday in style.

The defending champions took a deserved lead through Christen Press after a flying start, but Ellen White hit back, tying things up after 19 minutes. Morgan restored the lead just past the half-hour mark with a strong header. White had a goal ruled out by the video assistant for a narrow offside call after the break, and Stephanie Houghton missed a penalty.

It is the third straight trip to the World Cup final for the United States, which lost to Japan in a penalty kick shootout in 2011 and then routed the Japanese four years ago in a rematch in Canada. The United States can claim its record fourth title, and second in a row, with a victory on Sunday. The opponent will be the Netherlands or Sweden, who meet in the second semifinal on Wednesday.

England, a rising power in women’s soccer, was a game and dangerous opponent on a sweltering night in central France. Ellen White matched Press’s goal by turning in a pinpoint cross to pull her team even in the first half, and then had an apparent goal disallowed by video review in the 68th minute.

White, dangerous all night, then won a penalty about 10 minutes later — a decision affirmed, this time, after a video review showed the American defender Becky Sauerbrunn accidentally clipping her heel as she shot — but her teammate Steph Houghton had her spot kick saved by Naeher, who read it perfectly and smothered it as she dove to her right.

From there, the United States took no chances and locked the game down. An extra defender was inserted in the back line, fresh substitutes were brought on and England was reduced to 10 players by defender Millie Bright’s ejection for her second yellow card.

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