Alex Morgan out, Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe in for tonight’s game in Nashville

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After suffering an ankle injury Saturday night in Jacksonville, Alex Morgan will miss tonight’s U.S. Women’s National Team game in Nashville, the second of a two-match series against visiting Scotland. The U.S.’s goal-scoring star was left out of head coach Tom Sermanni’s 18-woman team announced by U.S. Soccer last night.

Morgan’s left ankle was injured just before halftime of Saturday’s 3-1 win in a tackle with Scottish midfielder Jo Love. The 23-year-old immediately went down, was carried from the field by two members of U.S. Soccer’s training staff, and was replaced by Sydney Leroux.

According to U.S. Soccer, Morgan was able to train on Monday and Tuesday but is being withheld from the team for precautionary reasons.

Morgan’s absence will be balanced by the return of three regular starters, with three other camp invitees set to see their first game action under the new U.S. coach.

Hope Solo, who missed the match in Jacksonville with a slight calf strain, returns to the team. The team’s first choice goalkeeper likely starts ahead of Saturday’s No. 1, Jill Loyden. Nicole Barnhart, who played the second half of on Saturday, misses today’s 18.

Rachel Buehler and Megan Rapinoe missed Saturday’s game after being late arrivals to the Jacksonville camp. Rapinoe is returning from her duties with European champions Olympique Lyonnais while Buehler missed the start of camp for personal reasons. Both players, regular starters under Pia Sundhage, make Sermanni’s Nashville squad.

Defenders Crystal Dunn and Whitney Engen along with midfielder Lori Lindsey failed to make Saturday’s team but have been handed spots for tonight’s match at LP Field. Becky Sauerbrunn and Julie Johnston give up their from Saturday’s squad.

Along with Christen Press, who is off to an unsustainably great start to her national team career, Dunn and Engen will be players to watch.

Dunn, who helped lead North Carolina to last year’s national championship, is the reigning MAC Herman trophy winner. Only 20 years old, the defender has a chance to move into the picture ahead of Canada 2015. Tonight, she should see her first senior national team cap.

Engen, a North Carolina alum, was on the cusp of breaking through with Sundhage’s teams but always got caught in the numbers game. After impressing in WPS, she’s moved to England to help raise the profile of Liverpool FC’s women’s team. A central defender who can also play on the left, the 25-year-old Engen is closer to be regular contributor now.

Here’s tonight’s full roster, courtesy of U.S. Soccer:

GOALKEEPERS (2): 21-Jill Loyden (Sky Blue FC), 1-Hope Solo (Seattle Reign)
DEFENDERS (6): 19-Rachel Buehler (Portland Thorns FC), 27-Crystal Dunn (UNC), 28-Whitney Engen (Liverpool FC), 11-Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), 5-Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), 3-Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): 7-Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), 12-Lauren Cheney (FC Kansas City), 17-Tobin Heath (Paris Saint-German), 16-Lori Lindsey (Washington Spirit), 10-Carli Lloyd (Western NY Flash), 9-Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers), 15-Megan Rapinoe (Olympique Lyonnais)
FORWARDS (3): 14-Sydney Leroux (Boston Breakers), 22-Christen Press (Tyresö FF), 20-Abby Wambach (Western NY Flash) 

Kane scores early and late, England narrowly top Tunisia

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England’s 2018 World Cup debut began brilliantly, then appeared headed for a disappointingly familiar outcome, but was ultimately saved by Harry Kane who scored both goals in the Three Lions’ 2-1 victory over Tunisia in Volgograd on Monday.

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England came sprinting out of the starting blocks — so quickly they nearly took flight — and taking an early lead through Harry Kane in the 11th minute (WATCH HERE). John Stones‘ header was spectacularly saved by Mouez Hassen, but Kane was in the right place at the right time and swept home the rebound for his first World Cup goal (on his World Cup debut).

The opening half-hour was all England, with the likes of Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard and Raheem Sterling cutting through the Tunisian midfield and defense with very little resistance and creating a half-dozen golden scoring chances. Unfortunately for Gareth Southgate‘s side, they couldn’t capitalize, and they were made to pay for it.

Kyle Walker caught Fakhreddine Ben Youssef with a raised arm as an innocuous cross came into the box, prompting referee Wilmar Roldan to blow his whistle and point to the penalty spot immediately. Ferjani Sassi stepped up and converted, just out of reach of Jordan Pickford, who perhaps got a fingertip on the ball (WATCH HERE), to make it 1-1 and negate an otherwise dominant first-half performance by England. It would be Tunisia’s only shot on goal for the game.

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England’s best chance to re-establish a lead came during a six-yard-box scramble just seconds before halftime. Alli’s header hit the crossbar and Stones badly scuffed — nearly whiffed — on the follow-up. Kane was dragged to the ground during the rest of the commotion, to no interest of Roldan.

It took far longer than anyone back home in England would have liked, but Kane grabbed the winner in the 91st minute, heading home from acres of space at the back post. Jordan Henderson got the first crack at heading the corner kick, but it was blocked and bound high into the air. Somehow, some way, Kane was unmarked and snuck his redirect just inside the post.

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Up next for England is a meeting with Panama on Sunday, a day after Tunisia take on Belgium, who thrashed the Panamanians, 3-0, on Monday.

VIDEO: Tunisia equalizes on controversial penalty kick

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England centerback Kyle Walker put his arm up to halt the forward progress of Fakhreddine Ben Youssef. Unfortunately for Walker, Ben Youssef was in the box and Walker’s elbow caught Ben Youssef’s face.

Referee Wilmar Roldan quickly whistled for a penalty kick and despite the protests from a half-dozen of England players and a check from the VAR, the called stood. Ferjani Sassi’stepped up to the spot and found the lower-left corner, just barely beating Jordan Pickford to tie the game in the 35th minute.

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How will England respond?

VIDEO: Captain Kane puts England on the board early

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It may be the easiest goal-scoring opportunity Harry Kane‘s ever had in an international competition, and he finished it as easy as you’d like.

Kane side-footed home after Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassen made a terrific save on John Stone’s header off a corner, but the save was directed right into a wide-open Kane who was standing ready inside the six yard box. The 11th minute goal will surely settle some of the Three Lions’ nerves as they open their World Cup bid in Russia.

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After slow start, Belgium takes care of business against feisty Panama

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All it took was one goal to bring Belgium to life.

Following a frustrating first 45 minutes, in which Belgium put a pair of shots into the side netting and forced saves from Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, Dries Mertens 47th minute goal opened the floodgates, as Belgium went on to defeat Panama, 3-0, Monday afternoon in Sochi.

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But Panama never made it easy for the Belgians. From the opening whistle the CONCACAF nation showed its incredible spirit, chasing down Belgium all across the field and making life incredibly difficult for Belgium attackers Romelu Lukaku, Mertens and Eden Hazard. Hazard was hacked down all over the field, and while he did earn fouls and a few yellow cards were issued to Panamanian players, it was enough to get in Hazard’s head.

Two minutes into the second half, everything changed. A wonderstrike from Mertens opened the game, and forced Panama to attack and try and tie the match, which gave Hazard, de Bruyne and Lukaku more space to operate.

In the heat and humidity of the Sochi summer, Panama’s veteran defense began to tire, allowing de Bruyne the space to deliver a terrific assist to Lukaku in the box, putting Belgium up 2-0 in the 69th minute.

 

Six minutes later, Lukaku was put through on the break, chipping over Penedo to confirm the victory.

With the win, Belgium moves to the top of Group G. Up next for Belgium is Tunisia on Saturday, while Panama takes on England on Sunday.