Hope Solo fears for USWNT in semifinal v. England

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Hope Solo isn’t shy in sharing what’s on her mind, and ahead of the USWNT facing England in the World Cup semifinal on Tuesday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Telemundo Deportes) in Lyon, the former U.S. goalkeeper has admitted fear will be in the air for the Americans.

Solo, 37, is working as an analyst for the BBC in the UK during the Women’s World Cup and in her latest column she revealed there has always been respect for England from the USWNT, but that may have turned to fear.

“This summer, after victories over Scotland, Argentina, Japan, Cameroon and Norway to reach the last four, there might be a small sense of fear from the United States for this England team. And that’s not how the US have ever operated previously – we simply do not fear teams,” Solo said. “There’s a sense of arrogance in the fact that we like to instil fear in others, and we don’t operate with fear ourselves. This American team won’t admit it, but the Lionesses can instil a tiny bit of fear in Jill Ellis’ defending champions.”

Solo revealed that this is England’s ‘best chance to beat the USA’ and believes that the two teams are set for an epic semifinal battle in Lyon in front of a sell-out crowd.

She also used her column to have another dig at USWNT head coach Jill Ellis, as she claimed that Phil Neville, in his first-ever tournament as a manager, is a much better tactician.

Given the fact Ellis was the head coach when Solo had her contract terminated by U.S. Soccer in 2016 after several disciplinary issues, it’s safe to say she has an axe to grind with the current USWNT setup…

“Player for player, the American team is the stronger side and you have to think they will get through – but England have the better manager, tactically,” Solo added. “We’re going to see tactics come into play in this game more than in any other match in this tournament so far, which is why I’m excited to see what Phil Neville has in store.”

Does Solo have a point? On the last point, praising Neville and saying she would have loved to have played for him, she could be right.

Neville has got some big decisions correct for the Lionesses to guide them to last four of this tournament, plus he led England to victory on U.S. soil earlier this year in the SheBelievesCup.

On the other hand Ellis’ tactics have been questioned by many surrounding the USWNT, and decisions like leaving out Lindsay Horan and keeping star names Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan in the team despite shaky displays has raised eyebrows.

The USWNT have hardly been scintillating in this World Cup, but they are through to the semifinal stage and they know if they beat England they will be heavy favorites to get past either the Netherlands or Sweden in the final on Sunday. Equally, England will also be favorites if the No.3 ranked nation manage to get past the top team in the world.