Late penalty save helps USWNT to fifth Women’s World Cup Final

AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani
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Alyssa Naeher stopped Steph Houghton’s 83rd minute penalty kick, which was awarded by VAR, and the United States women’s national team reached its fifth Women’s World Cup Final with a 2-1 defeat of England on Tuesday in Lyon.

Christen Press and Alex Morgan gave the Americans leads in the match, but only an Ellen White equalizer arrived in the semifinal.

Ellen White scored England’s goal and Millie Bright saw her second yellow card just after Houghton’s butchered penalty attempt to send the Lionesses down to 10 players.

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Press made a surprise start in place of Megan Rapinoe and scored the game-opening goal for the Yanks, before White nabbed her tournament-leading sixth for England.

Lavelle has been outstanding in the early stages for the United States.

Press is the one who started the scoring, however, getting on the end of a looping cross from O’Hara and popping a header home for 1-0 in the 10th minute.

England drew level when Beth Mead’s cross beat the outstretched leg of O’Hara and White ran behind Abby Dahlkemper to snap the ball past Naeher with the outside of her foot. Game on.

Becky Sauerbrunn redirected a long English drive wide for a corner in the 28th minute, and the Yanks retook the lead moments later.

A diagonal ball from Abby Dahlkemper was well-controlled by Press on the touch line, who fed Horan. The former PSG star spotted Morgan, whose surgical run was matched by her header for 2-1.

Morgan celebrated by sipping a mock cup of tea. How very appropriate, Kermit, British, or both.

It wasn’t long after that that Naeher had to make a flying two-handed save at the back post. What a start.

Horan picked up a yellow card early in the second half, making it two awarded on the day after Millie Bright was shown a first-half caution.

Naeher made an in-tight save as England beganits fight for an equalizer.

A turnover deep in English territory allowed Press to drive at the Lionesses’ goal, but she failed to spot two teammates and instead unleashed a wild shot.

White then appeared to bring England level again, with White running between the American center backs to slot a low drive past Naeher for 2-2 with 22 minutes to play… but offside.

Demi Stokes looked to have sent England level for real, but something happened as her perfect pass got to White and saw the tournament’s leading scorer whiff on her effort to make it 2-2. VAR checked to see if Becky Sauerbrunn interfered with White, and she most certainly caught the striker’s leg.

But Houghton’s penalty kick was poor, and Naeher corralled the bounding low ball to preserve the win.