England beaten in SheBelieves Cup opener
Football

England beaten in SheBelieves Cup opener

06 March 2020 / 08:42

England's attempt to exact World Cup revenge on the USA fell short as they were outplayed in their SheBelieves Cup opener, going down 2-0 in Orlando. 

The Lionesses, who won the competition for the first time last year, struggled once again to compete with the world champions, who scored twice in two minutes.

Christen Press, who headed the Americans to World Cup victory in Lyon last summer, scored the opener before Carli Lloyd wrapped up the win with her 123rd international goal to consign the Lionesses to their first defeat of the year.

England's march to the semi-finals of last summer's World Cup qualified a place for Team GB at this summer's Olympics, but they were stopped just short of the final by the USA.

Phil Neville made four changes from the side that lost day, with Alex Greenwood, Leah Williamson, Georgia Stanway and 19-year-old Lauren Hemp coming in to replace Demi Stokes, Rachel Daly and injured duo Lucy Bronze and Beth Mead. 

And just like that fateful night back in July, it was all USA in the opening stages as Lloyd and Rose Lavelle both tested Carly Telford early with the Lionesses struggling for control under pressure early on. 

England’s first chance came from nowhere when Keira Walsh lifted the ball into the box for Nikita Parris but after taking the ball down beautifully, the winger headed directly at Alyssa Naeher before the lineswoman ruled her offside.

The Lionesses rode their luck in the first half and breathed a sigh of relief to go in goalless at the break, especially after the USA saw their penalty shout turned down when Tobin Heath was taken down by Greenwood in the box, prompting jeers from all corners of the Exploria Stadium. 

It came 43 minutes later than it did in Lyon but once again it was Press, who scored five goals in Olympic qualifying, who gave the Americans the lead against England as she cut in from the left to curl into the top right corner from 25 yards out.

It wasn’t all World Cup déjà vu though as instead of seeing an Ellen White equaliser, the Lionesses found themselves fighting a 2-0 deficit just a matter of minutes later. 

The Americans doubled their lead on 55 minutes through Lloyd, who ran onto a perfectly lifted ball from Horan to scoop over Telford, England's backline in no man's land to deal with her run. 

Jordan Nobbs, Toni Duggan and the in-form Bethany England were brought on by Phil Neville to help provide more attacking impetus for Lauren Hemp, but no matter what the Lionesses did going forward they continued to struggle with the pace of the USA frontline, Lloyd almost making it three when she blazed over the bar. 

The Lionesses next face Japan, hosts of the 2020 Olympics, on Sunday.

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