Lionesses VAR-y Happy After Win Over USWNT

England 2-1 United States of America (9/10/22)

by Johnathan Stack at Wembley Stadium for Impetus

With EXCLUSIVE photos from Hannah Parnell

Above: Rachel Daly embraces Georgia Stanway (8) after her penalty, with Chloe Kelly (11) also showing her delight. Photo: Hannah Parnell for Impetus.

It was a night of celebration on Friday at Wembley as an amazing tribute was paid to the women who paved the way for the European Champions. 

The USA were the visitors in a European v World Champion Showdown as both teams joined forces in solidarity in light of the report findings that were published this week into the abuse scandal that has rocked the US Soccer Federation as well as the country’s top division. the National Women’s Soccer League.

Before the game, Wembley Stadium had special guests for the evening, in attendance under the arch were the 1972 Lionesses as well as all former players, and they were celebrated by The FA marking the 50th anniversary of the England Women’s Senior National Team. 

Jill Scott was then presented with a framed shirt with 161 on the back to acknowledge her retirement as well as the number of appearances she made for England. The Lionesses legend proceeded to bring the European Championship trophy out to get the crowd going just before the players emerged from the tunnel.

Above: Lionesses legends from the past were introduced to the crowd before the game and at half-time to mark the 50th anniversary of the first official England Women’s team. Photo: Hannah Parnell for Impetus.

At half-time, all former Lioness players in attendance were invited to the pitch, to take part in a lap of honour and receive an appreciative round of applause from the Wembley crowd in acknowledgement of the part these Lioness legends played in England women’s footballing history.

As for the game, it was billed as a blockbuster, it did not disappoint with it being as action-packed as you would expect. England got the ball rolling by breaking the deadlock with a great move down the right-hand side as they took a 10th-minute lead. The move was started by Lucy Bronze and finished by Lauren Hemp after Alana Cook failed to deal with Beth Mead’s cross.

The USA got back on level terms when Georgia Stanway was bodied off the ball by Lindsey Horan as Millie Bright put her own team-mate under pressure with a soft pass on the edge of her box, with the ball falling to Sophia Smith, who slotted the ball into the bottom right corner past Mary Earps.

One of the controversial moments of the game in the first half saw Lucy Bronze kicked in the face by substitute Hailie Mace inside the penalty area, despite protests from England players the referee Riem Hussein wasn’t interested and waved play on as the USA began to start an attack, only for action to be halted as VAR stepped in and asked the official her to take a look at the incident on the pitchside. The result was a penalty to the Lionesses and Bayern Munich midfielder Stanway made up for her earlier error from the spot to restore the lead.

Above: Two of the greatest players their respective nations have produced face-off as Lucy Bronze looks to get away from Megan Rapinoe. Photo: Hannah Parnell for Impetus.

The USA thought they had drawn level for a second time in the match four minutes later only for VAR to step in once again. Smith was involved once more as she was deemed to be offside from a long pass out from the back which she latched on to, with her cross flicked on by Megan Rapinoe to Trinity Rodman, who rifled into the bottom right corner.

Ten minutes from full-time VAR was needed once more as the US were awarded a penalty as Hemp was adjudged to have handled in the box. Rose Lavelle’s shot had hit her bottom and the decision was correctly overturned.

Both sides played with high spirits and intensity despite both missing key players and Sarina Wiegman will be very happy with picking up a victory over the USA although VAR came to save the day three times. In my opinion, the presence of it in this game was a major plus as it put right some poor decisions by the referee. If VAR wasn’t in use, this game could have been a different outcome entirely – and a highly controversial one at that.

After the game, England Head Coach Sarina Wiegman gave her reflections on beating the World Champions saying: “It was very intense, very open, and very competitive. It’s what you can expect from the USA and us too.

Above: Fran Kirby on the ball with the USA’s Sofia Huerta looking to get in a challenge. Photo: Hannah Parnell for Impetus.

“We can take lots of things from this. We don’t win a World Cup now but it’s really good to have this moment and this game, in this environment with all the people around cheering for us. The top countries have developed very much. The whole women’s game is developing but it’s good to have a test against the USA as they have won so many things over so many years. But it’s now October and not July yet.”

The Lionesses head south to Brighton on Tuesday to face the Czech Republic.

For the first part of Hannah Parnell’s photo gallery action from the game, featuring the goals, click here:

Teams: ENGLAND (4-2-3-1): Earps, Bronze, Bright (c), Greenwood, Daly, Stanway, Walsh, Kelly, Kirby, Mead, Hemp. Substitutes: Roebuck, MacIver, Morgan, Zelem, Wubben-Moy, Carter, Parris, Toone, Park, Stokes, James, Salmon.

Scorers: Hemp 10′, Stanway (pen) 33′.

USA (4-3-3): Naeher, Cook, Rodman, Huerta, Horan (c), Smith, Girma, Rapinoe, Lavelle, Sullivan, Fox. Substitutes: Murphy, Kingsbury, Sanchez, Sauerbrunn, Mace, Hatch, Thompson, Coffey, Dunn, Howell, Mewis, Demelo.

Scorer: Smith 28′.

Attendance: 76,893

Referee: Riem Hussein (GER).

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