Women’s World Cup 2019: Megan Rapinoe says USA are ready to face an England side ‘full of confidence’

The American talisman admits that the Lionesses are currently the in-form team

Saturday 29 June 2019 17:42
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England's Beth Mead looks ahead to World Cup semi-final

United States match-winner Megan Rapinoe expects to come up against an England side full of confidence when the two teams clash in the Women’s World Cup semi-finals.

Rapinoe scored twice as the US held on for a 2-1 win over hosts France, 24 hours after England had powered to a 3-0 victory over Norway.

The defending champions have won both of their knockout games by a single goal, while the Lionesses have recorded back-to-back 3-0 wins, and Rapinoe expects Phil Neville’s team to fancy their chances in Lyon on Tuesday.

“They’re in great form right now,” Rapinoe, who labelled England “one of the biggest teams in the game”, told a press conference.

“They had a totally dominating performance, they should absolutely feel confident.”

US coach Jill Ellis is also braced for another closely-fought contest against a side they drew 2-2 with in the SheBelieves Cup in March.

“I respect Phil and I know he’ll have his players ready, as will we, so we’ll see how it plays out,” she said.

“They’ve got a lot of talented players, their front line and obviously the striker (Ellen White) is hot right now.

Megan Rapinoe celebrates scoring United States’ first goal (AFP/Getty)

“They’re a good team front to back, a lot of experience, a lot of really good players, so it’s going to be a good match-up.”

The England-born Ellis was unconcerned about the US having one day fewer to prepare for the match.

“That’s the rhythm for us at this World Cup, so be it,” she said.

The spotlight was on Rapinoe ahead of the France match after she inspired outrage in the Oval Office with her “I’m not going to the f***ing White House” comment when asked ahead of the tournament if she would visit were her team to win the World Cup. President Donald Trump responded by accusing her of disrespect.

“Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!” Trump tweeted. Rapinoe’s response was to open the scoring with a fifth-minute free-kick and add the decisive second in the 65th.

The brace took her tally for the tournament to five and she is now the joint-leading scorer alongside team-mate Alex Morgan and White.

England’s Ellen White is on a brilliant streak of form up front (AFP/Getty)

Ellis never had any doubts about her temperament.

“She’s a big personality both on and off the pitch and she honestly thrives in these moments,” she said.

“There’s a never-say-die attitude, she’s a big-time player and I think the bigger the stage the more she’s going to respond.”

PA

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