The 5 big moments from the England v USA Women’s World Cup semi-final

From controversial VAR decisions to missed penalties, sending offs to that goal celebration, the game-changing moments from England's last stand in France...

LYON, FRANCE - JULY 2: Georgia Stanway of England, Becky Sauerbrunn of USA during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Groupama Stadium on July 2, 2019 in Decines near Lyon, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

There were tears of frustration and disappointment from English players and viewers alike last night, after the Lionesses’ World Cup journey came to an end during their semi-final against defending champions USA.

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But despite the final outcome, it was an exciting and unpredictable match, as spectators both in the French stands and watching at home were on the edge of their seats until the final whistle.

If you didn’t manage to catch the game, or if it’s just a bit of a blur the morning after, here are the five big moments you should know about…


1. Ellen White’s equaliser

After favourites USA scored within the first 10 minutes of the game, the pressure was on for England, but Ellen White rose to the challenge, netting an equaliser just 9 minutes later before performing her trademark ‘goggles’ goal celebration.


2. Alex Morgan’s controversial goal celebration

After scoring the USA’s second in the 31st minute, Alex Morgan celebrated by running to the corner and pretending to take a sip of tea, pinky in the air — a bit of a trolling against the tea-loving Brits.

Those viewers who weren’t incensed were left a little confused by the jibe, which also closely resembled another, um, recreational habit that’s famously popular in the Netherlands — something that comedian and actor Jack Whitehall was quick to point out…


3. England’s Millie Bright is sent off

Millie Bright, Getty Images
Millie Bright (Getty Images)

England’s Millie Bright was sent off with just 4 minutes of normal time (but, it turned out, 7 minutes injury time) after picking up a second yellow card. The decision made her the first ever woman to be sent off during a World Cup finals tournament, but also left England with ten women as they sought a crucial second goal.

England coach Phil Neville later criticised the decision. “It was offside,” he said. “And we’ve had decisions go our way too. But I thought the referee wasn’t in control of the game and Millie [Bright] shouldn’t have been sent off.”


4. The VAR decision

England's Ellen White, Getty Images
England’s Ellen White, Getty Images

Ellen White appeared to have scored a second goal to tie the scores, but it was disallowed on the tightest of margins, after the ref consulted the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) and judged White to have been offside.


5. England’s missed penalty

Steph Houghton, Getty Images
England’s Steph Houghton (Getty Images)
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England were given the chance to equalise from the penalty spot after a foul on Ellen White, but captain Steph Houghton’s somewhat tame effort was saved by the USA goalkeeper.