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USWNT, France open SheBelieves Cup with wins

Lynn Williams scores lone goal for USA while Wendie Renard causes heartbreak for England

2017 SheBelieves Cup - United States v Germany Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

World Cup champs vs Olympic champs

The U.S. women’s national team (USWNT) began its 2017 campaign with a 1-0 win over Germany in the first round of the SheBelieves Cup. Forward Lynn Williams’ goal in the 56th minute would prove to be the game-winner and the only goal of the match.

The first scoring opportunity of the match came early after a poor touch by German midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsan gave U.S. forward Crystal Dunn an opportunity to shoot from close range. German goalkeeper Almuth Schult was able to react quickly and make a diving save.

Shortly after, Germany created its own scoring opportunity in the 12th minute. Defender Isabel Kerschowski played a penetrating pass into teammate Sara Däbritz, who was positioned just outside the box in the middle of the field. Däbritz took one touch to settle, then shot the ball with her right foot towards the right side of the net, forcing U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher to make a diving save of her own.

As the game progressed, both sides were able to stay composed under pressure and not allow either offense to create a rhythm. The strong defensive effort led to a scoreless match at halftime.

The USWNT would finally break the stalemate in the 56th minute. Forward Christen Press picked the pocket of Kerschowski and took off down the right flank. Press then cut inside and shot a bending ball with her left foot, but it hit the cross bar. Teammate Tobin Heath tried to one-time the rebound, but her shot ricocheted off of Kerschowski.

Williams, who was left wide open inside the box, was able to take advantage of the deflection and put the ball past Schult into the back of the net. The goal would mark Williams’ second in five appearances with the veteran squad.

Williams created several more scoring opportunities for the American squad, but at the final whistle, the score remained 1-0.

The USWNT and France, who defeated England 2-1 earlier today, both sit at the top of the table with 3 points.

The USWNT will face England on Saturday, March 4 at Red Bull Arena for the second round of the SheBelieves Cup. Sky Blue FC defender Christie Rampone will be honored prior to the match by U.S. Soccer.

Match Report

USA: 1 Alyssa Naeher; 4 Becky Sauerbrunn, 20 Allie Long, 7 Casey Short; 19 Crystal Dunn (2 Mallory Pugh-58), 6 Morgan Brian, 3 Samantha Mewis, 17 Tobin Heath 10 Carli Lloyd (capt.); 12 Lynn Williams (13 Alex Morgan-79), 23 Christen Press (9 Lindsey Horan-79)

Subs not used: 5 Kelley O’Hara, 8 Julie Johnston, 11 Ali Krieger, 14 Jessica McDonald, 15 Emily Sonnett, 16 Rose Lavelle, 18 Jane Campbell, 22 Brianna Pinto, 24 Ashlyn Harris

Goals: Williams, 56’

Yellow cards: None

Red cards: None

Head coach: Jill Ellis

GER: 1 Almuth Schult; 2 Josephine Henning, 5 Babett Peter, 14 Anna Blässe (7 Pauline Bremer-69), 17 Isabel Kerschowski (29 Felicitas Rauch-74); 4 Leonie Maier, 9 Alexandra Popp, 10 Dzsenifer Marozsan, 13 Sara Däbritz; 11 Anja Mittag (15 Mandy Islacker-74), 18 Lena Petermann

Subs not used: 12 Laura Benkarth, 21 Lisa Weiß, 3 Kathrin Hendrich, 20 Lina Magull, 23 Verena Faißt, 24 Kristin Demann, 26 Hasret Kayikci, 27 Sara Doorsoun, 31 Linda Dallman

Goals: None

Yellow cards: Kerschowski, Blässe

Red cards: None

Head coach: Steffi Jones

The Tale of Two Halves

2017 SheBelieves Cup - England v France Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

The first match of the SheBelieves Cup came down to the last touch of the game to determine a winner. England got on the board first in the 32nd minute after the Lionesses took advantage of a bad pass committed by French defender Griedge Mbock Bathy.

Midfielder Jill Scott intercepted Bathy’s pass attempt and dished the ball to teammate Jordan Nobbs. Nobbs took one touch to settle, and her second touch sent a low shot past the hands of French keeper Sarah Bouhaddi to give England a 1-0 lead.

France came out much stronger in the second half and created multiple scoring chances before final equalizing in the 80th minute. With England sitting back, the French offense had time to keep possession in the offensive third before finding the opportune moment to go to goal.

Forward Elodie Thomis crossed a ball from the right side of the field into the box where forward Marie-Laure Delie was able to slip past her defender and redirect the ball with her head into the back of the net for the equalizer.

As seconds remained, Delie earned a corner for Les Bleues. Substitute Amel Majri hooked a ball into the box where substitute Wendie Renard headed the ball towards the ground, and the ensuing bounce passed goalkeeper Karen Bardsley for the game-winner.

With the score 2-1, the final whistle blew, and France came away with the win.

Match Report

England: 1 Karen Bardsley; 4 Lucy Bronze, 5 Steph Houghton (capt;), 6 Millie Bright; 12 Rachel Daly (2 Alex Scott-74), 7 Jordan Nobbs (10 Isobel Christiansen-87), 8 Jade Moore, 18 Jill Scott, 3 Demi Stokes; 9 Jodie Taylor (23 Rachel Williams-54), 11 Ellen White (22 Nikita Parris -74).

Substitutes not used: 13 Siobhan Chamberlain, 21 Mary Earps, 14 Casey Stoney, 15 Laura Bassett, 16 Gemma Bonner, 17 Fara Williams, 19 Toni Duggan, 20 Karen Carney.

Goals: Nobbs 32

Yellow cards: Bright, Bardsley

Red cards: None

Head coach: Mark Sampson

France:16 Sarah Bouhaddi; 2 Eve Perisset (3 Wendie Renard-66), 4 Laura Georges, 8 Jessica Houara D’Hommeaux, 19 Griedge Mbock Bathy (22 Amel Majri-83); 6 Amandine Henry (capt), 11 Claire Lavogez (10 Camille Abily-61), 17 Gaetane Thiney (12 Elodie Thomis-77), 20 Grace Geyoro; 13 Kadidiatou Diani (9 Eugenie Le Sommer-72), 18 Marie Laure Delie.

Substitutes not used: 1 Laetitia Philippe, 21 Meline Gerard, 5 Aissatou Tounkara, 7 Sandie Toletti, 14 Camille Catala, 15 Elise Bussaglia, 23 Sakina Karchaoui.

Goals: Delie 80’, Renard 90’+5

Yellow cards: Thiney

Red cards: None

Manager: Oliver Echouafni