KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- The United States women's national team became the first team to reach three consecutive Women's World Cup finals after a securing a gritty 2-1 victory over England on Tuesday in the semifinal. Alex Morgan scored the winner, Megan Rapinoe missed the game due to a reported hamstring injury, England had a goal called back via Video Assistant Referee and U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher saved a penalty kick with under 10 minutes to go. This match had just about everything you'd expect in an instant classic.
The U.S. will now play the winner of Sweden and the Netherlands on Sunday in the Women's World Cup final at Stade de Lyon. The Americans are seeking their fourth title and are vying to be the first nation to win it back-to-back since Germany in 2003 and 2007.
USA continued its trend of fast starts, scoring 10 minutes in thanks to a header from Christen Press. The U.S. has scored inside the first 12 minutes in every game it has played at the tournament. After Press' opener, England's Ellen White scored in the 19th minute to draw level. Alex Morgan, who celebrated her 30th birthday on Tuesday, ended her four-game goal drought with a fine header just after the half-hour mark in what proved to be the winning goal.
A frantic second half saw England put the ball in the net through White again, but VAR confirmed she was offside. With eight minutes to go, England had a penalty kick confirmed by VAR off a foul from Becky Sauerbrunn on White, but Naeher denied Steph Houghton to maintain the one-goal advantage. Here's the moment.
The win puts USA on the verge of another title, and it keeps Jill Ellis, who was born in England but moved to the United States to pursue a career in soccer, undefeated at World Cups as coach of the United States.