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By Owen Krucoff
Boyds, Md., (7/2/19) – Washington Spirit players Rose Lavelle and Mallory Pugh will take the next step in the U.S. women’s national team’s World Cup journey on Tuesday afternoon when they face England in Lyon, France.
Following a 2-1 victory in last week’s highly anticipated quarterfinal matchup with France, the Americans are just two hurdles away from defending their World Cup title. The Lionesses will be looking to break through into the final for the first time after reaching the semifinals in 2015.
The midfielder Lavelle has started in four of the U.S.’s five matches at the World Cup and is expected to feature in the first XI again in the semifinal. The 24-year old has scored two goals in 272 minutes of action so far, and has been an essential creative force in the buildup for the Americans’ vaunted attack.
Pugh, a forward, has yet to appear in the knockout stages but could still figure into coach Jill Ellis’ plans as an impact substitute as the tournament nears its climax. She played in all three group stage games, including earning a start against Chile, and scored her first World Cup goal in the 13-0 rout of Thailand.
Both the U.S. and England bring unblemished records into Tuesday’s game, with both teams having won all three of their group stage matches and having picked up regulation wins in the round of 16 and quarterfinals.
The Lionesses have been particularly dominant, giving up just one goal in the tournament so far and dispatching a talented Norway side 3-0 in the quarterfinals.
After breezing through group play, the Americans were tested a bit more in 2-1 victories over Spain and France in the knockout rounds, but remain the team to beat in the tournament as they search for a record fourth world title.
England, the number three team in FIFA’s world rankings, is the highest ranked team the top-ranked USWNT has had to face thus far in their World Cup journey. The match is set to be the highest-ranked clash of the tournament thus far.
Kickoff in Lyon is set for 3 p.m. ET on FOX, with coverage beginning at 2 p.m. ET.