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European champions England beat world champions the United States

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In front of more than 76,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium, European champions England defeated world champions the United States for the first time since 2017.

It was expected to be a big game, and it delivered with VAR drama, goals, and a penalty in the championship friendly.

The Lionesses took the lead after only 10 minutes thanks to Manchester City winger Lauren Hemp, who replaced the injured Alessia Russo as the team’s primary striker.

In response, the USA scored an equalizer via Sophia Smith, but when referee Riem Hussein checked the VAR monitor, England was given a penalty for a high boot on Lucy Bronze.

Georgia Stanway converted the penalty kick to make it 2-1 before the USA had a goal disallowed for slight offside shortly after.

After the interval, chances continued to fall for both teams, with the visitors having the upper hand in a hectic, open match.

The USA had more anguish when, in the 81st minute, they were given a penalty for handball, but referee Hussein again reviewed the VAR monitor and reversed her judgment.

In their inaugural encounter at the national stadium, England prevailed decisively against their longtime opponents, extending their impressive undefeated streak to 23 games under manager Sarina Wiegman.

After the game, Wiegman spoke with ITV Sport and said: “That was really heated and exactly what we wanted. The USA performed like we anticipated; sometimes, they were difficult for us. At times, I felt we played well; the first half was better than the second.”

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It was England’s first win since the SheBelieves Cup in March 2017 and only the third time in 11 matches that they have defeated the United States. The USA defeated the other team 2-1 in their 2019 Women’s World Cup semifinal encounter.

Additionally, it occurs 10 months before the 2023 Women’s World Cup, where the USA hopes to defend its title for a third straight competition, and England hopes to win for the first time.

After an investigation earlier this week revealed “systematic” abuse and misbehavior in the National Women’s Soccer League, England expressed support for the USA before kickoff.

Wembley’s arch was lighted in teal, players wore teal armbands, and both teams gathered in the center before kickoff, arm in arm in front of a banner that read, “Protect The Players.”

After the game, USA manager Vlatko Andonovski said: “Undoubtedly, everyone had a tough week. They found it difficult to see and understand all they went through.

“I salute their grit, courage, and tenacity. But, unfortunately, they demonstrated once again that nothing would stop them from enjoying their favorite game. I hope that won’t happen again.

“When the guys came together and the flag was in front of them, it was a really wonderful moment. I had chills as the audience cheered them. The gamers once again did a fantastic job of using this game and this event as a platform to fight against it. It was a statement.”

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