Ten weeks after conquering Europe, England women proclaimed themselves ready for even more after beating the world champion United States 2-1 in a friendly at Wembley Stadium on Friday.
Lauren Hemp and Georgia Stanway scored to help England beat the U.S. for the first time since 2017 and less than 10 months before the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Stanway’s penalty in the 33rd minute put the hosts in front for good before 76,893 fans. The victory extended England’s unbeaten run to 23 games under coach Sarina Wiegman.
“It was a great result,” Hemp told broadcaster ITV. “There’s a lot of preparation now for the World Cup. It’s important that we stay grounded.”
England, which won the European championship in late July, took the lead in the 10th when Beth Mead sent a low cross into the box. U.S. defender Alana Cook tried to make a sliding block but the ball wiggled through to Hemp, who finished from close range.
The Americans equalized just before the half-hour mark. Millie Bright tried to pass out of the back to a tightly covered Stanway, and Lindsey Horan poked the ball forward to Sophia Smith, who turned and fired low to the left corner past a diving Mary Earps.
Stanway made amends from the spot, though, shooting the ball into the right corner as goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher went the wrong way.
Minutes later, the visitors thought they tied the game again but Trinity Rodman’s strike was ruled out for offside.
England and the U.S. wore teal armbands in solidarity with sexual abuse victims and together held a banner that read “Protect the Players” just before kickoff. A report this week into the scandals that erupted in the National Women’s Soccer League last season found emotional abuse and sexual misconduct were systemic in the league.
The draw for the World Cup will be in Auckland on Oct. 22.
The Associated Press