Lionesses out of World Cup amid VAR controversy

England’s women are out of the World Cup after a controversial second half against the USA in Lyon, France, losing the semi-final 2-1.

The Lionesses thought they had scored a second equalising goal, only for it to be ruled offside by the video assistant referee (VAR).

Ellen White believed she had scored her second of the night after latching onto a flick-on from Jill Scott and coolly slotting the ball home.

England manager Phil Neville later said he agreed with the offside decision, but it appeared to be very close.

White was “devastated not to reach the final”, she said after the match, holding back tears.

Phil Neville comforts Steph Houghton at full time
Image:Manager Phil Neville comforts captain Steph Houghton at full time

England’s chances of getting back on par with the Americans were not over, however.

They went on to win a penalty – again following a VAR review.

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Demi Stokes played the ball through to White in the box, who tried to make contact but missed.

The replay showed a slight touch from behind by the USA’s Becky Sauerbrunn, and a penalty was awarded.

The USA's Alex Morgan celebrates scoring her team's second goal
Image:The USA’s Alex Morgan celebrates scoring her team’s second goal

England captain Steph Houghton stepped up in the 84th minute to take it but her shot lacked power and was saved by USA keeper Alyssa Naeher.

It was the Lionesses’ third penalty miss of the tournament.

The Americans started strongly and Christen Press headed them ahead after 10 minutes, with Alex Morgan adding a second in the 31st minute.

They will play the winners of the second semi-final between Holland and Sweden on Sunday.

Ellen White of England celebrates her goal
Image:Ellen White celebrates her goal in the first half

Ellen White’s goal took her tournament tally to six.

Speaking after the match, she said England were “sloppy” in the first half but “got ourselves back into the game with the goal and it’s bitterly disappointing”.

“I’m going to cry,” she told the BBC. “I’m devastated not to get to the final. All I feel is pride for my team-mates. USA had an amazing match and we just couldn’t match them. I’m proud to be English and I wish them all the best in the final.”

Neville said his players gave “everything” but “just ran out of steam”, adding: “We’ve done our very best.”

He continued: “The disallowed goal was offside. We’ve had VAR decisions go our way. We got on with it.”

Asked about Houghton’s missed penalty, he said: “Steph Houghton has had an incredible year. She’s an amazing person on and off the pitch. She’ll be upset. She’s been phenomenal. No blame should be attached to her.”


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