Ellen White grabbed an 89th-minute winner as England battled to a brilliant 1-0 victory over world champions USA to earn their first points of this year’s SheBelieves Cup in a freezing New Jersey.
In front of a sell-out crowd of 25,000 at the Red Bull Arena, the Lionesses frustrated the 2015 World Cup winners with a gritty display before White poked home from close-range at the death to pinch a historic win.
England had only beaten the Americans three times before, but a superbly-organised defensive effort meant they were good value for the victory.
- SheBelieves Cup
- Saturday March 4 2017
- Red Bull Arena, New Jersey
- By Luke Baker
The teams went into the break locked at 0-0 following a first half of few chances and although the side who are top of the world rankings were largely on top after the interval, England’s backline held firm in the face of pressure before stunning the home fans late on.
Coach Mark Sampson only retained four players from the starting XI which suffered a last-gasp 2-1 defeat to France on Wednesday and opted for a formation change – with the 3-5-2 abandoned for a 4-4-2, with a midfield diamond.
The USA also made seven changes from their victory over Germany and both teams struggled to gain a foothold in a cagey opening to proceedings.
Demi Stokes had to be alert to clear a dangerous-looking ball from her own six-yard box before Chamberlain produced a brilliant 18th-minute save – repelling American debutant Rose Lavelle’s powerful effort from six yards out.
Down the other end, the ball fell kindly to Nikita Parris in the box but the Manchester City striker was denied by a great reaction save from Harris, while Toni Duggan fired narrowly over from 20 yards.
Early in the second half, the dangerous Lavelle shot over the bar after neatly cutting in from the right as the hosts began to get on top.
But Duggan almost gave the Lionesses the lead as her 25-yard free-kick bounced awkwardly in front of Harris before the American stopper managed to claw the ball away.
And just as the game looked to be heading for a goalless draw, Lucy Bronze’s thunderbolt from the edge of the area came back off the bar and substitute White tenaciously reached the rebound first to prod in from close-range.
England (4-4-2): 13 Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool); 4 Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), 5 Steph Houghton (capt, Manchester City), 15 Laura Bassett (Notts County), 3 Demi Stokes (Manchester City); 7 Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), 17 Fara Williams (Arsenal), 10 Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City), 20 Karen Carney (Chelsea); 19 Toni Duggan (Manchester City), 22 Nikita Parris (Manchester City).
Substitutes: 18 Jill Scott (Manchester City) for Carney 63, 11 Ellen White (Birmingham City) for Duggan 75, 9 Jodie Taylor (Arsenal) for Parris 75, 6 Millie Bright (Chelsea) for Christiansen 90, 8 Jade Moore (Notts County) for Nobbs 90.
Substitutes not used: 1 Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), 21 Mary Earps (Reading), 12 Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), 16 Gemma Bonner (Liverpool), 23 Rachel Williams (Notts County).
Goals: White 89
Head coach: Mark Sampson
USA (3-5-2): 24 Ashlyn Harris; 4 Becky Sauerbrunn, 8 Julie Johnston, 11 Ali Krieger; 19 Crystal Dunn, 3 Samantha Mewis, 9 Lindsey Horan, 16 Rose Lavelle, 10 Carli Lloyd (capt); 2 Mallory Pugh, 13 Alex Morgan.
Substitutes: 23 Christen Press for Morgan 63, 12 Lynn Williams for Dunn, 17 Tobin Heath for Lloyd 75, 6 Morgan Brian for Horan 75, 20 Allie Long for Mewis 75.
Substitutes not used: 1 Alyssa Naeher, 5 Kelley O’Hara, 7 Casey Short, 14 Jessica McDonald, 15 Emily Sonnett, 18 Jane Campbell, 22 Brianna Pinto.
Booking: Lloyd 68
Red cards: None
Head coach: Jill Ellis
Referee: Quetzalli Alvarado Godínez