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Alyssa Naeher’s Heroic Saves Help USWNT Beat England 2-1, Reach Third Consecutive World Cup Final

Penn State women’s soccer alumnae Alyssa Naeher and Ali Krieger are World Cup finalists once again.

The United States Women’s National Team took down England in Tuesday’s semifinal by a final score of 2-1. With today’s victory, the USWNT will play in the World Cup final for the third consecutive tournament.

Naeher was the Americans’ starting goalkeeper once again. She conceded a goal on England’s first shot of the game, which came in the 19th minute after an excellent cross from Beth Mead found Ellen White unmarked in the box. The Penn Stater made her first save of the match in the 32nd minute, extending out to make a great stop on Keira Walsh’s long-range effort.

The USWNT’s first-choice shot-stopper was credited for another save early in the second half after snatching the ball out of chaos after a cross into the box by England. Naeher was beaten again in the 67th minute after White passed the ball beyond her reach and into the bottom corner, but the goal was disallowed after a VAR check for offside.

After a VAR review of a potential foul by Becky Sauerbrunn, England was awarded a penalty in the 82nd minute. Naeher denied the ensuing spot kick by lunging to her right and trapping the ball.

The Americans hung on to secure the victory with the help of Ali Krieger, who checked into the game as a substitute in the 87th minute to provide additional defensive cover. She came into the match at right back in place of regular starter Kelley O’Hara for her first USWNT cap since the group stages of this year’s World Cup.

Forward Megan Rapinoe, who scored four goals in the first two knockout games played by the USWNT, was left out of head coach Jill Ellis’ starting XI in favor of Christen Press. The decision was baffling to many, but Press opened the scoring in the 10th minute of Tuesday’s contest while Rapinoe reportedly sat out due to a hamstring injury.

Team captain Alex Morgan celebrated her 30th birthday by scoring her sixth goal of the tournament in the 31st minute. Morgan ran straight through the English defense to get on the end of a perfect ball from Lindsey Horan, and she nodded the ball home before busting out a truly incredible celebration.

Naeher, Krieger, and the rest of the USWNT now have a World Cup final to look forward to. They’ll face off against one of Holland or Sweden at 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 7, and you can watch the final on FOX.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

Mikey is a senior majoring in journalism and Onward State's Sports Editor. He grew up in Bedminster, NJ and is way too obnoxious about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is hard. If you're dying to see more hockey/golf content on your timeline, you can follow Mikey on Twitter @mikey_mandarino. Send all hate mail, death threats, and your vote for the best chicken parm in State College to [email protected]

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