England win over US was long time coming

Harjeet Johal March 5, 2017 26
Ellen White's 89th minute goal to beat the U.S. may have been England's biggest win ever (photo copyright Meg Linehan for The Equalizer)

Ellen White’s 89th minute goal to beat the U.S. may have been England’s biggest win ever (photo copyright Meg Linehan for The Equalizer)

HARRISON, NJ. – If you follow England as close as some supporters do, you will know that Saturday’s historic 1-0 win over U.S. Soccer at Red Bull Arena, in front of 26,500 frozen spectators, was no surprise. England have slowly been progressing and achieving new heights with manager, Mark Sampson. A win over the U.S. in America was due and something England have been working towards for a long time.

Ellen White came on as a second half substitute and was in the right place, at the right time for her winning goal in the 89th minute. White made her England debut in March of 2010. This ranks as a career highlight for her and her teammates, and it’s especially sweeter because of the opponent.

“It was a fantastic moment for myself, obviously scoring for England,” said White. “To score on the home soil of the U.S.A and to get the win. It was an unbelievable feel. The team put in a fantastic performance. I’m proud of every member of the squad, on the field, off the field. To get the win, and to get the three points on the board for this tournament. Unbelievable feeling.”

{LAULETTA: Three things we’ve learned on USWNT…so far}

The win was the first for England at SheBelieves Cup, and the first over the U.S. since 2011. In that match, England came away with a 2-1 win at Leyton Orient FC. Going back to 1988, England had only triumphed over the U.S. two other times before Saturday night. England have never beat the World Cup holder. This was the third time England have defeated the No. 1 ranked team in the world.

Sampson was over the moon with the result. England had more shot attempts on target (14) and more shots hitting the target (3) than the U.S. – This wasn’t a flick of the switch and a win out of nowhere. England was better, and the result was worthy of three points.

“This is not a smash and grab result,” a delighted said. “The last team to win here were China. They came here, got bashed, and nicked a one-nil. We didn’t get bashed tonight. We earned the win, we deserved to win.”

England vice-captain, Jordan Nobbs was sporting a bloodied and bruised nose, but she put in the work and delivered the cross that resulted in White’s goal. It is a win that will give new confidence, and greater belief for England who will see no limits heading into the Euro’s.

“We’ve just been taking things step by step,” admitted Jordan Nobbs. “I think you can’t always… with a new management team, jump to where you want to be. I think we’ve slowly been progressing as a team. We really believed as a squad, as a whole. Even against France, we did take a lot of positives from that game. I think the belief in the squad’s extra exciting now.”

It was England and not the U.S. who had the opposition on the back foot. The visitors had a match plan, and they dictated what they wanted to do. The U.S. looked frustrated and lacked new ideas when England was a bother.

“The belief in the squad was high coming into the game,” said Nobbs. “The first five minutes, we looked comfortable, we looked like we were prepared. I think U.S.A. didn’t really know what to do with us. I think our strategy and belief in the team, we stuck at it from minute one, and didn’t stop till the whistle went.”

We’ve seen glimmers of what England can do on the bright stage. Winning bronze at the 2015 World Cup was a brilliant first step under the Sampson era. A win over the U.S. might just be the top showing for the gaffer.

“I think it’s the best result, I won’t deny that,” said Sampson.

England just keeps getting, better, and better. The Lionesses have 30 wins in 48 matches with Sampson in charge. He has brought in a new strategy featuring younger players. He’s shown structure with his tactics, and at the same time, given his players confidence in their abilities. The results speak for themselves.

“Yeah, one-hundred percent,” White said. “I think what you say is completely true. We’ve grown, developed as a squad under Mark, and we’re still progressing. This tournament is fantastic for us, we want to be playing the best teams in the world. U.S.A, France, Germany. We’ve got to get that winning mentality against them. Compete against them, but ultimately we want to win against them. This really shows where we’ve come, and how far we can go, looking forward to the Euro’s.”

England is in with a shot to capture the 2017 SheBelieves Cup as they take on Germany at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday night. A win against Germany would give them six points. A France win over the U.S. would give Les Bleus the glory.

“I’m sure U.S. and France will have some squeaky bums watching us play Germany,” said a chuffed Sampson. “If we can turn up, front up, put in a performance like we did tonight. There’s no reason we can’t put six points on the board, and see if someone can over take us.”
England have all the momentum and this will do wonders for the Lionesses going forward. They relish the opportunity to take on Germany. A forever rival that brings out the best in England, Germany has yet to score at SheBelieves 2017, and they look far from world beaters.

“We love big games against Germany, that’s our bread and butter,” White said.

Bread, and butter, scones and jam. It’s all coming up Lionesses at the minute. It’s a big credit to Sampson and his staff that have turned England into a women’s soccer powerhouse. They are knocking at the door, and continue to rise as a top contender.

  • Cc W

    It was impressive for ENG to hang with the US and then to end up with the win. These are the types of games that little by little make the competition better and also has to remind the US of how quick it can change. ENG is hungry and gritty – the US may have become a little lackadaisical.

    • Steglitz49

      The strength of US WoSo has been the NCAA and college scene plus the large number of young ladies playing soccer.

      Now that the rich leagues and clubs of Europe put more money and facilities the ladies’ way, European WoSo will improve even among the smaller nations, whose best players play abroad. Japan and South-Korea may find it hard to keep up, though China and Australia seem to level peg.

      Where all this will end up is too early to tell but WC-19 may be, like WC-11 was, another watershed, hopefully again to the good of all WoSo.

      • BB Slayer

        The strenghts has been and still is the large number of young ladies. Plus soccer is considered to be a women’s sport in the US

        Forget about the NCAA and the college scene. They don’t play a role

        • Steglitz49

          Rio 2016 was the first time two European nations contested the final of a WC or OG tournament since Germany beat Sweden on a Golden Goal in 2003. Indeed, the finals of 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2015 had no European NT.

          Canada’s success in the OG is also an indication of a changing world.

          Nevertheless, the USWNT will continue to be a significant force for the foreseeable future and rumors of its demise exaggerated.

      • Ching

        Japan and China are the team to watch in WC-19, Japan has a lot of young talented player in the pipeline come 2019 they’ll be ripe and polish, while China have renewed focus and popularity in the women’s game because the Chinese have already given up with their men’s team.

        • Steglitz49

          I guess there are not too many easy-to-beat WoSo teams anymore. Euro-17 may give us some pointers as will the WC qualifiers.

    • guest

      It makes the tournament much more interesting that is for sure. Excited for Tuesday.

    • Frozen Blue

      I think you hit the nail on the head, no grit, Ellis doesn’t bring any fire to the team and it shows.

    • dw

      This is typical of dominant athletes though. Serena Williams the prime example. When she is in a tight match, she tries hard, when she’s not, she doesn’t. I always cringe when she is losing and turns up the volume on her grunting, as if to intimidate her opponent more. But the converse is, when you are dominant, and part of your success formula is based on stamina (you need to win x matches, or play several times in a short period of time), any time you can coast and win is appreciated. So it should be apparent that in most games the WNT is playing at about 80%. Look at how much more they had to give at the end of a tough match. The lone exception being the WWC15 final, where the players remembered the lesson of WWC11.

      • Steglitz49

        How do you explain the Glorious 12th aka the Bomb in Brasilia. Even with the ref crew on their side, the USWNT could not stop the Miracle on Grass.

        • dw

          Easy. If the underdog opponent is strong enough mentally and physically, sometimes your miracle comeback doesn’t happen.

  • Ron Rocha

    The US lost the true art of the English language and I miss the smile it puts on my face. I grinned all through it. Congrats England… well played!

  • Som Termanni

    England’s performance makes the UK’s purely political inability to field either a national representative or kingdom-wide all-star team for Rio all the more stupid, pointless, and depressing. If they don’t get it together in time to play a team for Tokyo, FIFA needs to step in with sanctions. Insane that a top-5 team is blocked from participating in one of two major sanctioned world competitions.

    • Steglitz49

      The four Home Unions — England, Northern-Ireland, Scotland and Wales — are founder members of FIFA and represented in its structures. It is, therefore, highly unlikely that FIFA will step in with sanctions.

      • Som Termanni

        Considering the saturation of corruption in FIFA, that representation is no boon. Petty squabbles of unimportant subdivisions in what should be a UK-wide federation are keeping a marquee team idle for no real reason, and for what? So each sub-FA can get fatter on less effort?

        • Steglitz49

          Soccer used to be administered and ruled by the 4 Home Unions. In cricket I think the MCC still makes the laws and regulations.

          FIFA was set up to provide a broader representation in soccer but the 4 Home Unions remained an integral part of the structure, which is not difficult to understand.

    • Davestwin7

      Olympics isn’t a FIFA sanctioned tournament so they have no say.

      • JL

        The men’s Olympic tournament isn’t, but the women’s is.

    • Tom F

      England’s missing, so many good players in the SBC to begin with,, except for Bronze i would prefer the team of missing players over the lineup Samspon’a got now. Besides Fishlock didn’t make the UK team at the 2013 Olympics, and UK despite having Little, got eliminated in the quarter finals

  • mockmook

    Hmmm, I’d say the USA slightly outplayed ENG thru the match — but scoreboard is scoreboard…

    • ARED

      I agree, although I definitely think England was better or more efficient in turning possession into attacks, and attacks into shots. The USA continued to look far more lost or meandering than efficient. But, the talent still will always show to some level, and players like Lavelle, Pugh, Morgan, or Dunn all can create great chances very quickly if they get the ball in good areas. If England develops a few more high-level players with talent, they could really become a force -we will see.

  • dw

    With our roster, formation and tactics, we may see a lot of:

    ((Insert name of country here)) win over US was long time coming

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  • Weltmeister

    Harjeet johal is Not a good Journalist, Germany is Olympic Champion.
    The USA have Lost against England.

  • sudeep das

    I am a neutral fan of women’s football. While I do realize that Harjeet Johal being a Canadian will tend to undermine the USWNT it is stretching facts to say that the Lionesses deserved this win.

  • AlexH

    I suppose in 476 AD the headline could have read, “Barbarian Conquest of Rome Long Time Coming.” and then touted all of the things they did to improve their ability to rape, kill, pillage and burn, but in reality it is all about Rome. Decadence, complacency and piss poor people running the show.