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England 0 USA 3 (Wambach 48, Boxx 57, Lilly 60)
England are out of the World Cup after a second half goal blitz carried the USA into the last four in Tianjin.
Hope Powell's side had held the World Cup favourites to a goalless scoreline at half time but the second half proved to be a bridge too far despite a valiant effort.
With Fara Williams missing through suspension, Katie Chapman returned to the centre of midfield whilst Karen Carney was also back in the starting line up, replacing Rachel Yankey on the left.
If England had been nervous before the match, they did not show it as the passed the ball around confidently during the early stages. However it did take a smart piece of goalkeeping from Rachel Brown to deny Kristine Lilly with a smothering save from a deflected Christie Rampone cross.
Kelly Smith produced a brilliant turn near the corner flag to trick her way past two USA defenders but cover was at hand and she was crowded out before she could produce a telling pass. Meanwhile there was a scare at the other end as Faye White headed clear a Stephanie Lopez cross, the ball cannoned off Lilly and rebounded just past the post.
Carney swung in a cross which saw Alex Scott and Jill Scott challenge Hope Solo in the area but an offside flag ended the England attack. The winger then tested Solo from long range following good play by Smith as England continued to match the USA during the midpoint of the first half.
There was a moment of controversy near the end of the first half as White was caught by the elbow of Abby Wambach and play was held up as the England captain was treated for what appeared to be a broken nose. Typically, she picked herself up and carried on but the USA were coming on strong at this stage. Brown made a good save from Lilly whilst Wambach volleyed over at full stretch from close range but England saw out the first half on level terms.
England made a change at half time with Rachel Yankey replacing Eniola Aluko but they found themselves behind within three minutes of the restart. A USA corner on the left, taken by Lilly, was played to the far post, where Wambach had made an unchallenged run and she rose to power a header into the back of the net.
With their tails up, the Americans chased a second goal and it took a great catch from Brown to avert further danger, holding a Lopez cross under pressure from two players but the pressure told after Jill Scott made a good challenge to win the ball from Lori Chalupny, however the midfielder was tackled by Shannon Boxx who drove a low left foot shot which Brown got a hand to but could only divert into the goal.
Three minutes later and it was 3-0. Brown misjudged the bounce from a long Solo clearance and it gave Lilly the chance to stroke the ball into the empty net and send her side on the way to the last four.
After conceding three goals in twelve minutes, England could well have folded but they picked themselves up and sought a goal which their efforts merited. Casey Stoney drove a long range shot straight at Solo and Yankey had an effort saved after cutting in from the right.
At the other end, Brown made a good stop from a well struck shot by Boxx and Anita Asante was on hand to clear. England forced a couple of late corners but they could not get a breakthrough and the final whistle signalled the end of their challenge.
England: Rachel Brown, Mary Phillip (sub Lianne Sanderson 81mins), Casey Stoney, Katie Chapman, Faye White, Anita Asante, Alex Scott, Jill Scott, Eniola Aluko (sub Rachel Yankey 45mins), Kelly Smith, Karen Carney.
USA: Hope Solo, Christie Rampone, Cat Whitehill, Shannon Boxx (sub Carli Lloyd 82mins), Heather O'Reilly, Leslie Osborne, Kristine Lilly, Stephanie Lopez, Kate Markgraf, Lori Chalupny, Abby Wambach (sub Natasha Kai 86mins).
Photo - Alex Scott is sandwiched between Kate Markgraf and Kristine Lilly (www.jamesprickett.co.uk)
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