LUCY BRONZE took the headlines, rightly, for her stunning strike that rounded off victory against Norway. And Ellen White’s five goals may have elevated her to superstar status. But it is captain and leader Steph Houghton who is England’s rock. The Manchester City defender always seems to be in the right place at the right time to sniff out danger and has made vital interceptions and clearances. She also scored against Cameroon and takes a mean free-kick.
At this stage four years ago England were huge underdogs against eventual runners-up Japan. Mark Sampson’s side had done well just to get to the last four it seemed, although Laura Bassett’s unfortunate injury-time own goal was a cruel way to go out. This time it is a new England built by Phil Neville, with a brand of passing football and star turns all over the pitch, who will take to the field tonight. The US are a brilliant team but just watch those Lionesses roar.
Crystal Dunn, who spent a season at Chelsea in 2017-18, will have the job of tracking the runs of the marauding Bronze down the England right. Teams are not managing to effectively stifle the Lyon full-back, who is the Lionesses’ biggest creative force and is rewriting the very definition of right-back. Dunn is a good defender who also likes to get forward and has 24 international goals but should be concerned about leaving the back door open.
In the spotlight after her spat with Donald Trump, winger Megan Rapinoe (pictured) is joint top scorer at the tournament with team-mate Alex Morgan and England’s own White. Rapinoe also has three assists as she has fully emerged from the shadow of more celebrated American stars Morgan and Carli Lloyd, and is a real danger to England.
■ Watch the game live on BBC1 at 8pm