USA vs England - SheBelieves Cup preview 

Thursday, March 5th, 2020 4:02pm

By Ali McDowall

All eyes are on Phil Neville’s Lionesses as the SheBelieves Cup holders take on World Cup winners USA for the first time since their semi-final defeat in France. 

12 months on from their triumph in Tampa, the Lionesses return to American soil tasked with defending their only title to date and Phil Neville is under pressure to deliver. 

In last year’s tournament England came in as underdogs, managing to pull off a shock to claim the trophy. They find themselves in similar circumstances this time around following a poor run of form since being dumped out of the World Cup last summer to the USA. 

Two wins from seven since that semi-final defeat for Neville’s side leaves him desperately needing a win to prolong his tenure in the England job. 

The manager has thrown caution to the wind to defend their crown and made some bold choices, including calling up three uncapped players in the squad for the tournament.

Should he arrive back at London Heathrow empty-handed in 12 days’ time it may prove difficult to shake off the ‘same old England’ tag that has long blighted their male counterparts.

Meanwhile the United States come into this one brimming with confidence off the back of an extraordinary 28-game unbeaten streak in which they have scored two or more goals on 25 occasions.

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They are unbeaten in 12 matches in all competitions against European opposition, winning the last 10 with an aggregate score of 29-5.

Furthermore, the USA have scored in 56 consecutive matches averaging over three goals a game in that time and have only lost 10 times since 2015. 

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However it must be noted that the hosts tonight could be considered to be in a transition period themselves. Two-time World Cup winning Head Coach Jill Ellis recently stepped down from the role, with Vlatko Andonovski stepping into the hot seat having recently spent two years at Reign FC in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Add to that the fact that England have only beaten the US twice, the current World Cup holders are almost certain to come away with a positive result.

USA are by far the favourites to win in Tampa and with the Lionesses’ in such mixed form, it could turn into a very disappointing evening for Neville's side.

Team News

USA

Vlatko Andonovski will be without star player Alex Morgan. The USA legend is currently pregnant and so will miss this year's competition.

England

Neville meanwhile will have to deal with two key players missing this one; Lucy Bronze, arguable England's best player is out injured as to is Arsenal's Beth Mead. 

Goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck, who has been in outstanding form for Manchester City this season, is a doubt after picking up an injury in her side's 3-3 draw with title-chasing Chelsea recently. 

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