The United States Women’s National Team host their England counterparts in a matchup between the two favorites for the SheBelieves Cup 2020 at the Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida on Thursday (7pm ET live on ESPN2 and TUDN).
This is the fifth running of the four-team round-robin friendly tournament. Team USA and England have been involved in all four of the previous runnings and are this time joined by a debuting Spain and a Japan side making their second appearance in the competition.
England were the winners of the 2019 SheBelieves Cup, but it is the United States who should be the favored side this time around. The 2020 edition acts as an early warm-up for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where the U.S. Women will be seeking a fifth gold medal after a highly disappointing performance in Rio de Janeiro four years ago.
They certainly look worthy of their status as favorites for both competitions. USWNT lifted last year’s soccer World Cup, are undefeated in more than a year and have won 24 of their last 25 internationals. The switchover from previous head coach Jill Ellis, winner of consecutive World Cups, to Vlatko Andonovski has so far occurred without incident.
That is partly because there has been very little player turnover since last summer’s World Cup. Twenty of the 23-woman squad who triumphed in France are again in the selection for the SheBelieves Cup, including Golden Ball and Golden Boot winner Megan Rapinoe. Even 37-year-old Carli Lloyd is still around. Alex Morgan, expecting her first child in April, is the the most high-profile absentee.
Neither are the three players set to be involved this month who weren’t part of the World Cup group fresh faces. Andi Sullivan already has 16 caps, Lynn Williams has 25 and Casey Short has 31. Some younger players have been involved in training camps since Andonovski took charge, but at least in the run-up to the Olympics, the team will be formed from a stable squad of accomplished performers.
USA had a couple of wobbles along the way to success last summer, but they are still the best team in women’s soccer. In the short term, at least, they are likely to remain so, if only for their firepower in attack.
England made it through to the final four of the World Cup, only to lose to the American women. Christen Press gave the eventual winners an early lead, which Morgan fairly swiftly restored after England had equalized through Ellen White. It was a good showing for England in Phil Neville’s first major tournament as head coach, but one they seem to have since struggled to build upon.
Indeed, England come into the SheBelieves Cup opener on the back of two wins, one draw and three defeats in their six internationals since that tournament. They conceded two or more goals in five of those matches. That was hardly the ideal preparation for a date with the United States. Defensive work has apparently been a focus of recent training sessions.
There has also been more tinkering with the squad than on the US side. Neville’s selection for this tournament sees eight changes to the group who competed in France last summer.
The absence through injury of Fran Kirby and Lucy Bronze, a standout performer at the World Cup, will be felt. Other experienced players have been left out in favor of new faces. There are three uncapped players among seven with five or less caps to their credit. Of those, Everton’s Chloe Kelly, a wide forward with a keen eye for goal, is one to watch.
The impression is that England look weaker than they did at this time last year, when they triumphed in the 2019 SheBelieves Cup with wins over Brazil and Japan and a 2-2 draw with the United States in Nashville, Tennessee. Unless they can pull off what would be a surprise win over the hosts on Thursday, a repeat performance is unlikely.
Our Preview’s United States Women vs England Betting Picks & Predictions Conclusion
The US should begin a tournament they can be expected to win with a relatively comfortable victory over England. These are our USWNT vs England predictions:
- The American offshore bookmakers have been typically slow to produce odds on this important women’s international soccer game. One or two have finally woken and published their betting lines, we advise a bet on United States -1 goal on the spread @ -110 with Bovada. This wager can be found against their soccer “game lines” in the “international friendly womens” category, which is strange as this match is not a friendly. 5Dimes are -114 for the same spread.