Pre-Game WORLD CUP HYPE: WNT vs. England

By Ryan Rosenblatt / VOAO

“It’s coming home. It’s coming home. It’s coming

Football’s coming home.”

England may be the ~ home of football ~ and invented the game, blah blah blah. But when it comes to women’s football, England ain’t it.

This is the United States’ game.

Is that arrogant? To a degree yes, but it is earned arrogance. Three World Cup titles, four Olympic golds and a greater collection of the best players the sport has ever seen than any other country – bar none.

The U.S. is the favorite in damn near every match it steps on the field for, and that will be the case on Tuesday when they square off against the Lionesses in the World Cup semifinals. That would be the Lionesses second-ever World Cup final. The Americans have never not made the semifinals of a World Cup.

The narrative is right there. It’s the queens against the upstarts. The country that has owned the sport since the very first World Cup in 1991 against the country that became a true contender in the last five years.

But it’s worth focusing on that last part – England are true contenders now.

They finished third in 2015 and have cruised in each of their matches this tournament, with a pair of 3-0 wins in the round of 16 and quarterfinals. Lucy Bronze is among the best players in the world, Ellen White is the World Cup’s joint leader in goals and they’ve got a squad that goes nearly 20 deep, giving Phil Neville a lot of tactical choices to throw at the U.S. like when he moved Bronze from fullback to defensive midfield in their last match-up to slow down the American attack.

Simply put, the Lionesses are good.

England’s top flight of professional women’s soccer has gone fully professional and many of the biggest men’s clubs in the country are now putting tons more money into the women’s sides. Add in a renewed commitment from the FA and you have a team that can give the U.S. fits.

So it’s the queens against the upstarts.

Are the Americans still the queens? Can they fend off the stalwarts of the men’s game who have finally started investing in the women’s game?

It’s time to fight for the crown.