- A 30th birthday to remember for Alex Morgan as USA reach Final
- Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher steals the headlines with crucial penalty save
- Christen Press makes immediate impact in place of superstar Megan Rapinoe
By Erin Fish with USA
A match-winning goal, a trip to the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ Final and a piece of birthday cake delivered by FIFA President Gianni Infantino. It was quite a 30th birthday for Alex Morgan.
USA captain Morgan scored what proved to be the winner in an epic 2-1 victory over England leaving the forward set to play in her third consecutive World Cup Final. As if that wasn’t enough, Morgan had happy birthday sung to her by the USA fans as well as the entire squad, and she also won the Visa Player of the Match.
But Morgan felt she wasn’t the one who truly deserved it, despite her key contribution.
“Alyssa Naeher, she should be the player of the match today,” Morgan said. “She saved our butts today.”
Naeher, who faced some criticism after the match against Spain, made multiple saves for USA in the past two matches, having barely been called into action during the group stage.
But her most crucial save of the tournament so far came when a VAR decision resulted in a penalty awarded against defender Becky Sauerbrunn. Steph Houghton took the spot-kick seeking to draw England level and force extra time, only for Naeher to make the block and become the first USA goalkeeper to save a penalty during a Women’s World Cup match.