England’s hopes of reaching their first Women’s World Cup final ended in heartbreak as captain Steph Houghton missed an 84th minute penalty in their semi-final defeat to the United States in Lyon.
First-half headers from Christen Press and Alex Morgan either-side of Ellen White’s sixth goal of the tournament proved to be enough for the World Cup holders and number one ranked side.
England threw everything at their American opponents and thought they scored the equaliser when White found the net for a second time, only for it to be ruled out by VAR.
Houghton then saw her penalty saved by the US ‘keeper Alyssa Naeher after White had been brought down in the area by Becky Sauerbrunn.
Centre-back Millie Bright was given a second yellow card four minutes from time as Phil Neville’s side bowed out in the last-four stage of a major tournament for the third time in a row.
Here was some of the reaction to a proud day by leading public figures in the UK:
— Gabby Logan (@GabbyLogan) July 3, 2019
Commiserations to the @lionesses tonight. Know that you have inspired millions with how you’ve played on the field as well as how you’ve conducted yourselves off it. We are very proud of you. #Lionesses
— Theresa May (@theresa_may) July 2, 2019
Another semifinal loss for an English side in a World Cup, but heartbreaking as it is, @Lionesses you did us proud. Well played.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 2, 2019
— Johanna Konta (@JohannaKonta) July 2, 2019
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) July 2, 2019
They gave everything.#ENG played great 2nd half but once again it the fine margins and big moments that count and make difference. So proud of the team.#FIFAWWC #Lionesses #ENGvUSA https://t.co/nfUJjA5Tv7
— Faye White (@faye_white) July 2, 2019
Horrible stage to exit a tournament but the @Lionesses did us proud. They’ve inspired a new generation of footballers.
— michael owen (@themichaelowen) July 2, 2019
To those who have recently fallen in love with our #Lionesses and to those who have been here since the beginning. Your support means the world. This thing that is happening, doesn’t end here.
Thank you x pic.twitter.com/u0qLERb7IS
— Lionesses (@Lionesses) July 2, 2019
Gutted is an understatement. We gave everything but it wasn’t to be. Small margins make the difference & unfortunately they cost us on the night. I can’t express enough how amazing all your support has been, it really does mean a lot…Thank you #Lionesses #FIFAWWC pic.twitter.com/IYRXInj6px
— Nikita Parris (@lilkeets) July 3, 2019
The US side will look to retain their World Cup crown in the final in Lyon on Sunday against either the Netherlands or Sweden whilst England will face the losers of that match in the third-place play-off match in Nice on Saturday.