The 2019 Women’s World Cup is bracing itself for a clash of heavyweights when the U.S. women’s national team meet with England in the semi-finals on Tuesday, with both sides absolutely overflowing with individual and collective talent.The USWNT have been strong frontrunners to win a historic fourth World Cup title, while England have emerged as surprisingly strong dark horses, finishing top of their group ahead of Japan and securing comprehensive victories against Cameroon and Norway.Tuesday’s game is looking to be a fixture involving some of the very best talent in the world, and Goal has rounded up the best players from both teams. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Alex Morgan hit the ground running in France, scoring 5 goals against Thailand and registering two assists. She has netted over a century of goals for the USWNT, making her part of an elite club of just seven footballers, and is one of the most prolific goalscorers on her team. While she started her World Cup campaign with a flourish, she hasn’t netted or assisted in the four games since – but that doesn’t mean that she hasn’t been any less of a key team player. Morgan’s skill lies in her ability to take on different roles in her team, shifting from an attacking player to a more holding role and finding the wings.“The kudos to Alex is that she has a balance in her game, in terms of penetration or, like in the France game, being more of a player who can hold the ball up for us,” said Ellis.“Sometimes you get one or the other but Alex has worked on that and has that balance.”Another USWNT star talent is Megan Rapinoe, who goes in to Tuesday’s semi-final with five goals – currently a four-way tie for the Golden Boot – and is a lethal and remarkably skilled left winger. She converted two penalties against Spain in the round of 16 and scored two vitals goals against early favourites France in the quarters, both finishing in 2-1 victories.Rapinoe co-captains the side along with fellow veterans Morgan and Carli Lloyd, and her influence extends off the pitch. Rapinoe, an openly gay woman and vocal member of the LGBTQ+ community, was the first white player to kneel during the national anthem – following in the footsteps of footballer Colin Kaepernick – in 2016. She has also openly spoken about her refusal to accept an invitation from the White House should her side win the World Cup, and has been embroiled in a feud with the president. Lindsey Horan is considered to be one of the best players in the world with her commanding physical presence. She scored twice in the group stage against Thailand and Sweden, though was benched for the round of 16 and quarter-final fixtures. She is a vital midfield presence and one of the team’s best headers of the ball on set pieces – as well as the reigning National Women’s Soccer League MVP.The likes of Julie Ertz, Crystal Dunn and Tobin Heath are also standout performers for the defending world champions.From the Lionesses, defender Lucy Bronze – who plays for Lyon and has been hailed by her manager Phil Neville as the best player in the world – created England’s first two goals and scored a brilliant third in the 3-0 quarter-final win over Norway.“She should win the Ballon d’Or,” Neville told reporters. “She’s the best player in the world.”Forward Nikita Parris has been one of the Lionesses’ stars so far, and will be key if they are to beat the USWNT, despite missing two of her last three penalties. Parris, who has just signed for Lyon, missed consecutive spot-kicks against Argentina and Norway but is still one of Neville’s most vital players, and struck against Scotland in the opening 2-1 victory.Ellen White is facing competition from USWNT duo Morgan and Rapinoe in her race for the Golden Boot, with all three currently tied at five goals. Having moved from being played out on the wing during the 2017 European Championships to now playing as a full-on No.9, White has been a prolific goalscorer – with her technique and ability being compared to that of Alan Shearer and Michael Owen, though she’s only got one former England international on her mind.“I put on a podcast before the game – That Peter Crouch Podcast,” White told reporters. “Something that is a little bit different to playing football. It’s quite nice to relax you.
SPOKANE, Wash. — Chandler Smith scored 20 points, including two late free throws, as Gonzaga beat No. 8 Stanford 79-73 on Sunday.Katie Campbell and Jill Townsend scored 15 points each for Gonzaga (8-1), which won for the second time in 10 games against Stanford. The Bulldogs’ only loss this season is to No. 1 Notre Dame.Kiana Williams scored 18 for Stanford (6-1), which was enjoying its best start in six seasons. All six Stanford wins this season were by at least 22 points.Stanford was hurt by woefully shooting in the first three quarters, as the Zags outshot them 54 per cent to 43 per cent in the game. Gonzaga also outrebounded the Cardinal 38-24.Gonzaga closed the second quarter with a 13-4 run, as Stanford missed nine of its last 10 shots, to lead 43-32 at halftime.Stanford made just 2 of 12 shots in the third quarter as the Bulldogs took a 58-41 lead.The Cardinal found the range early in the fourth, outscoring the Zags 10-3 to cut the deficit to 61-51 with nearly seven minutes left.Stanford pressed and the Zags started making turnovers and missing shots.Dijonai Carrington’s basket and free throw cut Stanford’s deficit to 65-62 with 4:16 left. Townsend’s 3-pointer with 2 minutes left put Gonzaga up 70-64.Stanford cut the lead to 74-71 on Carrington’s basket with 37 seconds left, but Smith’s jumper put the Zags up 76-71 with 10 seconds left.Williams sank a pair of free throws to cut Gonzaga’s lead to 76-73 with 9 seconds left.Jenn Wirth hit one free throw and Smith a pair to ice the win.BIG PICTUREStanford: The game was a homecoming for Stanford freshman twins Lacie and Lexie Hull, who grew up in the Spokane area. Lexie is hampered by an injured foot and did not play. The Cardinal came in averaging 87 points per game, 11th in the nation, while Gonzaga averages 65.9.Gonzaga: The Bulldogs’ only previous win in the series was in 2016 at Stanford. Gonzaga lost to Stanford in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Gonzaga senior guard Laura Stockton, who leads the team in assists, is the daughter of Gonzaga legend John Stockton. Several members of the top-ranked Gonzaga men’s team attended the game.UP NEXTStanford hosts No. 4 Baylor on Dec. 15Gonzaga hosts Washington State next Sunday.___More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25Nicholas K. Geranios, The Associated Press