The forecast projected rain, thunderstorms and hail. Everything held off, but fans were still treated to some fireworks.
The SheBelieves Cup kicked off at Talen Energy Stadium, with England playing France and the US Women’s National Team battling Germany. In the first game, France scored an extra-time goal to steal three points in a 2-1 victory, while the USWNT sent the Philadelphia faithful home happy with a 1-0 win.
The US debut its all-red kits, with the German side wearing its teal kits. The first half featured a few scoring chances, mostly facilitated by South Jersey’s own Carli Lloyd, but ultimately both teams headed into halftime without a goal. It was until the second half that the US had sustained offense with scoring chances.
In the 56th minute, Christen Press stole the ball in the midfield and ran into the attacking third, striking a rocket on net. The ball went past the diving German keeper, but hit the crossbar, finding its way to Tobin Heath. Heath worked the ball into the middle of the box, with Lynn Williams waiting. Williams caught the ball and kicked it into the open net, igniting the crowd of 16,318. The goal was Williams’ second career goal and first game winner.
In the early match, England and France kicked off the tournament with a deeply contested game. England and France played a tactical game, focused on possession. England struck first in the 32nd minute, with Jordan Nobbs finding twine on a pass from Jill Scott. England carried the lead into halftime, but the pitch was tilting toward France’s favor. That trend continued into the second half, with France mounting more and more counter attacks. The French side finally broke through in the 80th minute on a goal from Marie-Laure Delie. In the 5th minute of extra time, France got a corner, and Amel Majri put the cross into the box, where Wendie Renard headed it home. A few seconds later, the final whistled sounded, giving France the 2-1 lead.
The USWNT win moves their record to 5-0-0 at Talen Energy Stadium. The US is also undefeated in the SheBelieves Cup, going 3-0-0 during the 2016 tournament. France’s victory was the first SheBelieves Cup win in its history.
The SheBelieves Cup continues in Harrison, N.J, on March 4, with the USWNT facing off against England and France playing Germany. The tournament will conclude on March 7 in Washington, D.C., where the US will play France and Germany will battle England.