England earn draw with world champions USA in SheBelieves Cup in Nashville

England drew 2-2 with world champions the United States in their second game at the SheBelieves Cup in Nashville.

Steph Houghton’s brilliant 36th-minute free-kick gave England parity after Megan Rapinoe had put the Americans ahead moments earlier.

Nikita Parris drove England ahead after 52 minutes, but Tobin Heath levelled midway through the second period to deprive Phil Neville’s side of a second victory in the competition following an opening win against Brazil.

England had to weather an early American storm and were fortunate not to concede in the opening minute.

Rapinoe’s corner evaded Karen Bardsley with the goalkeeper complaining of being barged in the back.

But there was no whistle and Abby McManus had to be alert to stop the ball creeping over the goal-line at the far post.

The hosts dominated the opening quarter with Rachel Daly blocking a Rapinoe effort and renowned striker Alex Morgan, just one short of 100 international goals, testing Bardsley at her near post.

England were slowly settling into the game when the US, the number one ranked side in the world, took the lead after 33 minutes.

Rapinoe latched on to Daly’s headed clearance from a Kelley O’Hara cross, and she rifled home her 43rd international goal on the edge of the box.

England were level within three minutes after the debut-making home goalkeeper Adrianna Franch had been penalised for picking up a back pass.

Houghton was at an angle on the left of the penalty area, but she superbly curled the ball around the wall and into the corner of the net for her 12th England goal.

England were ahead seven minutes after the restart when Parris controlled Fran Kirby’s excellent pass and drove a low shot across the helpless Franch.

Ellen White almost added a third when she pounced on indecision in the American defence, but her snapshot went wide of a post.

It was to prove a costly miss as the US levelled when England failed to clear inside their six-yard box and Heath eventually prodded home after an almighty scramble.

Both sides pressed in an end-to-end finale, but neither side could find the winner and England joined Japan – who had beaten Brazil 3-1 earlier in the day – on four points after two games.

England will now play Japan in Tampa on Tuesday and the winner will be guaranteed to take home the SheBelieves Cup.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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