A spirited England side suffered a narrow defeat to world champions USA in their opening game of the inaugural SheBelieves Cup.

The hosts fielded a weaker than usual side, with only 5 survivors from the World Cup Final XI, whilst the Lionesses started with a host of familiar faces.

A dull first half saw little action until questionably the most controversial moment of the game arrived. Neat work between Jodie Taylor and Toni Duggan saw Taylor burst into the box, but Becky Sauerbrunn’s interception hit the USA defender’s hand, but all penalty claims were turned down.

The game burst into life in the second half as England began to take control. Jordan Nobbs performed gallantly in midfield to prevent a number of balls reaching the prolific Carli Lloyd, whilst the Three Lions’ defence did their own sterling job, who USA found hard to break down.

The first real action of the half saw Alex Morgan released by Lindsay Horan but Karen Bardsley did well to save from the tight angle.

England should have taken the lead when Toni Duggan was put through on goal, and with the USA defender tracking back, shot at an impressive Hope Solo, failing to see an unmarked Jodie Taylor to her left.

It was to take a moment of brilliance to break the deadlock in this tight game. Brought on five minutes previously, Crystal Dunn took advantage of lacklustre England defending down the left, was allowed to cut inside, and sweetly curled the ball into the top corner past a helpless Bardsley.

England play Germany in Tennessee on Sunday, while USA play France.

Teams:

USA: Solo, Pugh (Dunn), Sauerbrunn, O’Hara (Krieger), Klingenberg (Engen), Lloyd, Morgan (Johnson), Brian, Sonnett, Heath, Horan (Press). Unused subs: Harris, Naeher, Mewis, O’Reilly, Hinkle, Barnes.

England: Bardsley, Bronze, Flaherty, Houghton, Greenwood (Christiansen), Williams (Carney), Nobbs, J.Scott, Stokes, Taylor (Kiby), Duggan (Aluko). Unused subs: A.Scott, Chamberlain, Rafferty, Stoney, Bassett, Chapman, Telford, Davison.