Perseverance, sweat, tears, VAR and pure-as-it-comes belief – it still wasn’t enough to stop England suffering a heartbreaking Women’s World Cup semi-final defeat to the U.S.And this was as heartbreaking as they come for the Lionesses. A missed penalty by captain Steph Houghton, a goal disallowed by mere inches that could have secured Ellen White’s Golden Boot – it was excruciating.There was absolutely no shame in their loss, coming to the reigning world champions and upsetting no odds whatsoever after they rallied with everything they had to come back – even when reduced to 10. 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 There was no hiding from it either. In a cauldron of noise in the Stade de Lyon, chants of “U-S-A” rang around the ground as the players slumped to the grass, aware of just how close they had come to making the country’s first-ever Women’s World Cup final.But after years of disappointment, their performances in France bookended 12 months that have seen England fall back in love with their national teams – with the Lionesses themselves breaking countless TV records back home with each game.And, among the millions tuning in at home, there will be many whose stereotypes and stigmas around women’s football were rightfully changed on Tuesday night.It’s become an unfortunate theme in modern football that the most hyped-up games don’t live up to expectation.For recent examples, watch France’s clash with the USA in the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals, or the men’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham.But when a game bucks that trend, surviving all the build-up to produce an absolute spectacle, it rightfully earns its place among the classics.This game perfectly fit that criteria.This was a blockbuster movie of a football match, complete with all the drama and plot twists that the best have.The United States assumed the role of the villain from the start of this tournament. The reigning champions, the team everybody wanted to beat – plus, they met the tournament hosts in the quarters.They seemed happy to assume that role from the off. Anyone still on the fence about their feelings for this team was quickly swayed one side or the other when Ali Krieger said: “We have the best team in the world, and the second-best team in the world.”Annoying arrogance or commendable confidence? Depends which side you are on.England have never been the neutral’s favourite. Their renditions of ‘It’s Coming Home’ at last summer’s World Cup rubbed many people up the wrong way, particularly Croatia, who duly dumped them out in the semi-finals.But as the plucky underdog in this tale, especially when drowned out by the sea of American fans who had flooded into Lyon for the clash, they were the choice of many – particularly the French.“A lot of people at Lyon have text me over the past two days. They didn’t text at the start of the tournament, but since France have gone, they’ve sent me a few messages,” Lucy Bronze said before the game.“I’ve had a few messages saying good luck, beat the USA for us. So I think we have a few more supporters than we normally have in the French.”England women’s manager Phil Neville predicted as much in his pre-match press conference, but light-heartedly and reluctantly. Yet, when the Stade de Lyon opened on Tuesday evening, the locals were wearing the colours of England, with St George’s Cross painted on their faces.It was going to take everything for the Lionesses to beat the U.S. and they tried everything.The mind games added a dramatic twist to things just before kick-off, with England’s line-up absolutely unpredictable while Megan Rapinoe – the undoubted star of Jill Ellis’ side – was on the bench.U.S. Soccer refused to comment on whether it was an injury, adding further chaos. Rapinoe stood on the sideline, fully kitted with her boots on, and watched her team-mates warm up, begging the question – is she really injured, or was this a mind game?Neville tried similar. When asked about the match up of Bronze and Rapinoe before the game, he suggested Rachel Daly could play that position and Bronze could be deployed in midfield, as happened when these two played out a 2-2 draw in March.It wasn’t until at least 10 minutes into the match that regular followers of England could figure out just what the starting XI was.The teams that took to the sparkling Lyon field could have tipped the scales from hype to over-hype – but it wouldn’t be the case.This was 90 minutes of relentless, attacking, unpredictable football, so much so that fans of defending should have been warned when switching on to watch.Three goals by half-time – all of great quality but from bad defending – summed up the end-to-end nature of this exhilarating affair.The heartbreaking scenes came in White seeing a goal ruled out for offside by VAR, and when captain Houghton stepped up to take a pivotal penalty, which was saved by Alyssa Naeher.It had everything for the neutrals, but at the end of the day, not everyone is a neutral.“Americans love winners,” Hope Solo said before the game.These England players will get a hero’s welcome all the same when they return home, just as they did in their heart-breaking 2015 semi-final defeat. But not the winner’s medal they wanted.
A TNA statement meanwhile said that the TNA, comprising of five constituent parties, met at the TNA office today to consider the nomination of the candidate for the post of Chief Minister of the Northern Province. While most TNA members feel Mavai Senathirajah is the best candidate since he has been in the North most of his life, others feel Wigneswaran may be best with his legal background. (Colombo Gazette) “It was unanimously resolved that the candidate for the position of Chief Minister at the forthcoming Provincial Council elections for the Northern Province would be Mr C V Wigneswaran, a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. Other nominations will be finalized in due course by the TNA,” the TNA said. Former Supreme Court Judge C.V.Wigneswaran has nominated as the Chief Ministerial candidate for the Northern Provincial Council elections by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).TNA leader R. Sampanthan said that the decision to nominate Wigneswaran was taken at a decisive meeting held by the TNA today. The TNA further added that Wigneswaran is a much respected public personality and the TNA appeals to the voters in the Northern Province to wholeheartedly support him, the Chief Minister candidate of the TNA and all other candidates who will be nominated for election.There was a rift in the TNA over the nomination with the northern members of the Illangai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) threatening to contest the Northern Provincial council polls independently if Vigneswaran is nominated as the Chief Ministerial candidate by the TNA for the polls. ITAK is a coalition member of the TNA and they want TNA General Secretary Mavai Senathirajah to be nominated for the post while TNA leader R. Sampanthan was backing Wigneswaran.According to reports, ITAK members in Jaffna, Vavuniya and also Trincomalee in the East have sent a letter to the TNA leader strongly opposing moves to nominate Wigneswaran.If the TNA appoints Wigneswaran then ITAK members in Jaffna, Vavuniya, Kilionochchi and Mannar have said they will contest the Northern polls independently and not under the TNA ticket.