‘Nothing wrong’ with USA’s celebrations against England at Women’s World Cup, says Kelly Smith on talkSPORT

3 Jul

England legend Kelly Smith has told talkSPORT there was nothing wrong with the United States’ celebrations during and after their World Cup semi-final victory.

The Lionesses lost 2-1 in Lyon, after Ellen White had a goal ruled out for offside via VAR and Steph Houghton missed a late penalty which would have put the game into extra-time.

Ellen White fired England level before Alex Morgans winner – with Houghton going on to later miss a penalty
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The USA were blasted for being ’arrogant’ in the build-up to Tuesday’s clash – which broke UK TV audience records for a Women’s football match.

And they were criticised further after star striker Alex Morgan taunted England with a ‘tea-sipping’ celebration, while England captain Haughton branded US midfielder Lindsey Horan ‘disrespectful’ for interrupting a post-match interview by loudly celebrating with a team-mate in the media area.

Morgan’s celebration, in particular, sparked a huge reaction on Twitter.

But England’s record goalscorer, Smith, says the world’s number one team had every right to celebrate ‘however they wanted’ after reaching their third consecutive World Cup final.

Speaking on Wednesday’s Sports Breakfast, the former striker said: “Do you know what, they’re the number one team in the world, they’re hungry and successful and it doesn’t bother me one bit.

“I took my boot off and kissed in 2007 and I got told I was arrogant.

Kelly Smith began kissing her boot after scoring during her peak for England – seen here against Japan in the 2007 World Cup
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“You live for these moments. You train your whole life for that moment. So when you score in the World Cup semi-final you can celebrate how you want.

“It doesn’t bother me one bit.”

Despite the disappointment of the result, and their manager Phil Neville saying before the game not reaching the final would be classed as failure, Smith says the Lionesses can come home with their heads held high after a brilliant tournament.

They could still come away with a bronze medal, after all, as they will take on either Netherlands or Sweden in Saturday’s third-place play-off.

“When you play the USA, you have to play at your best,” added the ex-Arsenal Ladies forward.

The United States were just too good for England, with Morgan scoring her sixth goal of the tournament
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“They’ve reached their third World Cup final in a row and they’re the best team in the world so you have to raise your game.

“It was always going to be a difficult game for us, and I thought we had enough to do it, but the girls should be proud of themselves.

“They shifted the perception of the women’s game, they made TV viewing history, and I just hope they can bring that bronze medal home on Saturday.”

Listen back to Kelly Smith on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast IN FULL above