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The United States defeated England 22-12 to make its way into the semi-finals at the Sao Paolo 7s. A strong first half, with two tries from Kristen Thomas, paved the way for the Eagles first semi-final appearance in this year’s circuit.
The Eagles got off to a fast start after receiving the kickoff. They immediately swung the ball left to Kristen Thomas but the winger looked to be bottled up. Thomas appeared to be ready to spin the ball back right, and then suddenly attacked her opposite number. With a stiff arm, Thomas went around the outside and broke away from the England defense. She immediately cut inside and blew past the England sweeper for a try under the posts.
The United States turned over England on the ensuing kickoff and worked the ball through phases. Alev Kelter ended with the ball and broke through the line. It took three England defenders to bring her down near the goal line leaving Bui Baravilala an opening for a an easy pick and go score. The conversion was missed and the Eagles led 12-0.
After breaking through the line, England looked to have an easy score with a two on one advantage. In a nightmare scenario for England, there was a miscommunication. One player went for a switch while the ball went flying to ground to the right. The ball bounced right into the arms of a backtracking Thomas. The speedy winger took the ball the distance of the field for an untouched try right as the hooter sounded. Rather than a one score game at the break, the Eagles led 17-0 at the start of the second half.
Ferocious tackling by the United States stymied England at the start of the second half. The Eagles forced England into phase after phase of limited gains until a penalty. Off the penalty, Heather Fisher took a switch ball and darted through the defense for England’s first score of the game.
At 17-10, England turned over the Eagles on the restart. The ball went from right to left and Fisher found Joanne Watmore for a try in the corner. England missed the conversion, however, and the Eagles maintained 17-12 lead.
England won another penalty on the restart but quickly committed one of its own for failing to release the ball. The United States was the recipient of a bit of luck after the penalty as the ball went to ground. Ryan Carlyle kicked the ball right into the hands of Jessica Javalet who outflanked the defense from inside the Eagle half. She took it the distance for the score. With less than two minutes to play, the score sealed the match for the Eagles.
England worked down the field with no time left despite trailing 22-12. Eventually, the Europeans knocked the ball on and the game ended. With the victory, the United States advanced to the semi-finals against Australia at 1:12 PM EST.