Yankee do is dandy

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This is the USA’s star winger, left-wing dynamo Crystal Dunn, as Blues fans remember her from more than a year ago… scampering up and down Kingsmeadow, delivering smart crosses into the danger zone, then tracking back to bolster the defence.

Her role has changed since she left Chelsea – she’s more of a wing-back than a midfielder now – but the footballer who was the stand-out player in the USA’s surprisingly tight 2-1 win over Women’s World Cup hosts France, and who turns 27 the day after tomorrow’s crunch semi-final against England, is one of the ones to watch in the Yankee side. She now plays for North Carolina Courage.

Back home in the UK, it’s a case of cancelling the book club and ignoring the doorbell as on Tuesday evening at prime time on BBC1 the Lionesses face the Stars & Stripes, and the tension is getting unbearable.

England’s Women are on a high after a surprisingly one-sided 3-0 quarter-final win over Norway, while the USA have not been showing the total dominance and authority they had in earlier rounds.

Even the sideshow of ‘hotelgate’ – the discovery that plain-clothes USA team officials were ‘scouting for rooms’ in the England team’s hotel while the players were trying out set-pieces hasn’t put too much of a cloud over this fixture. In fact, if anything, it’s added more spice.

The last time the nations clashed produced a 2-2 draw in the SheBelieves in the States in March, with England going on to win the tournament – to the surprise of the hosts.

Captain Steph Houghton and Nikita Parris were on target for England that day, but they’ll be facing Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath, who scored for USA.

The semi-final showdown, for the right to play either the Netherlands or Sweden in the final on Sunday, is being staged in Lyon, in the stadium that Pride of the Lionesses Lucy Bronze calls home.

Four Chelsea players are in the England squad, but it’s Bronze who will get the local French supporters behind her. The Lyon crowd know their football, and having seen their side dumped out of the World Cup by the USA are likely to support the girl they’ve adopted as one of their own.