Oct 7 (Reuters) - An early goal by Lauren Hemp and a penalty from Georgia Stanway helped European champions England beat World champions United States 2-1 in a friendly at Wembley Stadium on Friday in a test for both sides ahead of next year's World Cup.
England, who were without the services of their injured captain Leah Williamson, returned to Wembley in front of 76,893 supporters for the first time since winning the European Championship in July.
Hemp tapped the ball home in the 10th minute to open the scoring for England after Beth Mead's cross found her on the edge of the six-yard box.
U.S. forward Sophia Smith smashed the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area in the 28th minute to level the scores, but parity lasted just five minutes.
England retook the lead when midfielder Stanway scored from the penalty spot after Hailie Mace was adjudged to have fouled Lucy Bronze after the VAR spotted a high boot to the face.
The U.S. thought they had levelled before the break when Trinity Rodman fired home from inside the box in the 34th minute after Megan Rapinoe teed her up with a backheel but the goal was disallowed by VAR for offside in the build-up.
Both sides spurned a host of chances early in the second half.
Smith could have scored her second in the 47th minute but her effort went just wide while England forward Chloe Kelly was off target in the 54th and Lucy Bronze hammered another shot into the side netting a minute later.
Rapinoe threatened to score in the 60th minute after she collected a cross from Lindsey Horan but her shot was deflected by England defender Millie Bright.
The U.S. were awarded a penalty in the 80th minute for a handball by Hemp but the decision was quickly overturned following a VAR review as the ball had not struck the England player on the arm.
"USA played as we expected, they gave us hard times sometimes. I thought we played well in moments, better first half than second," England manager Sarina Wiegman told ITV Sport.
"Whatever happens we know this is just a starting point for the World Cup, but it shows you are at a very high level."
'PROTECT THE PLAYERS'
All of the players were wearing teal armbands to show their solidarity with sexual abuse victims in the U.S. National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and were seen holding a banner saying "protect the players" ahead of the match.
An independent investigation this week showed abuse and misconduct "had become systemic" in the American top-flight and that the league, teams and governing body, U.S. Soccer, failed to adequately protect players.
"It was a very special moment when the players got together and had the banner in front of them," U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said.
"It gave me goosebumps to see the support from the fans who applauded that moment... It was a statement that we have to stop the sexual violence, and the players did an incredible job using this game and this event as a platform to fight against it."
England host Czech Republic in their next friendly on Oct. 11 when the U.S. travel to Spain.
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