Mead says England’s semi-final loss to the USA in the World Cup has made the team ‘hungrier’ for success
BETH MEAD joked she prefers coffee when asked about her memories of Alex Morgan’s famous tea-sipping celebration at the 2019 World Cup.
The USA striker, 33, went viral on social media with her cuppa-drinking antics after netting in her side’s 2-1 semi-final defeat of the Lionesses.
Back then, the celebration left some England fans irked.
However, Mead, 27, acknowledged the Euros-winning Lionesses, who play the USA at Wembley, have come a long way since that result.
Mead, who was named England Women’s Player of the Year prize, said: “It was a tough game and a tough result to take.
“We took it hard, but it’s made us hungrier and more motivated to prove ourselves against a world-class American team.
“We’re looking forward to seeing where we are now (against them).”
Tomorrow’s clash between the Euros champions and the four-time World Cup winners is set to be played in front of a packed at Wembley
In August 65,000 tickets for the game were flogged in the space of 24 hours.
It is thought the match may see the Lionesses smash the attendance record they set in July when 87,912 came to watch their Euros final defeat of Germany at the ground.
The game will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the England Women’s team and heroines who blazed a trail for today’s current stars following the Lionesses’ very first match in 1972.
More than 100 former players are expected at Wembley.
Among this group will be pioneers from the 1972 side, who beat Scotland 3-2 in the Lionesses’ inaugural fixture in November of that year.
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Members of that side, including Lynda Hale who scored for England in that game, expressed disappointment at never having received official caps
Tomorrow night the players will be presented with bespoke Lionesses caps as part of a celebration of their achievements.
Mead added: “We know as players we wouldn’t be here today without the women (that came) before us.
“They are incredible women and it’s nice to celebrate what they’ve done as much as what we’ve done.”
Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses will face a USA outfit currently ranked the world’s number-one international women’s side
The team, who have won four World Cups are, like England, regarded among the favourites to triumph in the tournament in Australia and New Zealand next year.
Some fans feel tonight’s game could serve as a precursor if the sides were to go head-to-head in the World Cup next summer.
However, US head coach Vlatko Andonovski said: “It’s going to be a good show, but this isn’t actually as important as a game because the importance is not a World Cup or an Olympic medal.
“But still there’s some importance because of the preparation for (next year’s) World Cup.”
England’s duel with the USA comes in a week in which the women’s top flight in the United States has come under scrutiny following a damning report on abuse of players.
The investigation revealed that “verbal and emotional abuse and sexual misconduct had become systemic” in the National Women’s Soccer League”.
England boss Sarina Wiegman, who spent a year of her playing career at North Carolina Tar Heels, said: “My first reaction is that it’s horrible, unacceptable.
“I feel very sorry for all the victims, and it should stop immediately of course.
“I think it’s a worldwide problem still and it’s time we stepped up to stop these things.”
Mead added: “I was quite sickened when I found out. Women need to be taken seriously a lot more.
“I’m proud of the victims that stood up. People need to start doing better.”