LYON • Alex Morgan powered home the winning header against England to help the United States reach the Women's World Cup final on Tuesday but it was her "tea-sipping" goal celebration that has caused a stir.
After putting the Americans 2-1 up in the 31st minute, the striker ran to the sideline and stopped to sip an imaginary cup of tea, sparking a slew of memes and American Revolution references on social media.
The victory came two days before today's Independence Day in the United States, which commemorates the Declaration of Independence from Britain in 1776.
Morgan came in for some criticism for the celebration, with England international Lianne Sanderson describing it as "distasteful".
"I think tonight I expected Alex to grab a goal, but I'm not that happy with that celebration," Juventus striker Sanderson told beIN Sports. "I could be wrong but it's based upon playing against England and we love our tea in England. I'm not a tea drinker but that's what we're connected with, so I think it's a little bit distasteful."
Morgan said the celebration was her way of responding to the US critics, who have accused the defending champions of arrogance.
"I wanted to keep it interesting," she said. "I know Megan Rapinoe has the best celebration (spreading her arms in an outstretched, triumphant pose). I had to try and step up this game.
"I feel like this team have had so much thrown at them and us. I feel like we didn't take an easy route through this tournament and 'that's the tea'."
I feel like this team have had so much thrown at them and us. I feel like we didn't take an easy route through this tournament and 'that's the tea'.
ALEX MORGAN, US striker, explaining her celebration after scoring against England in Tuesday's semi-final match.
It was Morgan's sixth goal of the World Cup, putting her level with Ellen White - who had earlier scored England's equaliser - at the top of the scorers' chart.
It was also a much-needed goal for the striker, who had not found the net since scoring five in the defending champions' record-breaking 13-0 humiliation of Thailand in their opening match.
"Obviously it felt good to get on the scoresheet and to get the game-winning goal. We had the goals early and we had to hold on," said Morgan, in her second stint at Europe's leading club Lyon after an earlier spell in 2017.
"I just saw all my teammates being so emotional after the game. We have put so much into this journey together and now we have one more game to close it out."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE