England were beaten 2-1 by World Cup holders USA in front of over 53,000 in Lyon, having looked like forcing extra-time with a late spot kick but Steph Houghton’s effort was saved.
The USA enjoyed a strong start and when Christen Press had a free header at the far post, she powered it into the top corner beyond Carly Telford.
England hit back inside 20 minutes when Beth Mead’s ball into the box was met by Ellen White and her effort went in off the inside of the post.
A second unchallenged header allowed the Americans to regain the lead though, this time Alex Morgan finding the net.
Lionesses’ Keira Walsh brought a fine save out of Alyssa Naeher from distance and another strike of hers nearly forced an own-goal.
After the break, White had seemingly netted a second equaliser from Jill Scott’s through ball but VAR showed her to have been marginally offside.
The same player won a penalty thanks to VAR with 7 minutes of the ninety left but her skipper’s strike was scuffed and comfortably gathered by the keeper.
Millie Bright was later sent off for a second bookable offence.
The match attracted a record-breaking peak TV audience of 11.7m, apparently making it the most-watched television programme of the year so far.
The Lionesses now have to gather themselves for Saturday afternoon’s third place play off against either Netherlands or Sweden.