UNITED States forward Alex Morgan has defended her tea-drinking celebration in the World Cup semi-final win over England and said there was a “double standard” in the treatment of women players.

A glancing header from the Orlando Pride striker proved decisive in a 2-1 win for the holders, with the Lionesses having a second-half goal disallowed for offside and then also missing a penalty.

Morgan celebrated her goal by sticking out her little finger and pretending to sip tea, which some felt was done to mock England.

The 30-year-old, though, insisted it was intended to represent the phrase “that’s the tea” – which is used by English actor Sophie Turner on her Instagram stories and is also a slang word for gossip.

Morgan, who has six goals at the Women’s World Cup so far alongside England’s Ellen White, believes she has been singled out unfairly given what men players do after they score.

“I feel that there is some sort of double standard for females in sports, to feel like we have to be humble in our successes and have to celebrate but not too much, do something but it always has to be in a limited fashion,” she said. “You see men celebrating all over the world in big tournaments, grabbing their sacks or whatever it is, and when I look at sipping a cup of tea, I am a little taken aback. You have to laugh about it, to see all the criticism.”

Looking to draw a line under the matter, Morgan said: “My celebration was actually more about ‘That’s the tea’ – telling a story, spreading news.

“Sophie Turner does it quite often, she’s one of my favourite actresses. It wasn’t a hit to England in any way.”

The Americans will be aiming to both successfully defend their title and deliver a fourth World Cup triumph when they face Netherlands in Lyon tomorrow.

The Dutch had to battle through extra-time against Sweden, eventually progressing 1-0 following a goal from new Manchester United recruit Jackie Groenen.

Midfielder Danielle Van De Donk believes Holland can rise to the challenge, as the European champions look to upset the form book.

“I believe the USA have got a bit arrogant in how they’re talking about us in the media recently,” Van De Donk said. “They’re basically already congratulating us on finishing in second place. I love it, let them say what they want to say.

“The final is a game like any other: it will start at 0-0 and there are still at least 90 minutes to play.

“We’ll show them on the pitch how much we want to win that World Cup. Let’s talk afterwards.”

Meanwhile, Defender Dominique Bloodworth knows she will end up making half of her family

disappointed if Holland can get the better of the United States and win the Women’s World Cup for the first time tomorrow.

The 24-year-old, who signed for Wolfsburg after leaving Arsenal at the end of the FA Women’s Super League season, is married a former member of the American military.

Her husband, whom she met in London while playing for the Gunners, has travelled out to France, while the defender’s in-laws are set to tune in to watch the final from California.

Bloodworth, who was part of the squad which won Euro 2017 on home soil hopes to be able to have some bragging rights after the showpiece final in Lyon.

“I know that they follow all our matches live in America, they are very much a fan of the Netherlands,” Bloodworth said. “If there is actually work to be done, my in-laws in California will close the office so that they can watch us.”

She added: “My husband said: ‘Secretly, I’m going to cheer a little more for the Netherlands’. He is very proud and I am happy that he is there and that he supports me.”

While the US will be aiming to successfully defend their title and deliver a fourth World Cup triumph, Bloodworth believes the Leeuwinnen will be ready to rise to the challenge again.

“Of course the Americans are favourite, they will probably think they are going to win, but we are going to make it as difficult as possible for them,” she said.

“We will do everything we can to win from them now.”