Lyon, France CNN  — 

Days after seeing off France in a grueling encounter in Paris, the US faces another monster Women’s World Cup fixture.

All eyes now turn to Lyon, France’s culinary capital and host city to a semifinal in which arguably the two best teams remaining in the competition scrap it out for a place in the final. A confident England awaits.

If the US is to successfully defends its title, it will certainly have done it the hard way because should the defending champion see off Phil Neville’s team, it will have beaten the No 4. (France) and No.3 (England) ranked teams in the world in the knockout stages.

The USWNT has been the dominant force in the women’s game since the first Women’s World Cup in 1991 but England poses a real threat after ruthlessly dispatching Norway 3-0 in its quarterfinal. Neville’s players are chasing history as well – aiming to become the first senior England side since 1966 to reach a major football final.

Like any match which induces feverish excitement days before kickoff, there are also plenty of subplots which make for a fascinating contest.

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Ellis (left) and Neville were both in England and are Manchester United fans.

Arrogance or excellent planning?

“It’s not etiquette, really, is it?” said England boss Neville in response to two US staff members being spotted at England’s team hotel in Lyon. The build up to a big match isn’t quite the same without a ‘spygate’ headline.

US coach Jill Ellis told reporters that they were looking at the hotel as a potential base before Sunday’s final in Lyon and played down suggestions that such preparedness hinted at arrogance.

“I think that’s important, to do your job. So, in terms of arrogance, I think that’s got nothing to do with us. That’s planning and preparation for our staff, so I think that’s pretty normal,” she told reporters Sunday.

Neville conceded that scouting the hotel would not give the US an “unfair advantage” in the semifinal.

“The only thing I would say is it’s not something that I would want my team ops person doing. We’re happy with our hotel. So, I hope they enjoyed the hotel,” Neville said.

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