Alex Morgan's World Cup tea celebration evokes Independence Day for US

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Alex Morgan restores USA's lead against England

"Not since Boston dumped it in the sea has England been dissed with tea like this," declared the front page of Wednesday's New York Post.

Alex Morgan's 'tea drinking' goal celebration, after heading the winner against England to send her side into the World Cup final, was definitely a diss.

England forward Lianne Sanderson thought so. She called it "distasteful".

As the newspaper saw it, Morgan's swipe at Phil Neville's Lionesses was the best burn against the English since a load of tea was chucked in the sea in Boston in 1773, setting in motion American independence from the yoke of British rule.

'Sticking it to the Brits' was the US women's national team take on it too. It said Morgan's strike was "in honor of those 13 colonies". (Quick history lesson - the 13 colonies were the original US colonies that fought for, and won, independence back in the 18th century.)

The US national women's team tweeted to say Alex Morgan's birthday goal was 'in honor of the 13 colonies'.
The US national women's team tweeted to say Alex Morgan's 30th birthday goal was 'in honor of the 13 colonies'.

That's the tea?

According to Time magazine, Morgan was responsible for some "masterful trolling" and the "ultimate power move" against a nation that loves its tea almost as much as it used to love colonising.

Morgan - kind of - tried to play it down. Ever heard the phrase "that's the tea"? Well that's what she was getting at. Apparently. That's the tea - that's the situation. I just scored against you. And we're in the final.

"I wanted to keep it interesting," she said after the game. "I know Megan Rapinoe has the best celebration. I had to try and step up this game," she explained.

Hmmm. But you raised a pinkie, Alex. That's a giveaway...

Alex Morgan tweet

Tea drinking etiquette

A butterfly can beat its wings and cause hurricanes on the other side of world, so the theory goes. Alex Morgan can lift her pinkie and send millions of people into meltdown. Because lifting the pinkie is supposed to be how the English drink their tea. It's etiquette, you see? (Spoiler alert: it's not really how you drink tea).

Etiquette, though, has been sorely missing from the USA camp, according to Lionesses coach Neville.

So was Morgan making a point there and hitting back at such criticism?

"I feel like this team has 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'," she said later.

It's the politics, stupid

Former US presidential candidate and ex-first lady Hillary Clinton was among those offering congratulations to the winners. "Congrats to the #USWNT for earning that tea," she tweeted.

Fair play for her not having a direct dig at Neville, who once reminded Mrs Clinton "you lost, move on" in a long-since deleted tweet.

For their part, the US players are no strangers to political involvement.

So it's possible, in the week that the US celebrates its independence from British rule, Morgan was giving a knowing nod to her nation's political past and the Declaration of Independence on 4 July 1776.

Or maybe she was just having a pop at the tea-drinking English for a bit of a laugh?

That's more than likely. Though not everybody appreciated the joke.

"I could be wrong but it's based upon playing against England and we love our tea in England," Juventus forward Sanderson told beIN Sports.

"I'm not a tea drinker but that's what we're connected with so I think it's a little bit distasteful."

How has the World Cup inspired you?

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New York Post front page
The New York Post was in no doubt as to what Morgan's celebration meant

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