Unless they’re discovered and get the chance to play in America.MORE: U.S. vs. England: How Megan Rapinoe, Lucy Bronze match upWow, things have changed fast.The soccer relationship between the United States and England, who will meet Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET in Lyon in a Women’s World Cup semifinal, is much different than two decades ago. Their ordering at the time — the U.S. as the established power, England still chasing despite having invented the game — remains in place. But it’s a lot closer now.England, which did not qualify for three of the first four Women’s World Cups, is ranked No. 3 in the world and finished third in 2015, behind the U.S. and Japan. They have scored 11 goals and allowed just one in this tournament, in the rivalry game against Scotland that served as their opener.The United States is the reigning world champion but, facing the most difficult draw of any tournament in which they’ve played, labored to 2-1 victories over Spain and France in the past two games.The people in England still seem to embrace the plot point of the Americans as the titanic power, though. English coach Phil Neville grumbled in his Sunday news conference because two U.S. Soccer officials were seen Sunday at the England team hotel; they were said to be checking the logistics of the property because the U.S. team will move there to stay if they reach the World Cup final.“I just thought: ‘What are they doing?’” Neville said. “It’s not etiquette, really. It’s not something I would allow from our organization.”The Daily Mail blasted from its pages Monday a story with the headline: “Are these American stars too arrogant?” It seemed a curious storyline so soon after they’d traversed other trifling controversies on the way to their valiant quarterfinal victory against France. And there was a blazing dose of irony in the sentence that called these U.S. players — litigating against their own federation for what they perceive to be a wage disparity relative to the men’s team — “all-conquering multi-millionaires.”MORE: What to know about, how to watch USWNT vs. EnglandSorry, mates. The Americans may be favored, but the English are not underdogs.Had England not outlawed organized women’s soccer until 1971, perhaps it would stand today where the Americans do because of the 1970s Title IX law that forced high schools and colleges to invest in girls’ and women’s sports, so long as they were so heavily invested in boys and men.Without all those decades of England’s intransigence, though, we would not have been blessed with the gem that is “Bend it Like Beckham,” made in 2002 and released in the U.S. in January 2003. Jess, the hero, is infatuated with Manchester United star David Beckham for reasons beyond what captivated many teenaged girls then. Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley play Jess and Jules, the two young women battling to play the game with the goal of gaining college scholarships to play in the U.S., perhaps a chance to play professionally there.That was the path taken by the greatest female player in England history, Kelly Smith, known to U.S. audiences for her work as a Fox Sports studio analyst on World Cup coverage. She attended Seton Hall and, upon finishing, decided to remain in the U.S. and played in the WUSA and WPS, two attempts at American pro leagues that preceded the current NWSL. She told the Sun newspaper at the time, “Women’s football in England is a joke.” Playing for Arsenal FC’s ladies’ team then, the team only was allowed to practice two days a week.This is no longer a problem, so the best English players need not follow that course.MORE: Phil Neville reveals admiration for ‘winner’ Megan RapinoeRight back Lucy Bronze, who scored the clinching goal in England’s 3-0 quarterfinal victory over Norway and will be tasked with controlling red-hot Megan Rapinoe, played a year at North Carolina, was named All-American and helped the Tar Heels win an NCAA championship in 2009. She returned home to play in England after one year, though. Because she could. The game had made significant advances in the decade after Smith’s time at Seton Hall. Bronze spent time with Everton, Liverpool and Manchester City before joining European power Olympique Lyonnais. Gifted young forward Nikita Parris, who might be a handful for U.S. left back Crystal Dunn, grew up in Liverpool, joined Everton’s youth club at 14, played for its senior team and Manchester City for a combined eight years and signed in May with Lyon.If they can defeat the United States in the World Cup semis, England will be the favorite to win their first Women’s World Cup against Sweden and probably even Norway, which eliminated the English from the most recent European Championship.Until then, “Bend it Like Beckham” will stand as the country’s most enduring contribution to women’s soccer. It’s a nice legacy, though not the one they’d prefer. Perhaps it was by coincidence that Starz showed “Bend It Like Beckham” on one of its channels on Sunday afternoon — or maybe there really was someone programming the channel who recognized it was an off day for the FIFA Women’s World Cup and decided a movie about women’s soccer might catch the attention of some ardent, idle fans.If you haven’t seen it, or haven’t in a while, it’s a lovely film about the drive of two young women in turn-of-the-century London to play the sport — despite societal norms discouraging it, despite the wishes of their families, despite the limited future available to them inside the sport.