A DISPLAY of power and precision from the United States in Paris on Friday night ensured there would be one non-European side in the semi-finals of the World Cup. Two goals from Megan Rapinoe, who has been involved in a memorable spat with Donald Trump, helped her side to a 2-1 win over France.

Politics and sport very much mix for a USA squad which doesn’t lack attitude. The players filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against their own federation in March as part of a long-running feud over pay and working conditions.

Far from these issues being distractions, the holders’ performance against France indicated they may actually be fired up by the background noise. In these circumstances you have to perform on the pitch, and the Americans did that with elan at the Parc des Princes, dominating a good French side and resisting a late comeback to set up a date with England in Lyon on Tuesday.

For someone whose appointment wasn’t greeted with universal fanfare, and whose constant tinkering with selections has been heavily criticised, England head coach Phil Neville is having a decent tournament. His players were in command throughout a 3-0 quarter-final win over Norway, albeit that the losing side were very poor on the night.

The Norwegians were involved in a marvellous last-16 tie against Australia, but needed extra time and penalties to prevail. That, and the unremitting intensity of the 120 minutes in the heat of Nice, seemed to leave them drained.

Even allowing for the players having had five days to recover, head coach Martin Sjogren must surely regret sending out exactly the same team against England.

The results of the first two quarter-finals ensured that England will finish among the top three European nations in France and have thus qualified for next year’s Olympic tournament in Tokyo.

There will therefore be a “Team GB” in Japan, although in reality it will be England plus a few token players from Scotland – just as it was for the supposedly one-off London Olympics. The “British” team will be selected, organised and managed by the Football Association.

The arrogance of the FA in continuing to press for a full women's side at the Olympics will cause ructions. The worst case scenario is endangering the independent footballing status of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

That all four are permitted to compete at World Cups and Euros is a historical anomaly and entirely dependent on the goodwill of other countries. The FA is unpopular within FIFA – which is one of the reasons England hasn't been awarded a World Cup since 1966 – and the arrival of a senior British women's team at the Olympics won't improve matters.

SCOTT BOOTH, who signed a new 30-month contract with Glasgow City on Thursday, says his club is taking the necessary steps to compete with what should be a more vigorous challenge from the country's top men's clubs. Celtic have said they will go full time next season, without providing the details.

There was speculation Booth might only sign a short-term deal until the end of this season, and he admitted: “Had we not made strides in terms of people coming into the club – who I think will benefit us hugely – it might have been different.

“We try to stay ahead of the game. We've still got the best squad in the country and the best professionals. That has been shown at the World Cup. I thought our players did really well.”

BIG changes are being made to the backroom set-up at Rangers. The details are expected to be made public this week.