Alex Morgan has accused her goal celebration critics of "double standards", with the United States striker perplexed at why her tea sipping caused such a stir when men are "grabbing their sacks".

USA captain Morgan celebrated scoring a Women's World Cup semi-final winner against England by lifting her little finger and pretending to sip tea, a popular beverage in the country of her opponents and one linked to American independence after a shipment of the drink was dumped in the sea by colonists in an event known as the Boston Tea Party.

She was called "distasteful" and "disrespectful" by her former Orlando Pride team-mate and England international Lianne Sanderson, who is working at the tournament as a pundit for beIN SPORTS, while television presenter Piers Morgan said her celebration was "bordering on a declaration of war".

Yet the forward hit back on Friday, saying it was not a shot at England and suggesting that those lamenting her were sexist given the lack of comparative uproar over Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Simeone's crotch-grabbing celebrations in last year's Champions League, which did result in fines for both.

"My celebration was actually more about, 'That's the tea', which is telling a story, spreading news," Morgan said.

"Sophie Turner does it quite often, she's one of my favourite actresses, so it wasn't a hit to England in any way.

"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, and have to do something but it always has to be in a limited fashion.

"You see men celebrating all around the world in big tournaments, grabbing their sacks or whatever it is, and when I look at sipping a cup of tea, I'm a little taken aback. You have to laugh about it to see all of the criticism."

Morgan was particularly unimpressed with Juventus forward Sanderson's opinion, given they played together in 2016.

"I'm a little disappointed in that and obviously we were team-mates at Orlando Pride so I have the utmost respect for Lianne and all of my team-mates that I've ever played with," Morgan added.

"So, it's a little disappointing to see that."

USA face Netherlands in Sunday's World Cup final and, should Morgan add to her six goals at the tournament, the celebrations are unlikely to be muted.

"I don't think we'll be deterred by a couple of naysayers," she added.

Megan Rapinoe has leapt to Alex Morgan's defence after the United States captain was accused of being "disrespectful" for her tea-sipping celebration in the Women's World Cup semi-final win over England.

Morgan headed in her sixth goal of the tournament in Lyon on Tuesday to seal a 2-1 victory for USA, who advanced to a third-straight final, and she celebrated the winner by pretending to drink tea with her little finger raised.

Some construed that as a shot fired at her opponents given the beverage's popularity in Britain, with England forward Lianne Sanderson, who is working as a pundit for beIN SPORTS at the tournament, calling it "distasteful" and "disrespectful", and television presenter Piers Morgan saying it was "bordering on a declaration of war".

USA players had also come under fire for their goal celebrations in a 13-0 win over Thailand earlier in the tournament, long after the game had already been won, and Rapinoe appeared sick of the latest round of criticism.

"Wah-wah-wah. I mean, it's like, we're at the World Cup – what do you want us to do?" Rapinoe said.

"This is the biggest stage, the biggest moment. I don't think anyone truly believes that we disrespect the game or disrespect our opponents. We have the utmost respect for England and every team that we've faced and every team that we will face forever and ever, that's just part of the DNA of this squad.

"With that said, we work hard, we like to play hard and we like to have fun and enjoy ourselves, and these are the absolute biggest moments to do that."

Rapinoe was one of three players conducting interviews on Wednesday when Jill Ellis' squad were leaving their hotel, with Morgan curiously spotted hot drink in hand as she walked past the cameras to the team bus.

Despite the storm in a teacup that has followed, Morgan had suggested the pose Rapinoe pulled after her first goal in the quarter-final win over France was the best celebration of the tournament.

"I think I might have been upstaged," Rapinoe said when asked about that comment.

"That was next level from Alex. Maybe we will have to do it at the same time and we'll duke it out!"

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