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Team USA star Alex Morgan says tea-sipping gesture was homage to Sophie Turner

Lyon, France — Alex Morgan said her tea-sipping celebration at the Women's World Cup was a nod to actress Sophie Turner's amusing Instagram posts. No, it wasn't a dig at England or a random reference to the Boston Tea Party, or any number of other theories out there.

"My celebration was actually more 'that's the tea,' which is telling a story, spreading news," the U.S. forward told reporters Friday. The "Game of Thrones" actress's Instagram is filled with her saying audacious or gossipy things, adding "That's the tea" and taking a sip.

England v USA: Semi Final - 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France
Alex Morgan of the USA, left, celebrates with teammate Rose Lavelle after scoring her team's second goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup semi-final match against England on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. Maja Hitij / Getty Images

Morgan has been criticized for the celebration. She said it's hard to understand the outrage when men have celebrated goals by grabbing their crotches.

"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, or do something but always in a limited fashion," Morgan said.

She pretended to sip tea after scoring the go-ahead goal in Tuesday night's semifinal victory over England. Goalkeeper Alysaa Naeher preserved the 2-1 victory by stopping Steph Houghton's penalty kick late in the game.

The victory sent the Americans into their third consecutive World Cup final. They'll face the Netherlands for the championship on Sunday at Stade de Lyon.

The U.S. national team has drawn some criticism for its goal celebrations in France. First it was the repeated celebrations after every goal in a 13-0 rout of Thailand, which some said were unsportsmanlike. Carli Lloyd responded in the next game with a golf clap after her goal.

Megan Rapinoe struck an "Are you not entertained?" pose in the quarterfinals against France before Morgan's tea sipping in the semis.

"I think everybody's just kind of having fun with the celebrations and embracing the moment," Lloyd said.

Yorkshire Tea company made light of Morgan's celebration, tweeting a photo of a bag of tea readied for shipping.

"Dear @USWNT, Sorry you had to drink pretend tea. If you'd run out of the proper stuff, you only had to ask! PS No hard feelings - good luck on Sunday."

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