FOOTBALL – This is the first time, host nation, Australia has ever reached the semi-finals of the World Cup. England, however, have been in this situation in the last two World Cup semi-finals. They lost out in 2015 to Japan, and in 2019 to the USA, who went on to win.
Earlier this year, England played Australia in a friendly with the Matildas winning by 2 goals to nil.
Australia v England
England started well, and were very much in control of the game, and in the 10th minute had their first chance. Greenwood sent the ball over for Stanway who was in a good position. However, Arnold used her foot to send it wide. England continued to enjoy the majority of possession, but Australia have had their chances too, and looked potentially dangerous on the break.
And after 36 minutes, England got their goal! Toone put the Lionesses ahead after a throw-in from Russo reached Toone who fired it beautifully across the goal and into the top corner of the net. The first half ended 0-1.
Australia started the second half strong, but the England side attempted to slow the pace down. However, Australia were also applying the pressure. They were soon rewarded when, with 63 minutes on the clock, Kerr equalised. Kerr took the ball alone as she raced forward towards the box. With no-one to support her, she went for it from over 25 yards out. Her powerful shot didn´t give Earps a chance as it went into the top left corner of the net. It was now level, and just under 30 minutes of normal time remaining to play.
The pressure was really on the English side as the home fans got behind the Matildas.
The clock was ticking
With 20 minutes remaining, England were piling on the pressure and looking very dangerous.
Then, after a few close chances, the Lionesses scored once again. A mistake by Carpenter of Australia allowed Hemp to take the ball from behind and send it low and into the net. England were now back in the lead.
Australia were trying everything, and from the 80-minute mark, it looked like their chance would come when they had three excellent back to back opportunities. But it remained 1-2. Until Russo put England ahead.
Goal number 3 for the Lionesses
With only 4 minutes of normal time remaining, England made it 1-3. Hemp broke through the midfield to send her pass to Russo who sent a spectacular pass into the bottom corner.
Six minutes of stoppage time was all that England had to control to ensure they were in the final of the 2023 FIFA Women´s World Cup. Australia were unable to break through, and the game ended with England securing their place in the final against Spain.
A historic moment for both teams as Spain v England will take place on Sunday at 12 noon (Spanish time). The play-off for third place will take place on Saturday at 10.00 am with Sweden v Australia.