It’s not been the dream tournament for England at the Women’s World Cup 2023. Apart from thrashing China 6-1, the Lionesses played some scrappy football in the group stages. While the Round of 16 was not much better – with Lauren James shown a red card against Nigeria and England scrapping through on penalties
But it’s the results that matter and England kept up its winning ways of last year’s Women’s Euros triumph. With goals from Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo, the Lionesses beat Colombia 2-1 (Saturday, August 12) to set up the semi-final against Australia – the home nation, alongside early knockouts New Zealand.
All eyes were on Sam Kerr, the Matildas’ all-time leading scorer, going into this match. Considered one of the greatest forwards of all time, she was undoubtedly the biggest threat. But it was England that dominated the first half.
Ella Toone smashed a shot into the top-left corner on the 36-minute mark – her first goal of the tournament. Georgia Stanway was also a driving force in the midfield of this much-improved England, while Russo looked dangerous in front of goal throughout – also coming close to scoring in the first half.
England went into the break 1-0, but Australia came out looking much better in the second half. After wave after wave of attack, the Matildas’ hard work paid off with an equaliser, and a magnificent goal, from (who else?) Sam Kerr after 63 minutes. Could England respond?
Lauren Hemp made her third goal of the tournament seem easy (71′). Squeezing between two defenders to chase defender Millie Bright’s long pass, she precisely rolled the ball into the back of the net. Sam Kerr came close to another equaliser several times, while Mary Earps made some big saves to keep England in this entertaining, end-to-end match.
It was Alessia Russo who put the game to bed with a goal in the 86th minute. England 3, Australia 1. In the end, Australia could not find another goal, let alone two, and England are now one game away from glory for the second year in a row. The winners will now face Spain on Sunday (August 20), after La Roja beat Sweden 2-1 (Tuesday, August 15) to book a place at the Stadium Australia in Sydney.
Neither team has won the tournament before, so we’re expecting both squads to be desperate to make history at the Women’s World Cup 2023 final. England should be wary of Spain’s attacking talent, however, with Aitana Bonmatí, Jennifer Hermoso, Alba Redondo all with three goals apiece this tournament.
The Women’s World Cup 2023 final will take place on Sunday, August 20 at 11 am. You will be able to watch it on both BBC One and ITV1.