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England’s World Cup semi-final against Australia, Questions On The Journey

ENDLAND THROUGH TO SEMIS GLOKAFUI.COM

England has booked  a World Cup semi-final date with co-hosts Australia in Sydney as their  2-1 victory against Columbia paved the way.

The journey so far ?

To get to the knockout rounds, England won matches against Haiti, Denmark, and China while only tallying multiple goals in one group stage match—a 6-1 victory over China.

The Lionesses’ next opponent in the round of 16 was Nigeria, who held them scoreless for 120 minutes before England’s 4-2 victory on penalties secured their place in the quarterfinals.

England conceded for just the second time this tournament late in the first half of the quarter-final clash with Colombia at Sydney’s sold-out Stadium Australia, but they were level by the break thanks to Lauren Hemp’s alert stoppage-time effort and Alessia Russo completed the comeback after the  break.

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What is  England’s history in World Cup semi-finals?

The Lionesses’ first appearance in the final four, eight years ago in Canada, ended in heartbreak.

England were up against defending champions Japan, who took the lead through captain Aya Miyama’s 32nd-minute opener but saw it cancelled out by Fara Williams after just seven minutes.

The 1-1 draw looked destined for extra time until Laura Bassett directed a clearance into her own net in the first minute of second-half stoppage time and broke down in tears while Japan celebrated their last-gasp luck.

ENGLAND THROUGH TO THE  SEMIS    GLOKAFUI.COM
ENGLAND THROUGH TO THE SEMIS GLOKAFUI.COM

England ultimately beat Germany 1-0 through Williams’ extra-time penalty in the third-place playoff – still their best-ever finish in a global showpiece.

Four years later, the Lionesses beat Norway 3-0 in the last eight in France to set up a semi-final with the United States, who beat England 2-1 en route to defending their 2015 title.

The Lionesses finished fourth overall after losing 2-1 to Sweden in the play-off.

How good are Australia?

The Matildas are 10th in FIFA’s global rankings, six places below England, but can boast they are the only team to have beaten the Lionesses since boss Sarina Wiegman took the helm in September 2021.

That victory came in April, when Sam Kerr and Charlotte Grant both scored at Brentford to snap Wiegman’s 30-game unbeaten streak as England manager with a 2-0 victory.

Captain Kerr was unavailable for her side’s first two World Cup matches with a calf injury, yet the talismanic Chelsea striker’s absence might have actually benefitted the Matildas in the long run as others were asked to step up, with Hayley Raso and Mary Fowler among those who emphatically answered the call for the co-hosts.

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ENGLAND THROUGH TO THE SEMIS GLOKAFUI.COM

Kerr returned as a late second-half substitute in her side’s 2-0 victory over Denmark in the last 16, five days before the Matildas sealed their first-ever trip to a semi-final by beating France in the longest penalty shootout in Women’s World Cup history.

Long gone are the days Australians feared their side could be knocked out at the group stage. Momentum – and an increasingly enraptured nation – are firmly on their side.

What is the biggest challenge facing England?

England will have to cope without star forward Lauren James as she serves the final game of a two-match suspension for stepping on the back of Nigeria’s Michelle Alozie.

ENGLAND THROUGH TO THE  SEMIS    GLOKAFUI.COM
ENGLAND THROUGH TO THE SEMIS GLOKAFUI.COM

She was replaced by Ella Toone against Colombia, who after the match said: “She’s been amazing for us, but I’ve got to believe in myself and I’ve got to have that confidence going onto the pitch. I don’t let anything get me down, I don’t put that pressure on myself and I know my team-mates don’t either.”

How will England cope with the crowd?

Stadium Australia boasts more than 75,000 seats, most of which will be occupied by the home support.

That does not faze England captain Millie Bright, who said: “For me, no matter who the fans are, you’re actually quite proud of it as well, we want that in a World Cup, we want it to be people turning on the TV and saying ‘god, look at the crowd, it’s incredible’.

“As a player you feel that and you use it to your advantage as well, it’s not a disadvantage that there might be a lot of Australia fans there. “

 

 

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