England book semi-final with co-hosts Australia - USA Trending Blog

England book semi-final with co-hosts Australia - USA Trending Blog

England book semi-final with co-hosts Australia - USA Trending Blog

England set-up a Women's World Cup semi-final with co-hosts Australia after taking their chances against a dangerous Colombia side.

The European champions, favourites to go all the way in Australia, have not played their best football in the tournament but this was a much more rounded display in front of a hostile crowd in Sydney.

Largely composed in defence and hard-working in attack, the Lionesses were rewarded with two slices of luck which they capitalised on, after goalkeeper Mary Earps had been beaten by a quick-thinking lob in the first half.

Lauren Hemp poked in the equaliser, just seven minutes after Leicy Santos had caught out Earps, when Colombia goalkeeper Catalina Perez spilled a routine gather in the six-yard area under pressure from Alessia Russo.

Arsenal striker Russo, who had only scored once in four World Cup matches prior to Saturday's quarter-final, worked tirelessly out of possession, earning her opportunity when she pounced on a kind deflection to drill in England's second.

Earps was called into action later, tipping Lorena Durango Bedoya's effort over the bar, while England were put under further pressure by Colombia's talented attacking line-up, which included Real Madrid's teenage sensation Linda Caicedo.

The Lionesses, who had to deal with a crowd of 75,784 who were largely backing Colombia, face co-hosts Australia next on 16 August at 11:00 BST, live on BBC.

England have had to battle their way through the competition, needing 1-0 wins to creep past Haiti and Denmark in the group stages, before a penalty shootout victory over Nigeria in the last 16.

They were without suspended top-scorer Lauren James, who is serving a two-match ban following her red card against Nigeria, but England did enough in front of goal to seal victory in a tough encounter.

Colombia, ranked 21 places lower than England, had already proven their worth in Australia, seeing off Euro 2022 finalists Germany in the group stages and progressing in style.

Their attacking line-up caused England problems and they pushed desperately late on for an equaliser, testing the Lionesses' back five.

However, spearheaded by the centre-back trio of Millie Bright, Alex Greenwood and Jess Carter, England held their own against the physicality and tenacity of the Colombians.

Stadium Australia was filled with yellow shirts in the stands - Colombia fans were on their feet waving scarves around their heads following any advance over the halfway line and they whistled loudly when England were in possession.

This was by no means an easy victory but the resilience and grit that England have been forced to demonstrate so far in the tournament once again helped them over the line, deservedly so, on Saturday.