FIFA WWC: It’s Spain Against England In The Final

Ella Toone’s superb strike opened the scoring for England; with Sam Kerr replying with an equally a stunning goal. Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo added goals later in the second half to secure England’s place in Sunday’s final against Spain which starts at 11am.

England made history, reaching their first Women’s World Cup final after beating Australia 3-1 to set up a showdown with Spain.

This was an entertaining semi-final at Stadium Australia.

England made history, reaching their first Women’s World Cup final after beating Australia 3-1 to set up a showdown with Spain.

Australia saw their talismanic captain Sam Kerr return to the team, and she had her inevitable say in proceedings in the 63rd minute, hammering a sensational effort home from around 25 yards.

But England’s tournament pedigree began to shine through as Lauren Hemp (71) saw the Lionesses back ahead soon after, before Alessia Russo (86) made sure of their spot in Sunday’s showpiece final against Spain.

While co-hosts Australia – who were backed by a magnificent home crowd in Sydney – can no longer win the tournament, they can secure a third-place finish when they face Sweden in the play-off on Saturday.

“Australia have had an incredible tournament, they grew into the tournament. They had some setbacks, they had to win their last group-stage game and then they got better and better.

“I just said to [assistant manager] Arjan, having the chance as a coach or a player to make it to two finals is really special. I never take anything for granted, but it’s like I’m living in a fairytale or something.”

Meanwhile, Kerr wasted no time in reminding the world of her talent, as she raced through on goal in the seventh minute. Her eventual shot was well-saved by Mary Earps, who got down low, as the offside flag was raised. At the other end, Mackenzie Arnold also continued her fine tournament, denying Georgia Stanway as she tried to slot home at the near post.

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The two teams continued to trade chances as the half went on. Toone released Russo inside the area, but lashed an effort into the side of the net. An Australia corner then found Haley Raso unmarked towards the back post, but she also sent her shot wide.

It was a moment of magic from Toone in the 36th minute that broke the deadlock. Hemp pulled it back for the midfielder, who then sent an arrowing effort into the top corner, giving Arnold no chance of saving it.

As you would expect, Australia came racing out of the traps in the second half. Their best opening saw Mary Fowler pick out Caitlin Foord on the left, but the latter’s effort was collected well by Earps. England also saw openings as Hemp drew a save from Arnold, before Millie Bright nodded wide from the corner.

But anything Toone could do, Kerr could match as she scored an equally as stunning goal to level. She picked up the ball on the halfway line before standing up against her Chelsea teammate Bright. Kerr decided to go for goal herself, sending a sensational, curling effort past Earps.

The Lionesses reacted well – Lucy Bronze and Russo going close in the interim eight minutes before Hemp fired England back in front. It was a superb ball over the top from Bright to find the winger, who rounded Ellie Carpenter as the Australia defender failed to keep the ball under control, before slotting into the net.

Australia pushed for an equaliser as the clock ticked by, although Kerr was uncharacteristically guilty of wasting two gilt-edged chances, with Earps also pushing away a cross from Cortnee Vine.

Lauren Hemp fired England back into the lead after slotting it into the far corner
But England rode the wave of pressure before securing their place in Sunday’s final with Russo’s third goal. She was found in a similar position to her goal against Colombia, collecting a delightful reverse pass from Hemp before firing into the far corner.

credit: Sky Sports

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