FIFA Women’s World Cup: England Beat Co-Host, Australia To Set Up First World Cup Final With Spain

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England secured their first FIFA Women’s World Cup final appearance following a thrilling 3-1 win over Australia in Sydney. Ella Toone had given the Lionesses a first-half lead before Sam Kerr equalised for the co-hosts, but goals from Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo set up a decider with Spain on Sunday. The Lionesses had stumbled at the same stage twice before, but the European champions made no mistake this time to reach the final for the first time.

England now face a blockbuster final on Sunday at the same Stadium Australia against a dangerous Spanish side that beat Sweden 2-1 in the last four; with a new name to be engraved on the trophy. England had been in this position before; in 2015 and 2019, losing 2-1 on both occasions; with a third-place finish as their best World Cup before now.

But coach Sarina Wiegman led them to the European title last year on home soil and captain Millie Bright said before the match they were now better-placed to handle big-pressure games. They demonstrated their resilience at a pumping and partisan Stadium Australia, successfully blanking out the noise to silence an expectant home nation. Victory was all the sweeter against an opponent who had beaten them 2-0 in an April friendly; the only side to do so in 38 games since Wiegman took over.

Coach Wiegman was almost speechless following the game. Speaking after the match, she said: “We achieved the final! It’s unbelievable. It feels like we won [the tournament] which we didn’t; we just won this game – in an incredible stadium, an away game, the way we played – it was a hard game, but we found a way to win again.

“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.”

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.

“In the 81st, 83rd and 85th minutes we had three sitters in a row. It’s a failure to lose a game, [but] I am happy that the fans gave the players support after the game. They are proud of the players, that they leave everything out there. We promised each other we would leave everything out there, and that is a success and they left it all out there.

“Unfortunately tonight it wasn’t enough. But then we have no time to dwell on this. We have extremely limited time, and if we get too emotionally dragged down with this one, we will have no chance in the bronze medal game; so we need to be strong now.” said Tony Gustavsson, Australia coach

England will play Spain in the Women’s World Cup final on Sunday in Sydney, with kick-off at 11am. Australia will face Sweden in the third-place play-off in Brisbane on Saturday, with kick-off at 9am.

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