Road to the Women’s World Cup final: England looks to complete undefeated run
With its 3-1 semifinal victory over tournament co-host Australia on Wednesday, England has booked its ticket to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup final for the first time where they will face Spain.
Coming into the tournament, England was hit hard by injuries, losing the trio of captain Leah Williamson, Beth Mead and Fran Kirby to knee injuries.
Placed in Group D alongside Haiti, Denmark and China, England was the clear-cut favourite to emerge from the group as the reigning Euro 2022 champions.
England opened the tournament with a 1-0 win over Haiti as a penalty conversion from Georgia Stanway in the 29th minute stood as the winner.
In their second game against Denmark, Lauren James was the hero, scoring the lone goal in the sixth minute to send them to another 1-0 victory.
To round out the round robin, England dominated China 6-1 on Aug. 1, getting goals from Alessia Russo, Lauren Hemp, James, Chloe Kelly and Rachel Daly.
In the Round of 16, England needed penalties to get by Nigeria as they went through regulation and extra time at 0-0. In the 87th minute, James was sent off on a yellow card that got upgraded to a red for stomping on Nigeria's Michelle Alozie. In penalties, England edged Nigeria 4-2 as Alex Greenwood, Daly, Bethany England and Chloe Kelly all found the back of the net.
After a strong start to the tournament with three goals and three assists, James was later handed a two-game suspension by FIFA and sat out of the quarterfinal and semifinal. She is eligible to return for Sunday’s final (6 am ET/3 am PT on TSN, TSN.ca and the TSN App).
In the quarterfinal against Colombia last Saturday, the Colombians jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a goal from Leicy Santos in the 44th. However, the lead would not last as Hemp scored in first half extra time to tie the game 1-1. Russo would net the game-winner in the 63rd minute to close out the 2-1 victory.
Against Australia, Ella Toone opened the scoring for her first World Cup goal in the 36th minute. Australian superstar Sam Kerr netted the equalizer in the 63rd, sending the home crowd into a frenzy. England would take control back eight minutes later as Hemp, who was named player of the match, beat Aussie goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold. Russo would add the insurance goal to make it 3-1 in the 86th.
Prior to Wednesday’s semifinal, England had lost in two consecutive Women’s World Cup semifinals dating back to the 2015 and 2019 tournaments. This year’s World Cup will have a first-time champion as both England and Spain have never played in the tournament championship game.