England beat hosts Australia to face Spain in historic Women’s World Cup final

In Sydney, The Lionesses of England secured their inaugural spot in a Women's World Cup final by defeating co-hosts Australia with a score of 3-1.

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Australia’s tournament journey comes to an end, and they are now set to confront Sweden in a showdown to decide the third-place finish on Saturday.

Meanwhile, England is heading into Sunday’s final clash against Spain with a sense of optimism, yet they remain cautious of Spain’s potent attacking capabilities.

During the first half, England controlled possession while Australia focused on obstructing their goal attempts, which were a few in number. Despite England’s dominance, they never seemed completely in command of the game, and Australia capitalized on counterattacks with remarkable speed. Briefly, Australia appeared as the more threatening side, yet a skilful shot by Ella Toone granted England the lead before halftime.

The successful partnership between Toone and Alessia Russo, witnessed at the previous summer’s Euros, proved effective once again.

Taking a risk, Australia’s manager Tony Gustavsson chose to start Sam Kerr, who was not entirely fit, marking the Matildas’ desire to clinch victory within regular playtime. However, this gamble did not yield the desired outcome.

The second half witnessed Australia’s aggressive resurgence, led by Hayley Raso and Caitlin Foord, who frequently found themselves in pivotal positions. It was Sam Kerr who managed to level the score in the 63rd minute with an impressive long-range strike, keeping the Matildas in contention.

However, this parity was short-lived, as Lauren Hemp once again demonstrated her significance to the team by expertly navigating through Australia’s defenders to score a magnificent goal. Australia introduced attacking reinforcement Emily van Egmond from the bench, who had missed the starting line-up due to illness.

Despite Australia’s determined efforts, they struggled to contain the speed and strength of Alessia Russo, who netted a goal moments before the final whistle.

Post-match, Russo shared her elation, “I am over the moon. We are in a World Cup final. We were dreaming of the semis before the tournament, but this is what it’s all about,” she said. “When they scored, they got the momentum and the place erupted. Hemp’s goal flipped the momentum back.”

The Lionesses are now set to face Spain in the upcoming Sunday final. When asked about England’s chances of winning on Sunday she said: “Yeah why not? I think Spain will be even tougher. Every game we have gone into in this tournament has been of the highest level.”

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