SYDNEY: England created history as they enter into the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time after defeating Australia in a thrilling 3-1 game on Wednesday.
Ella Toone put the Lionesses ahead in the first half before Sam Kerr levelled for the co-hosts, but goals from Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo set up a showdown with Spain on Sunday.
On 36 minutes, Russo displayed perseverance in the penalty area by pulling the ball back for Toone to blast into the top corner.
Australia on 63 minutes equalised with an even better shot from Kerr, who gathered the ball on the halfway line before sprinting at her Chelsea teammate Millie Bright and firing a 30-yard rocket that soared past Mary Earps.
However, the Australian defence failed to cope with Bright’s long pass forward, and Hemp showed great determination and sent her shot beyond Arnold.
Kerr missed two wonderful chances to equalise for the Matildas before England sealed their final berth with four minutes to go when Hemp delivered a superb pass through to Russo, who beat Arnold with an angled effort.
England coach Sarina Wiegman said after the match as quoted by FIFA’s official website, “We achieved the final and it’s unbelievable. It feels like we won it but we didn’t win it, we just won this game. We played a hard game but again we found a way to win. We scored three goals. We have been talking about ruthlessness all the time and this team has ruthlessness, whether it is up front or in defence. We want to keep the ball out of the net and we really want to win. We stick together and stick to the plan and it worked again.”
Australia coach Tony Gustavsson also expressed his disappointment after failing to make it to the final.
“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,” said Gustavsson. (ANI)