Home Sports England Shatters Australia’s Celebration, Advances to World Cup Final

England Shatters Australia’s Celebration, Advances to World Cup Final


The evening began in Sydney with a sense of hope and excitement as throngs of people streamed into Stadium Australia, eager to witness their team make history. However, England had different plans.

England’s arrival was marked not by hope, but by expectation, despite previous heartbreak in consecutive Women’s World Cup semi-finals. The memories of defeats to Japan in 2015 and the USA in 2019 were pushed aside. Any doubts about the Lionesses’ success were erased as they exhibited confidence and poise, delivering perhaps their most remarkable performance ever in a 3-1 victory over the Matildas.

While England held the higher rank and the title of European champions, it was not a simple task. Overcoming significant injuries and adapting throughout the tournament were necessary before facing the formidable Australian team.

In the end, their performance was the culmination of two years of exceptional growth under the leadership of manager Sarina Wiegman, who is undoubtedly the best in the world. Following her success in leading England to victory in Euro 2022 on home soil, Wiegman is now advancing to her fourth consecutive major tournament final. Prior to joining England, she guided the Netherlands to victory in Euro 2017 and a runner-up position in the 2019 World Cup.

Under Wiegman’s guidance, the squad has transformed from contenders to dominant champions. In Australia, ‘Matildas Mania’ had taken over, with their success dominating headlines and creating a festive atmosphere in Sydney.

The streets were adorned in green and yellow, fans waited for hours to enter fan parks across the city, and merchandise was nearly sold out. The match itself, attended by 75,784 fans, was a sold-out affair. The majority of the crowd initially jeered the England players during warm-ups but then sang their national anthem with pride.

However, the English team remained unfazed. They had remained isolated in their training base in Terrigal, an hour away from Sydney, throughout the tournament. The animosity of the home crowd didn’t seem to affect them.

The tone was set early with a robust tackle by Keira Walsh on Australia’s star player, Sam Kerr. The next 15 minutes demonstrated a masterclass in controlling momentum. England stifled the feverish excitement that had built up, taking control of possession, disrupting the game’s flow, and frustrating the home fans by taking their time with set-pieces.

Australia had a few half-chances, with Kerr breaking through on goal but being flagged offside when her shot was blocked by goalkeeper Mary Earps. England swiftly brushed off these threats. On the other end of the field, the partnership of Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo caused havoc for Australia, creating opportunities and unsettling the host’s defense.

Ella Toone’s goal gave England the lead, and the roaring cheers that had greeted the Matildas were silenced by halftime. However, England remained focused and uncomplacent. They were familiar with this situation and had the belief to handle it.

Australia’s anticipated pressure materialized in the second half, as Kerr capitalized on England’s loss of possession and scored a stunning long-range goal to level the score at 1-1. Yet, this time, England’s players didn’t waver. They held onto their resilience and unwavering confidence.

Another goal was inevitable, and Lauren Hemp made it happen without hesitation. Her partnership with Russo resulted in England’s third goal, deflating Australia’s hopes.

Meanwhile, England continued to make history. They conquered a test that demanded strength and experience. However, the post-match celebrations were short-lived. After a few moments of dancing and applause, accompanied by the supporters’ rendition of “Sweet Caroline,” the team headed to the tunnel. Their mission was accomplished.

While England had built momentum during their victorious Euro 2022 campaign, basking in the celebrations in front of a home crowd, the scenario in Australia was different. Each match was a challenge to navigate, akin to moving across a snakes-and-ladders board game, adapting when facing unexpected setbacks.

This journey felt less like a party and more like a mission. Despite the absence of captain Leah Williamson, top Euro 2022 goalscorer Beth Mead, playmaker Fran Kirby (all sidelined due to injuries), along with an injury scare for vital midfielder Keira Walsh and a two-match suspension for Lauren James, this England team demonstrated their resilience. They have shown that they can reach the final. While Australia grapples with the pain of defeat and a missed opportunity, England’s supporters are now embracing the belief that their team could become champions once more.

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