West News Wire: With a 3-1 victory over Australia, England has advanced to their first Women’s World Cup final. The co-hosts’ incredible journey was ended by a stunning goal from Matildas attacker Sam Kerr.
Ella Toone, an attacking midfielder, gave England the lead in the first half of Wednesday’s match, but captain Kerr, who was making her first tournament start, tied the score after the break as Stadium Australia exploded in joy.
However, Lauren Hemp gave England the advantage again before Alessia Russo sealed the match just before the buzzer.
On Sunday, England will play Spain with the goal of adding a global championship to last year’s European Championship victory. England lost in the semifinals of the previous two global Cups.
Sarina Wiegman’s side clearly had a game plan to impose themselves physically on Australia, committing nine fouls in the first half as they nullified their opponents’ attacking options.
England opened the scoring in the 36th minute when Russo worked her way to the byline before cutting the ball back and Toone smashed it into the top right corner for her first goal of the tournament.
In the second half, Australia came out much more energetic and started pressing England higher up the field in an effort to equal Cathy Freeman’s amazing 400-meter victory at the 2000 Olympics in the same stadium.
When Kerr received the ball in her own half, she sprinted towards the goal and unleashed an unstoppable rocket into the top left corner from 25 yards out beyond the diving Mary Earps. This gave them the lead in the 63rd minute.
The moment Australia’s golden girl scored in this competition, the crowd exploded in celebration, giving Tony Gustavsson’s team newfound confidence that they could still contend for the championship.
But less than ten minutes later, the hosts were once again in the hole.
Both England and Spain will be playing their first Women’s World Cup final when they meet at Stadium Australia on Sunday.
Australia will play Sweden for third place on Saturday in Brisbane.