World Cup semi-finals: England prepare for Australia, Spain and Sweden ready to clash

Australia Women celebrate beating France in the World Cup quarter-finals
Mackenzie Arnold of Australia celebrates with her team mates after Cortnee Vine of Australia scores her team's tenth penalty during the FIFA Women's World Cup Quarter Final match vs France (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

After what has been a whirlwind of a tournament, there are just four countries left standing. The World Cup semi-finals are upon us and the battle for the trophy is nearing its end.

A brand new champion is set to be crowned following the early exit of the USA, and now Japan are also out, one team is close to lifting their first ever Women’s World Cup. Let’s take a look at how the quarter-finals action unfolded as we gear up for the clash of the final four.

Spain 2-1 Netherlands

In one of the heavyweight clashes of the tournament, Spain secured a 2-1 victory over the Netherlands to progress to the semi-final. Goals from Mariona Caldentey and Stefanie van de Gragt were enough to send the game to extra time. A late winner from Sama Paralluelo secured the victory for Jorge Vilda’s side, putting them into the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in their history.

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The defeat marks the end of the Netherlands third World Cup campaign. Having reached the final back in 2019, Andries Jonker’s side will undoubtedly have hoped to progress further through the tournament.

Japan 1-2 Sweden

In one of the shocks of the tournament, favourites Japan saw their World Cup dream come to an end as they were handed a 2-1 defeat by Sweden. In a game full of drama, Peter Gerhardsson’s side held on to secure their spot in the last four of the competition. An opening goal from Amanda Ilestedt alongside a penalty for Filippa Angeldahl put the Swedes ahead with Japan struggling to find a foothold for much of the game. 

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A missed penalty seemed to put a comeback beyond Japan’s reach. A mix up in the penalty area however saw Futoshi Ikeda’s side bag a late consolation goal through Honoka Hayashi. Despite searching for an equaliser, Japan were unable to salvage their World Cup campaign with the former champions bowing out of the competition. Sweden will face a semi-final meeting with Spain as Gerhardsson’s side fight to lift their first World Cup.

Australia (7) 0-0 (6) France

Following a goalless opening 90 minutes, extra time and penalties were required to separate France and Australia. With the two sides evenly balanced throughout the game, neither side could find the decisive goal from open play despite good chances for both teams. 

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A goalkeeping masterclass by Mackenzie Arnold saw the Matildas safely through to the World Cup semi-finals. The shoot-out would see 20 penalties taken, with 13 finding the back of the net. Australia will face England in the semi-finals as the Matildas look to secure a historic home World Cup title.

England 2-1 Colombia

Two goals in quick succession got the final quarter-final off to a gripping start. Leicy Santos’ opener caught Mary Earps off guard as the Colombian No.10’s cross looped above the England keeper. Lauren Hemp’s equaliser came six minutes later as the Manchester City star capitalised on a defensive error. Alessia Russo’s second-half winner would be enough to send the Lionesses through to the last four of the competition. 

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England’s performance marked a major improvement from the display against Nigeria. The Lionesses will face Australia in Wednesday’s semi-final. With the Matildas benefiting from home advantage, the match will pose a significant challenge to the Lionesses. The defeat marks the end of Colombia’s World Cup campaign. Having beaten former champions Germany, Colombia will take plenty of positives from their third World Cup appearance.

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