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2023 Women’s World Cup: Australia, England book semifinal spot

Co-hosts Australia reached the Women’s World Cup semi-finals for the first time as they beat France in an incredible penalty shoot-out at Brisbane Stadium.

Following a goalless 120 minutes, the Matildas triumphed 7-6 in a shoot-out which defied belief with its dramatic twists.

Cortnee Vine scored the winning spot-kick for Australia, after Vicki Becho had struck the post for France. Australia keeper Mackenzie Arnold made a total of four saves in the shoot-out – including twice from Kenza Dali, having moved off the line for the first stop, leading to a retake.

Arnold herself had the opportunity to score the winning penalty as the fifth taker for Australia, after saving from Eve Perisset, but struck the post as nearly 50,000 Australians inside the stadium went through every emotion imaginable.

But it is the hosts who march on, reaching their first ever Women’s World Cup semi-final.

England set up a Women’s World Cup semi-final with co-hosts Australia at Stadium Australia in Sydney on 16 August at 11.00 BST as they came from behind against a dangerous Colombia side.

The European champions, favourites to go all the way in Australia, have not played their best football in the tournament but this was a much more rounded display in front of a hostile crowd in Sydney.

Largely composed in defence and hard-working in attack, the Lionesses were rewarded with two slices of luck which they capitalised on, after goalkeeper Mary Earps had been beaten by a quick-thinking lob in the first half..

Lauren Hemp poked in the equaliser, just seven minutes after Leicy Santos had caught out Earps, when Colombia goalkeeper Catalina Perez spilled a routine gather in the six-yard area under pressure from Alessia Russo

Arsenal striker Russo, who had only scored once in four World Cup matches prior to Saturday’s quarter-final, worked tirelessly out of possession, earning her opportunity when she pounced on a kind deflection to drill in England’s second.

Earps was called into action later, tipping Lorena Durango Bedoya’s effort over the bar, while England were put under further pressure by Colombia’s talented attacking line-up, which included Real Madrid’s teenage sensation Linda Caicedo.

The Lionesses had to deal with a crowd of 75,784 who were largely backing Colombia.

It will be the Lionesses’ third straight World Cup semi-final after defeats by the USA in 2019 and Japan in 2015.

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